, Volume 96, Issue 4, pp 523–540 | Cite as

Photographie et image en prose dans Dora Bruder de Patrick Modiano

  • Annelies Schulte Nordholt
Open Access


In Patrick Modiano’s inquiry on Dora Bruder, photographical images—mostly portraits of Dora and her parents—play an important role. But in the original edition, these photographs are not reproduced, they are only described. We thus have to do with prose images, with an ekphrasis from existing photographs. In later editions—especially the American and Japanese translations—we find reproductions of these photographs. Their addition to the text modifies the status of it, making it into a biography or document. But our analysis concentrates on the prose images themselves: how do they work out within the narrative? How do they affect the experience of the reader, who «sees» them without really seeing them? What is their relation to postmemory? How do they include the viewpoint of the narrator, who is describing the photographs? We will see that the prose image is a deliberate choice of Modiano’s, and that it perfectly fits the narrative formula of Dora Bruder, which is halfway between a memorial and an autobiography. Moreover, it is in harmony with Modiano’s mode of narration.


Patrick Modiano Dora Bruder Photography Shoah Postmemory 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


  1. Bal, M. (1997). Images littéraires ou comment lire visuellement Proust. Montréal: XYZ.Google Scholar
  2. Barthes, R. (1980). La chambre claire. Paris: Gallimard Seuil.Google Scholar
  3. Cima, D. (2003). Etude sur Dora Bruder de Patrick Modiano. Paris: Ellipses.Google Scholar
  4. De Gaudemar, A. (1997). La dernière fugue de Dora. Libération, 3 avril.Google Scholar
  5. Frain, I. (1997). Patrick Modiano, l’éternel préoccupé de l’Occupation. Paris-Match, 17 avril.Google Scholar
  6. Hirsch, M. (1996). Past lives: Postmemories in Exile. Poetics Today, 17(4), 659–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hirsch, M. (1997). Family frames. Photography, narrative and postmemory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Hirsch, M. (2001). Surviving images: Holocaust photographs and the work of postmemory. The Yale Journal of Criticism, 14(1), 5–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Klarsfeld, S. (1978). Mémorial de la déportation des Juifs de France. Paris: Association pour le jugement des criminels nazis qui ont opéré en France.Google Scholar
  10. Klarsfeld, S. (2001). La Shoah en France, vol. 4: Le Mémorial des enfants juifs déportés. Paris: Fayard.Google Scholar
  11. Modiano, P. (1978). Rue des boutiques obscures. Paris: Gallimard Nrf.Google Scholar
  12. Modiano, P. (1994). Avec Klarsfeld contre l’oubli. Libération, 2 novembre, 8.Google Scholar
  13. Modiano, P. (1997). Dora Bruder. Paris: Gallimard Nrf.Google Scholar
  14. Modiano, P. (1999a). Dora Bruder. Paris: Gallimard Folio.Google Scholar
  15. Modiano, P. (1999b). Dora Bruder (J. Kilmartin, Trans.). Berkeley, Los Angeles, Londres: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Modiano, P. (2001). Livret de famille. Paris: Gallimard Folio.Google Scholar
  17. Morris, A. (2006). Avec Serge Klarsfeld contre l’oubli. Patrick Modiano’s Dora Bruder. Journal of European Studies, 36(3), 269–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Roche, J.-Y. (2009). Photofictions. Perec, Modiano, Duras, Goldschmidt, Barthes. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Presses universitaires du Septentrion.Google Scholar
  19. Schulte Nordholt, A. (2008). Perec, Modiano, Raczymow. La génération d’après et la mémoire de la Shoah. Rodopi: Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  20. Sontag, S. (1973). On photography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  21. Vishniac, R. (1983). A vanished world. Amsterdam: Meulenhoff/Landshoff. [New York: Shocken Books, 1947].Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de Langue et Littérature FrançaisesUniversité de LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations