Novel Crime, Hunting and Investigation of the trace in Sebald’s Prose

Pic, Muriel (2012). Novel Crime, Hunting and Investigation of the trace in Sebald’s Prose. Melilah. Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies(Supplement 2), pp. 81-88. Georgias Press

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Mindful of the criminality in memory, Sebald’s prose itself leads an investigation. He uses the inquest process from the crime novel genre, and espouses the specific narrative regime of the crime novel. He also makes reference to the latter by punctuating the narrative with true crime stories. In Vertigo, for example, Sebald relates an unsolved crime taken from an article in an Italian newspaper. The story serves to reinforce an uneasiness felt by the narrator since his time in Vienna. Sebald’s writing can be seen as an historical operation of searching for clues, which are not presented as documents producing a discourse of truth. Rather, they give rise to an experience of remembering which becomes entwined with that of reading. In his prose, the document appears as a fragment detached from its context, free to provoke a re-living of the past by invoking the imagination. Sebald’s aim is to bring the past to life through prose and images. He uses documents from history, rejecting the positivistic historical method borrowed from the natural sciences. Wandering through time with the narrator in Sebald’s works, the reader is thus drawn into a deep meditation on identity. This essay analyses the complex narrative techniques Sebald uses to develop his vision of the past, including his pathbreaking use of photographs.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Pic, Muriel

Subjects:

800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 840 French & related literatures
400 Language > 440 French & related languages

ISSN:

1759-1953

Publisher:

Georgias Press

Language:

English

Submitter:

Muriel Agnès Laure Yvonne Pic

Date Deposited:

03 Aug 2017 10:01

Last Modified:

16 Sep 2017 08:39

Additional Information:

Suppl. 2: ISBN: 978-1-61143-223-7 (Traces, Memory and the Holocaust in the Writings of W.G. Sebald, Edited by Jean-Marc Dreyfus & Janet Wolff).

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.96802

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/96802

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