Imre Kertész, the „Medium of Auschwitz“

9 May 2017 - 5 PM

Clara Royer (CEFRES, Prague)

To Imre Kertész, “Auschwitz” was the “Ecce homo” of two thousand years of European Christian culture. Such collapse of the so-called humanist culture led him to undertake a radical criticism of literature and of language. Analysing the totalitarian condition through his literary work, he strove to reconquer a free self through writing. Indeed, this existential practice enabled to become a creator, that is, to turn into the subject of his own creation. But how to create a work of art in such circumstances?

This lecture will try to cast some light on how Kertész strove to become “the Medium of Auschwitz” through a historical approach of the genesis of his literary work. It will appraise the historical and personal conditions of the birth of Kertész’s first published novel, Facelessness.


Modern Jewish History Seminar

The seminar is intended to provide a platform for academic discussion about the latest research on Jewish history especially of the last three centuries. Though primarily focused on the Jews of central and east central Europe, the seminar also includes topics related to the Jews of other regions. The seminar is further enriched by including topics not directly concerned with Jews, but enabling one to see Jewish history from other perspectives (for instance, the perspective of other marginalized communities).

Despite our preference for the methods of historical research, the organizers welcome multidisciplinary approaches to the topics, including those of sociology, political science, religious studies, and art history.

The seminar is held in the library of CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1 always at 5:30 p.m. The language of the seminar is English. The seminar is organized by Kateřina Čapková and Michal Frankl. Since 2018/2019 the seminar is included into the MA program of the Prague Center for Jewish Studies at the Charles University. Due to Michal Frankl’s stay abroad this academic year, all the questions and suggestions should be sent to Kateřina Čapková (