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Literature or Life

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  280 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Jorge Semprun, one of Europe's most eminent voices, was twenty years old when arrested for activities in the French Resistance. He was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Literature or Life is a deeply personal account not only of Jorge Semprun's time at Buchenwald, but also of the years before and after, of his painful attempts to write this book...created out of obses ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Viking Books (first published September 1st 1994)
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Paz Cornejo
Jul 13, 2015 Paz Cornejo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este libro es mucho más que un testimonio sobre el holocausto. Esa experiencia lo impregna todo pero para Semprún parece que lo más difícil de sobrevivir empieza cuando se ha abandonado el campo. Antes se debe a una cuestión de suerte,de saber alemán, de estar en buena condición física, ser curioso o, simplemente,ser designado a una actividad menos destructiva que otras y ladear la enfermedad y sobreponerse. Pero después, la nieve helará la vida, una nieve que se funde con las pavesas del horno ...more
Sara Barberá
Mar 31, 2016 Sara Barberá rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"L'écriture ou la vie" es un retrato sorprendente en el que Jorge Semprún narra el periodo más oscuro y traumático de su vida.

No es fácil enfrentarse a la articulación de un relato que encierra capítulos tan dolorosos. Semprún ha necesitado casi medio siglo para narrar su experiencia en el campo de concentración de Buchenwald. En la obra se realizan interesantes reflexiones literarias sobre el modo de componer una obra que pertenece claramente al género de literatura concentracionaria. En el ca
...more
Amelie
Oct 20, 2014 Amelie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un livre sur la difficulté d'écrire pour raconter l'indicible. Ou plutôt sur la difficulté de survivre à ce travail d'écriture.
Alors que je m'attendais à un livre sombre et déprimant, j'ai été surprise par ce livre qui constitue d'une certaine manière un ode à la vie. Certes, le sujet et l'expérience racontée par Semprun sont d'une gravité et d'une horreur extrêmes. Et pourtant, l'auteur partage avec le lecteur ses pensées et réussi a nous insuffler sa volonté de vivre, qu'il a préservé aux dépe
...more
Augustin Chartier
Épatant, comment peut-on raconter d’une manière aussi poignante sa propre mort? son retour à la vie? Jorge Semprun nous emmène dans la réalité qu’il a connue, dans ses souvenirs, dans ses difficultés. Il veut nous faire partager notamment sa difficulté à écrire et à dire aussi, dire ce qu’il a vécu. Comment raconter ces horreurs? Il le fait admirablement, mêlant son récit d’analepses, de prolepses et notamment d’une admirable inclusion qui court sur presque tout le récit.
«Comment raconter une vé
...more
εδουάρδος
Έχοντας διαβάσει τα βιβλία του Πρίμο Λέβι (Αν αυτό είναι ο άνθρωπος, Αυτοί που βούλιαξαν και αυτοί που σώθηκαν) που λίγο πολύ πραγματεύονται το ίδιο θέμα, ήμουν υποψιασμένος για το τι θα συναντήσω στις σελίδες του βιβλίου του Σεμπρουν. Νομίζω πως ο Λέβι προσεγγίζει το ζήτημα των εμπειριών των φυλακισμένων στα στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης, βαθύτερα. Βέβαια, ο Σεμπρουν δεν εστιάζει σε γεγονότα, ούτε γράφει περιγραφικά. Το βιβλίο αυτό αποτελεί περισσότερο μια αναμέτρηση με τον εαυτό του, με το υποσυνείδ ...more
Guida Allès
Jul 01, 2011 Guida Allès rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El profesor Maurice Halbwachs había llegado al límite de la resistencia humana. Se vaciaba lentamente de sustancia, alcanzada la fase última de la disentería, que se lo llevaba en la pestilencia.

Un poco más tarde, mientras yo le contaba lo primero que se me pasó por la cabeza, sencillamente para que escuchara el sonido de una voz amiga, abrió de repente los ojos. La congoja inmunda, la vergüenza de su cuerpo delicuescente eran perfectamente legibles en ellos. (...)

