Spaces of Memory in Giorgio Bassani, Ruth Klüger and W.G. Sebald

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KNITTEL, Susanne C., 2004. Spaces of Memory in Giorgio Bassani, Ruth Klüger and W.G. Sebald [Master thesis]

@mastersthesis{Knittel2004Space-3631, title={Spaces of Memory in Giorgio Bassani, Ruth Klüger and W.G. Sebald}, year={2004}, author={Knittel, Susanne C.} }

Knittel, Susanne C. 2011-03-23T13:48:19Z Spaces of Memory in Giorgio Bassani, Ruth Klüger and W.G. Sebald At the core of this paper is the interrelation of space and memory. Pierre Nora s term lieux de mémoire suggests a spatial component, or at least a specific frame of time and space for remembering. The three authors I am examining all use space as a major element for the organization of their books, and all address the problem of commemorating the past without abandoning its memory to fixed structures. They use space as an aid to retrieve memories but make clear that, ultimately, space alone cannot contain these memories for us.<br />All three authors, in one way or the other, insist that remembering has to be active, dialogic, interpretative, intertextual, intermedial; it is a process that continues to engage people in a confrontation with the past. For each author, writing about memory and remembering is either an open and experimental process, or an unfinished work-in-progress that will be modified as time passes. Each of the books I examine is an example of what I describe as the ideal memorial: It causes the readers to interact with the past, to modify their opinions, and encourages dialogue with other books and other readers. And each book commemorates people and places that have been lost in official records and forgotten in public commemorations.<br />Giorgio Bassani has remained closest to the site of his own and his characters suffering and has centered his entire oeuvre on this site: the city of Ferrara. Like no other author he has created his own city of collective memory, which is composed of and developed through the various layers of memory of its inhabitants. W.G. Sebald s characters are all emigrants in one way or another: far from home, they are displaced and nomadic people who experience space as refuge and prison at the same time. Some are absorbed by the structures of cities, where they try to unearth a past that is lost for them or that has been repressed. Austerlitz and Die Ausgewanderten perhaps come closest to a kind of modern memory book, as they commemorate people in a documentary style enriched, like all of Sebald s books, with photographs that give it an air of authenticity. Ruth Klüger on the other hand doesn t need the places; the names, the words, her words are enough for her to remember. The death camp becomes speakable: Her book and her poems are her sites of memory, her tool is language, and her reader is forced to rethink, revisit and radically re-evaluate his or her own inner museum of the Holocaust. terms-of-use application/pdf eng Knittel, Susanne C. 2004 2011-03-23T13:48:19Z

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