Delbo’s La Mémoire et les jours is characterized by a fragmentary structure wherein the relationships among the chapters remain unclear; it is as though the text were brief snatches of conversation, memory, testimony that Delbo recorded. Embedded within the structure itself is the argument against narrating exile, incarceration, genocide in any way that soothes the rough edges of experience. In one of the chapters, “Kalavrita des mille Antigone,” Delbo/the narrator employs a powerful and unnerving direct address to us: “Vous la voyez?” she asks. And what we would see were we to be there looking is not the genocide itself but rather its memorial: memory already mediated, removed, so the seeing is already a post-fact, already covered over by the landscape. To Delbo’s “Vous la voyez?” the reader is left unnervingly with the visual record of genocide without its textual explanation, testifying, as do Delbo’s works, to the necessary gap between the visual and the textual, the seeable and the impossible to grasp.


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pp. 39-42
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