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The Consolations of WritingLiterary Strategies of Resistance from Boethius to Primo Levi$
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Rivkah Zim

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161808

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161808.001.0001

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Memorial Narratives as Salvation for the Feminine Self

Memorial Narratives as Salvation for the Feminine Self

(p.166) Chapter 4 Memorial Narratives as Salvation for the Feminine Self
The Consolations of Writing

Rivkah Zim

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents a reading of Marie-Jeanne Roland's Memoirs (1793) and Anne Frank's The Diary and Tales from the Secret Annexe (1942–44). Both writers wrote memorial narratives to preserve details of their lives because they believed that writing about their ideas, experiences, and feelings would help to sustain them in the exceptional circumstances of confinement. Both writers also became popular heroines: their prison writings have been continuously in print since shortly after their deaths. Yet their personal memoirs of different kinds have been read and valued as historic witness accounts of wider, catastrophic events: the French Revolution and the Holocaust. Both writers were conscious of their roles as historic witnesses, but the chapter seeks to refocus attention on their ideas of themselves as writers and the primary functions of their texts as literary testimony to unique personal identities rather than the historic victims of terror they came to represent for later readers.

Keywords:   Marie-Jeanne Roland, Anne Frank, prison writing, prisoners, Memoirs, The Diary and Tales from the Secret Annexe, French Revolution, Holocaust

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