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"Ein Penelopewerk des Vergessens"? W. G. Sebald's Nietzschean Poetics of Forgetting

Hutchinson, Ben (2009) "Ein Penelopewerk des Vergessens"? W. G. Sebald's Nietzschean Poetics of Forgetting. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 45 (3). pp. 325-336. ISSN 0015-8518. (doi:10.1093/fmls/cqp106) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/fmls/cqp106

Abstract

W. G. Sebald is generally seen as an exemplary modern writer of “memory”. This essay seeks to demonstrate that in fact his understanding of memory is equally dependent on the importance – and paradoxically the impossibility – of forgetting. Based on archival work in his own private library, it explores how Sebald's annotations in his copies of thinkers as diverse as Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin and Sir Thomas Browne consistently interpret memory as a double-edged sword. A particular focus is Sebald's reading of Nietzsche's seminal thoughts on the dialectics of remembering/forgetting in “Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben” and Zur Genealogie der Moral. It is perhaps the ability to forget, Nietzsche suggests, that is the guarantor of peace and sanity; Sebald's notorious melancholy, conversely, can arguably be linked to his inability to forget, for, as Nietzsche writes, “nur was nicht aufhört, weh zu thun, bleibt im Gedächtnis”.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/fmls/cqp106
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: N. Isaeva
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2014 13:02 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2020 04:06 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/42305 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hutchinson, Ben: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3266-5846
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