This article is an attempt to identify the main themes in the literary work of Zygmunt Haupt, a Polish writer, journalist and painter, who emigrated to the United States in the aftermath of World War II. His writings show a keen awareness of the issue of absence/presence and the related problems of memory traits, identity and literary representation. Drawing on the psychoanalytical criticism of Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva and the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, this reading of Haupt’s fi ction, especially his short stories (whose collected edition was published in 2007 under the title The Basque Devil), is a critical reassessment of his work. As a storyteller he excels in the depiction of scenes of terror, desire and the uncanny. The article argues Haupt’s work represents not only a remarkable literary achievement but also offers an interesting study case for critics whose approach is founded on literary theory, psychoanalysis and anthropology.