A Stereometry of Non-Memory: Mapping a Lost Past in W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz

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This article presents a consideration of W.G. Sebald’s 2001 work Austerlitz—his final novel—according to a variety of spatial and cartographic concepts, including ‘fluid cartography,’ and the notion of countermapping. Particularly, the article will explore the eponymous protagonist’s sense that ‘time [does] not exist at all, only various spaces interlocking according to the rules of a higher form of stereometry,’ and will demonstrate how this subjective experience of time is a consequence of the absence of memory experienced by the protagonist in relation to his origins as a Kindertransport survivor of the Holocaust. Similarly, the article will explore how spaces—particularly buildings—and material artefacts come to act as an (insufficient) surrogate for memory within the text. All of the
above will be framed according to a reading of the fundamental spatiality of Sebald’s works, and particularly their map-like quality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023

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