Andre Malraux: An Age of Oppression by Roberta Newnham

By Roberta Newnham

Aimed to coincide with the centenary of Malraux's start, André Malraux: An Age of Oppression is the 1st translation/annotated version of Le Temps de mépris in a finished layout. the tale (with the emphasis upon the mental trauma suffered by means of a German political prisoner of the Nazis within the early Nineteen Thirties) marks an important second in Malraux's literary oeuvre, and a prophetic perception into the ancient implications of the location triumphing in pre-World warfare II Nazi Germany.

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Lying on the floor was forbidden. “If I’ve counted up to a hundred before they come back, she’s alive,” he mumbled. One, two, three... Silence. His eyes were closed, the numbers were totting up, one after the other, as they do before an execution. ” André Malraux . 15 He saw Anna’s eyes open and opened his own: while he had been counting, he had unconsciously drawn his feet together and crossed his arms over his chest like a corpse. “I’m already going insane,” he thought. He heard the sound of the guards’ footsteps again, but decided not to get up: he wanted to see another human being.

They draw nearer, chanting; it sounds more like an indignant hate-filled drone, they’re singing the very chorus that’s been lurking around the cell for hours and which modulates into a rustling of leaves, like the sound of floundering, fleeing animals and finally lapses into a distant clanking of silver armour. Something else carries through the darkness: a dog howling in the distance, yet it’s as present as the shadow of a bird, hovering closely, wings outstretched. No: it’s a prisoner howling in a nearby cell.

Comrades from the emergency rescue service went down there, while the funeral bell tolled unbearably on and on. The flames had hemmed them in and, although they had been wearing their masks, they had been unable to save even their own men: two were killed, one was missing. The volunteers — every one of us, you can imagine — who were standing by the pit’s shaft-head formed a chain and passed along extinguishers and sandbags while an ambulance, making the only audible sound there, stood by waiting, in vain.

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