Paraskevi Nastou is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Art and Languages at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). She received a graduate degree in General Legal Studies from the University of Athens and a Master’s degree in Public International Law from the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. After a brief career as a jurist, including consultancy work for the UNESCO, she converted to literary and art theory and obtained a Master’s degree (EHESS) whose principal foci were narratives of the Holocaust and Gulag survivors, stylistics, aesthetics, mirrors in the visual arts and madness in the Renaissance. She has authored academic articles both in law and literature, plus a literary monograph on Modern Greece (Dictionnaire insolite de la Grèce). Her most recently completed paper, which highlights the Dantesque intertextuality in the prose and poetry of Gulag survivor Varlam Chalamov, was presented at a colloquium on “the Dantesque” held at the University of Burgundy in June 2016 and will shortly be published in a collective volume.
Paraskevi Nastou’s doctoral project investigates the use of metaphorical language in testimonial narratives and poetry from Nazi and Soviet concentration camps through a comparative study of works by Charlotte Delbo (a French Resistance member deported to Auschwitz and Ravensbrück), Primo Levi and Varlam Chalamov (emblematic survivors of Auschwitz and Kolyma, respectively). After exposing features allowing for the identification of metaphors within the corpus under study, the thesis will explore the different processes of demetaphorisation at work. The so-called metaphor of the hell, broadly used with respect to the camps, will receive specific attention in the third part of the thesis, and will reveal itself as an additional means of reification of the metaphor in textual representations of extreme situations.