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Triangulating Trauma: Constellations of Memory, Representation, and Distortion in Elie Wiesel, Wolfgang Borchert, and W.G. Sebald
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Humanities 2017, 6(4), 101; doi:10.3390/h6040101

In Transit: Sebald, Trauma, and Cinema

School of English and Media Studies, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Received: 13 October 2017 / Revised: 6 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wounded: Studies in Literary and Cinematic Trauma)
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Abstract

Because Sebald’s books are preoccupied with historical catastrophe, particularly the Holocaust, critical commentaries have often interpreted them in terms of the transmission of traumatic memory. But this stress on the temporal relay from past to present and future generations has drawn attention away from the emphasis on space and travel in Sebald’s work. In order to address this gap in Sebald criticism, this essay discusses three films that adapt and respond to Sebald’s work: Patience (After Sebald) (directed by Grant Gee, 2012), Terezin (directed by Daniel Blaufuks, 2010) and Austerlitz (directed by Stan Neumann, 2015). Because of the cinema’s constant movement between images and places, these films allow us to see more clearly the aspects of Sebald’s writings concerned with traveling and making connections between different archival spaces. The journeys in Sebald’s books and in these films inspired by them go beyond human life worlds to include non-human creatures, and beyond the realms of the living to include those inhabited by the dead. This suspension of the boundary between life and death, along with the restless movement from place to place, creates a relationship to memory and history that cannot be limited to the model of traumatic transmission. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sebald; trauma; postmemory; cinema; Holocaust Sebald; trauma; postmemory; cinema; Holocaust
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Meek, A. In Transit: Sebald, Trauma, and Cinema. Humanities 2017, 6, 101.

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