Imre Kertész, the “Medium of Auschwitz”

A lecture by Clara Royer (CEFRES) in the frame of the seminar on Modern Jewish History of the ÚSD AV ČR and CEFRES in partnership with the Jewish Museum.

Where: CEFRES library – Na Florenci 3, 110 00 Prague 1
When: 5 pm to 7 pm
Language: English


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, Fatelessness.