L'Histoire hors sujet ou Écrire le passé « comme Elstir peignait la mer »: le cas de l'Histoire des grands-parents que je n'ai pas eus d'Ivan Jablonka
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© 2015 Association for the Study of Modern & Contemporary France. Prompted by the spectacular success of such works as Les Bienveillantes, JanKarski and HHhH, much attention has been devoted to the role, function and significance of history in the writing of literary texts: hence the special number of Le Débat on 'L'Histoire saisie par la fiction' in 2011. The present article focuses on assessing certain literary aspects in the 'investigation' written by the historian Ivan Jablonka, Histoire des grands-parents que je n'ai pas eus. In retracing the path followed by his grandparents, who were militant communist Jews fleeing political repression, leaving their shtetl in Poland to seek refuge in France, where they found themselves swept away like so many others by war and genocide, Jablonka fully and openly involves himself not only in researching and writing the narrative but also in reflecting on his own personal manner of experiencing the past through these activities. In analysing how this personal involvement of the historian plays out in his text, we will see that Jablonka has us view his grandparents' tragic itinerary and the major currents of history within which they occur like Elstir would paint the sea, that is, from the specific way in which they experienced the events.
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