Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA); Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Date Information

December, 2017

Department

English

First Advisor

Lisa Mulman

Abstract

Of the many enigmatic features of W.G. Sebald's fiction, perhaps the most perplexing is the author's uncanny ability to convey a topic while avoiding explicit reference to it. This is especially true in regard to the Holocaust, a topic Sebald rarely labels with terms traditionally associated with its history, but which arguably constitutes the ethical core of the works. Partially in response to historian Saul Frieländer's suggestion that literature may potentially offer cohesion to "the growing fragmentation of the history of the Nazi period" ("Trauma" 52), this thesis investigates the relationship between Sebald's unique stylistics and its representation of the Holocaust. Through close readings of Sebald's work, I demonstrate that Sebald's and Friendländer's texts are undergirded by similar ethical and epistemological positions, which in turn help explain their significant rhetorical differences. Indeed, the stark contrasts of those differences speaks to the continuing potency of the events to impose a disjunctive effect (despite ethical affinities of the authors) on Holocaust representation.

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