The case of Robert Antelme
An analysis of the mnemonic mechanisms at work in the narrative of the concentration camp experience, based on the case of Robert Antelme. This survivor of the Buchenwald camp gave a first spoken version of what was to become his major work, l’Espèce humaine (The Human Species), to his friend Dionys Mascolo. Mascolo’s testimony concerning the narrative that was told to him and his reception, some time later, of the written narrative (with the transition between the two versions marked by forgetting), question the notion of loss — in particular, the loss of a “0” text which is the text of death. This postulate allows us to explore the notion of the ineffable and to reveal its cultural implications; in other words, to approach the concept of survival as a narrative category.