Entonces, presa de un pánico r
...more
Rachel
Holocaust memoirs naturally invite comparison with one another - they are their own, peculiar genre. Experiences of trauma very often leave their survivors with the need to recount the story of that trauma, and the horrendously immense scale of the Holocaust has left a large population of survivors and consequently a similarly large assortment of courageous memoirs and autobiographical novels, woven out of the tremulous, fire-seared memories of their authors. Never, I think, has the same tragedy ...more
Daniel
Dec 27, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Semprun weaves an intricate narrative of his years before, during and after his long stay at the concentration camp of Buchenwald. The genius of the book is in achieving great depth and meaning as it tries to define the difficulty of what is to cope with the memories as a prisoner of the Nazis.

The book is never gruesome or sets itself as a judgmental agent against all evil. Instead, it sheds powerful light on unfortunate events against humanity.

Semprun's narrative takes a lot of turns, as it se
...more
Cuca
Feb 25, 2014 Cuca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es lo mejor que he leído en mucho tiempo. Exquisito, increíble, fantástico, sublime y me quedo sin adjetivos. Cabe destacar que has de conocer la trayectoria del escritor para comprender según que cosas, pero si tienes una base disfrutas como un enano. Increíble final.
Oscar
Jan 27, 2015 Oscar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¿Cómo superar un campo de concentración? ¿O acaso no vale la pena el pasado ni las heridas? Un relato personal sobre los horrores humanos y la escritura como modo (a la manera nietzscheana) de darle sentido al dolor y lo perdido.
Michael Selvin
Lots of concrete description of life in Buchenwald, and lots of analysis of the psychological and philosophical impacts, verging on the pedantic and academic. Lots of talk of books and writers, particular poets. Somewhat lacking in drama.
Doris
Apr 03, 2016 Doris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es uno de los libros más entrañables que he tenido la fortuna le leer. Gran escritor y ser humano.
Sylvain
Apr 01, 2013 Sylvain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book, attentively crafted, filled with light. I read the original French version, which is painfully beautiful.
The author, detained at Buchenwald as a Spanish Communist, talks about his liberation and his years struggling with the necessity and difficulty of telling his story.
One of the most honest and profound reflection on the power (and cost) of writing I have ever read...
Noémie
Aug 13, 2011 Noémie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
J'ai aimé l'aspect circulaire de son écriture, le fait qu'il écrive au fil de ses souvenirs, sans nécessairement respecter une linéarité contraignante. On se sent ainsi plus proche de ses sentiments personnels.
Juliette
A wonderful memoir, more accessible than the Cattle Truck, and reading it moved me. It's hard to describe how I feel about this book, as I read it for research rather than pleasure, but it's a good read.
Danae
Feb 28, 2012 Danae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Apelo a la definición que expresó una gran amiga (me es imposible hallar una más acertada): "La escritura o La vida es un libro para siempre jamás". Una maravilla de las Letras.
Ryan Mishap
Sep 15, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-writing
Buchenwald survivor's memoir/literary essay on how writing was killing him though Death had already found him in the camp.
Dustin
Nov 28, 2007 Dustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be ready to spend some time with this book. Its circuitous but well worth the trip.
Niloy Mitra
Dec 08, 2011 Niloy Mitra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Snow fell in my dreams .... A story or narrative of life after death, or second life?
Raluca
Jul 18, 2013 Raluca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: human-nature
From a man who has seen hell on Earth.
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Jorge Semprún (Madrid, 1923-París, 2011) fue testigo de algunos de los peores cataclismos políticos del siglo xx y participó activamente en la lucha contra los totalitarismos. Hijo de una familia de la alta burguesía, el estallido de la guerra civil le condujo al exilio en Francia. Miembro activo de la Resistencia francesa contra la ocupación nazi, es detenido y enviado a Buchenwald, donde permane ...more
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