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W.G. Sebald$
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Uwe Schütte

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780746312988

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780746312988.001.0001

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The Emigrants (1992)

The Emigrants (1992)

(p.57) 4 The Emigrants (1992)
W.G. Sebald

Uwe Schütte

Liverpool University Press

In this chapter, Schütte analyses the work that transformed Sebald’s career. The Emigrants is a collection of four stories which reflect on the suffering of the victims of Nazi terror. They explore the tragic phenomenon of ‘survivor syndrome’, where victims repress the burden of escaping persecution before being compelled to end their lives. Two of the narratives, Dr Henry Selwyn and Paul Bereyter, end in forms of redemptive suicide as the characters are troubled by long-repressed memories and feelings of collective responsibility for the Holocaust. Reflecting on the title, Schütte argues that Sebald, thinly cloaked as the narrator, believed the loss of one’s homeland as a result of forced migration to be a paradigmatic experience of modern life.

Keywords:   Memory, Trauma, Emigration, World War II, Survivor Syndrome, Repressed memories

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