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Pascal Bataillard (Universit Lumire-Lyon II) The Silence of Images: Traces and Effacement in the French Graphic Novel

Adaptation of Bohumil Hrabals Too Loud A Solitude In 1976, Czech writer Hrabal published Too Loud a Solitude a novel about the physical destruction of books, whose atmosphere is infused by the melancholy thoughts of Hanta, who spends his days drinking and destroying books, or occasionally salvaging them from the disaster. My paper will examine how its French graphic novel adaptation of this text translates this post-Shoah narrative, as Hanta often reminisces about a gipsy girlfriend who may have died in Dachau, at least in one of those places foreclosed from memory. Resorting to psychoanalytical studies of mourning and melancholy (Freud, Lacan, Kristeva), to Derridas notions of traces and specters, as well as to trauma theory (LaCapra), I will address the ambivalent figures of destruction and effacement, the only means left for Hanta to retrieve memories of what it may have been to be human, whatever the cost. Books and their destruction loudly/mutely echo the Shoah and all forms of industrialized death in our postmodern world. The reader becomes the witness of what cannot be shown, holding a book which, like all books, has always already been lost, and which might be the only object presenting ordinary abjection before being destroyed and recycled.