Not from My Lips
From Annihilation to Nation Building
The words “I love” do not fall easily from the lips of male confessants with respect to their intimate others. Their confessiographies display a fundamental hesitation toward intimate female companions. About the wife of Paul the Simple, we only know that she betrayed his trust; in Manhood, we learn almost nothing about Leiris's wife; Augustine is silent concerning his lover. In yet other cases, the disappearance of the intimate other comes close to malicious neglect. Here, texts become a device of self-distancing, imprisoning the male self in a circular path of self-centeredness, thus preventing the male from self-touching as well as being touched by others. Credo exemplifies such a text: the confessant Pohl is not only out of touch with his culpability but also not in touch with intimate others. We return to him (and the people silenced in his text) in this chapter. But first we take another look at Perechodniks relationship to his female companions. Whereas the (former) Jewish ghetto policeman writes against annihilation, the (former) Nazi perpetrator confesses his hope to be part of a new nation building. What they share in common with Augustine, Leiris, and other male confessants is that the women on their side are variously muted, disavowed, neglected, fictionalized, and rendered invisible.