In that gathering dusk – wonder, horror, and the transitory pedestrianism of Austerlitz

Bam, Otto Erich (2020-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study I investigate the critical potential inherent in dusk, a motif that functions as the predominant temporal setting of W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. My aim is to explore how this pervasive literary device effects a spatialisation of time, and to explore this as a metaphorical entry point into an investigation of the novel’s stance towards modernity. I proceed to unpack the role of walking, which functions as a means to subvert the jarring severance from the past that marks the modern experience. By means of the digression and the non-linearity inherent in walking, the characters in Austerlitz collect individual stories in ways that affirm the locality and singularity of individual lives while, simultaneously, implicating them, through the blurring of boundaries associated with dusk, in a collective vision of history as calamity.

AFRIKAANE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie ondersoek ek die skemer motief in W.G. Sebald se Austerlitz. Ek ontleed die manier waarop skemer dien as ’n deurlopende ruimtelike-tydseffek in die roman en die potensiaal daarvan as ’n metaforiese toetrede tot 'n ondersoek van die roman se posisie ten opsigte van moderniteit. Ek gaan voort om die rol van wandeling te ontleed, en wys uit dat beweging op straatvlak dien as ’n manier om die skeiding van die hede van die verlede, wat die moderne wêreld karakteriseer, te ondermyn. Deur middel van die afwyking en nie-lineariteit, wat inherent is aan wandel, versamel die karakters in Austerlitz stories op maniere wat die ligging en enkelvoud van individuele lewens beklemtoon. Terselfdertyd word hierdie stories impliseer, as gevolge die vervaging van grense wat met skemer verband hou, in 'n verenigde visie van die geskiedenis as rampspoed.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107819
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