• Reparation in W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz and Patrick Modiano’s Dora Bruder

    Author(s):
    Ben Streeter (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, CLCS Global Anglophone, Narrative theory and Narratology
    Subject(s):
    Trauma, 20th-century French literature, 21st-century German literature, Psychoanalysis
    Item Type:
    Thesis
    Institution:
    The George Washington University
    Tag(s):
    novel, essay
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/5p6a-rs34
    Abstract:
    W. G. Sebald and Patrick Modiano are two contemporary authors who share similar themes and literary practices. They are both fastidiously or even obsessively historical in their narrative development. And they seem preoccupied with the sins of World War II. Critics have divided feelings about their accomplishments. Skeptics say their trauma narratives induce despair, are complicated for complication’s sake, and overstate trauma’s imperviousness to healing. Advocates say their fictions bring historical injustices that have yet to be fully reckoned with to the present with emotional immediacy. This essay argues that Sebald’s Austerlitz (2001) and Modiano’s Dora Bruder (1997) do important political work in their fastidious historical narratives. In recreating the suffering of the past, these authors pull their readers into participating in acts of historical reparation, which are critical to social progress.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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