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Deconstructing the Past in W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants: Historiography and Memory in Postmodern Writing
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Teaching and Learning Language, Literature and Media. (CCD@JU)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3264-9173
2014 (English)In: Der reisende Europäer / [ed] Edgar Platen & Linda Karlsson Hammarfelt, München: IUDICIUM Verlag GmbH, 2014, p. 26-43Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When Linda Hutcheon in her work on postmodern aesthetics and historiography (1988) speaks of “history as ‘a true novel’” she seems both to sum up the postmodern skepticism towards historical knowledge but also point towards what, in an unfortunate turn of phrase, could be called a poetics of history, flashing out the fact that history and fiction may not be as too far apart as it may seem. W. G. Sebald’s novel The Emigrants could be seen as a site of contention where desperate attempts by the narrator to preserve the memory of the past are constantly undermined by the unreliability of the very means by which he attempts to maintain its legitimacy. Reflecting on the nature of historical knowledge and memory in Sebald’s novel, this paper intends to consider whether history, insofar as it shares its narrative conventions with fiction, is not past but perhaps yet and always to be determined.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
München: IUDICIUM Verlag GmbH, 2014. p. 26-43
Keywords [en]
Sebald, The Emigrants, Derrida, Hutcheon, Ricoeur, deconstruction, postmodernism, historiography, memory, narrative, différance
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-37482ISBN: 978-3-86205-453-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-37482DiVA, id: diva2:1145946
Available from: 2017-10-01 Created: 2017-10-01 Last updated: 2017-10-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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