Traces of Trauma in W. G. Sebald and Christoph Ransmayr

Dora Osborne

Legenda (General Series)

Legenda

4 March 2013  •  198pp

ISBN: 978-1-907975-40-0 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-351192-35-4 (Taylor & Francis ebook)

ContemporaryGermanFictionLife-Writing


Both W. G. Sebald (1944-2001) and the Austrian author Christoph Ransmayr (1954-) were born too late to know directly the violence of the Second World War and the Holocaust, but these traumatic events are a persistent presence in their work. In a series of close readings of key prose texts, Dora Osborne examines the different ways in which the traces of a traumatic past mark their narratives. By focusing on the authors’ use of visual and topographical tropes, she shows how blind spots and inhospitable places configure signs of past violence, but, ultimately, resist our understanding. Whilst links between the two authors are well-documented, this book offers the first full-length study of Sebald and Ransmayr and their complicated relation to the traumatic traces of National Socialism.

Dora Osborne is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in German Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Reviews:

  • ‘Brought countless things to light about The Emigrants and Austerlitz that I am extremely grateful for, and I know I’ll never read either of these books again without saying a silent “thank you” to Osborne for opening my eyes to a new way of looking at them.’ — Terry Pitts, Vertigo 8 June 2013
  • ‘The detailed analyses and dynamic argumentation in addition to the illuminating introduction of the concept of ‘post-postwar literature’ make this study a significant contribution to scholarship on both Ransmayr and Sebald and to critical considerations of twentieth-century post-Holocaust literature in German more broadly.’ — Lynn L. Wolff, Modern Language Review 111.1, January 2016, 294-96 (full text online)
  • ‘Osborne has done a great service in awakening Sebald scholars to a kindred spirit in Ransmayr with a long-overdue systematic comparison of “traces of trauma” in the works of both immensely important writers, one a storied member of the literary establishment, one who will remain, even posthumously, an outsider looking in.’ — Mark R. McCulloh, Monatshefte 108.1, 2016, 150-52

Bibliography entry:

Osborne, Dora, Traces of Trauma in W. G. Sebald and Christoph Ransmayr (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013)

First footnote reference: 35 Dora Osborne, Traces of Trauma in W. G. Sebald and Christoph Ransmayr (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Osborne, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Osborne, Dora. 2013. Traces of Trauma in W. G. Sebald and Christoph Ransmayr (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Osborne 2013: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Osborne 2013: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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