In Search of the Lost Gaze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first chapter of Writing or Life is entitled "The Gaze," and these two titles together designate the two main themes of the novel. The first is the relationship between writing and life, conceived as an alternative: either writing or life; the second is the question of the gaze: the gaze of oneself and of the other, of oneself seeing and seen by the other. Dorfman investigates the close yet sometimes hidden link between these two themes, showing that it is only by finding his own gaze that Jorge Semprun could reconcile writing and life. He argues that the gaze is a limit phenomenon, and demonstrates this idea drawing on Sartre's analysis of the gaze in Being and Nothingness and Freud's concept of "afterwardsness" (Nachträglichkeit) as a mechanism of deferred trauma processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-69
Number of pages14
JournalYale French Studies
Issue number129
StatePublished - 2016


  • 1900-1999
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Authors, Exiled
  • Criticism and interpretation
  • Exiled authors
  • Exiles' writings
  • French language literature
  • Freud, Sigmund (1856-1939)
  • Life
  • Literary criticism
  • Literature
  • Literature, Romance
  • Novels
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1905-1980
  • Semprún, Jorge
  • Spanish literature
  • Trauma
  • Writers
  • Writing
  • gaze
  • novel
  • the other


Dive into the research topics of 'In Search of the Lost Gaze'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this