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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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Austerlitz (2001)

Austerlitz (2001)

Chapter:
(p.88) 6 Austerlitz (2001)
Source:
W.G. Sebald
Author(s):

Uwe Schütte

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780746312988.003.0006

This chapter explores Sebald’s ‘problematic’ work, Austerlitz, focusing on its central themes of transience, threat and death. It explores the book’s foundations – two real biographies of racial persecution – and Sebald’s aversion to it being categorised as a ‘novel’. Schütte argues that the work raises the question of how (or how not) to use empathy to describe unimaginable suffering, using the narrator’s precarious exploration of the Holocaust as an example.

Keywords:   Holocaust, Austerlitz, Empathy, World War II, Biography, Outsider literature

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