Edmond Jabès and the Wound of Writing: the Traces of Auschwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Jabès's ceaseless interrogation of the book is marked out against the background of the Shoah. As a problematical post‐Shoah writer, Jabès, in his more recent texts, begins to employ the word Auschwitz as a metaphor for the unthought, unthinkable, unknowable, unsayable. While stressing the fact that he does not and cannot speak of Auschwitz as such, he nevertheless sees Auschwitz as having wounded the word which it is the poet's task to attempt to express. Jabès's writing bears the mark of this wound, and the traces of Auschwitz are inscribed in a poetics that would link them with an ethical discourse on the face and responsibility. Although God, the void and Auschwitz become metaphors for one another, it is Auschwitz that specifically, as a non‐representational absolute, interrupts the Jabès text and disrupts the appropriative movement of dialectical thought. Auschwitz as a non‐thematizable event dislocates its own position in Jabès's texts. Though Jabès can only circumscribe the wounded word, the traces of Auschwitz in his work point to the simultaneously centred and marginalized nature of the questions he poses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-306
Number of pages14
JournalOrbis Litterarum
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Edmond Jabès and the Wound of Writing: the Traces of Auschwitz'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this