Robert Antelme  

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"It was left to literature, such as Primo Levi's If This Is a Man (1947) or Robert Antelme's The Human Race (1947) to describe what poetry, according to Theodor Adorno, could not describe."--Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Robert Antelme (5 January 1917, Sartène, Corse-du-Sud – 26 October 1990) was a French writer. During the Second World War he was involved in the French Resistance and deported. He wrote L'Espèce humaine (1947) depicting his experiences in the camps.

In 1939 he married Marguerite Duras. Their child died at birth in 1942. In the same year, Duras met Dionys Mascolo, who became her lover.

Antelme was arrested and deported on 1 July 1944. He was at Buchenwald, then Gandersheim. After the end of the war François Mitterrand found Antelme in a terrible state while visiting the Dachau concentration camp and organised his return to Paris; Mitterrand later reported that he had almost not heard Antelme's soft-voiced call to him. Marguerite Duras looked after Antelme and wrote La Douleur about his return. She divorced him soon after he regained his health, but they remained friends.

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