Traumatic Europe: the impossibility of mourning in W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Abstract

Synthesising the work of Jacques Derrida with that of Dominick LaCapra, Dan Diner and others, this essay explores how W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz conjures up a post-war Europe constituted of continuous conflict and dispossession, and argues that mourning becomes the lingua franca of the post-war European novel. Further, Koulouris shows how Sebald’s seminal text provides a rich constellation of insights into the ways we conceptualise Europe as a site of common aspirations and conflicting national and financial interests; in Austerlitz, Koulouris argues, Sebald establishes that if there is such a thing as a common European heritage then it is one consummated not only in actual trauma, of which we can barely think let alone textually represent, but also in the trauma of ‘impossible mourning’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Novel and Europe: imagining the continent in post-1945 fiction
EditorsA. Hammond
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages53-70
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781137526274
ISBN (Print)9781137526267
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2016

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Modern European Literature

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    Koulouris, T. (2016). Traumatic Europe: the impossibility of mourning in W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz. In A. Hammond (Ed.), The Novel and Europe: imagining the continent in post-1945 fiction (pp. 53-70). (Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-52627-4_2