Still a ‘Spanish Red’? The communist past and national identity in the writing of Jorge Semprún (Twentieth Century Communism 3, 2011)

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Publication date: May 1, 2011

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Stephen Hopkins

This article examines the political relationship between communism and national identity in the writing of Semprún, and through this seeks to understand further his complex position with regard to the communist past. As a Spanish Red, but one exiled in France from the age of 15, for whom patriotism and nationalistic fervour were both ideologically and practically suspect, Semprún is especially interested in the cultural and social diversity on display within the ostensibly internationalist communist movement. The article draws on his experiences in Buchenwald and reflects on the question of Semprún’s wider relationship to his exile in France. It focuses in particular on What A Beautiful Sunday!; Literature or Life; Autobiographie de Federico Sanchez, Federico Sanchez vous salue bien, La Deuxième Mort de Ramon Mercader and the more recent Le Mort qu’il faut.