The Haze of the Shoah. Exilic Condition in the Work of Anna Langfus (1920-1966)

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
John Wiley and Sons Ltd
(c) The Author
When Holocaust survivor Anna Langfus (1920–1966) left Poland for France in 1946, she broke all ties with her home country. French became her language of choice for the three novels she published between 1960 and 1965, and she never used Polish at home nor taught it to her only daughter. Yet, in a contribution to a volume on Chopin published a few months before her death, she had the famous composer cry out: ‘I do not want to die in this country. […] No, not here. But at home, in my home, the only home I ever owned, my parents' home. A home I shall never see again; a country I have abandoned.’ Drawing on the work of Julia Kristeva (abjection) and Dominick LaCapra (empathic unsettlement) I explore representations of exile in Langfus's fiction in three respects: the incommunicability of the Shoah and the ensuing exilic condition of the Holocaust survivor (exile from others); the fragmentation/dislocation of the narrator's body as expression of the survivor's existential anguish (exile from self); the fleeting solace offered by creative fiction and the connection established with readers (suspension of exile). Throughout this discussion, I will be guided by the motif of the fog, which features strongly in Langfus's Chopin text.
CAUL read and publish agreement 2022
Anna Langfus, Julia Kristeva - abjection, Dominick LaCapra - empathic unsettlement, exile, fog, post-Shoah/Literature in French
Orbis Litterarum: international review of literary studies, 2022, 77 (5), pp. ? - ? (13)