The calamitous perspective of modernity : Sebald's negative ontology
Burns, Rob and van der Will, W.. (2011) The calamitous perspective of modernity : Sebald's negative ontology. Journal of European Studies, Vol.41 (No.3-4). pp. 341-358. ISSN 0047-2441Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0047244111413700
This essay argues that Sebald’s entire work is informed by a negative ontology which has gained particular force and visibility in ‘modernity’, a period beginning, according to Sebald, with Napoleon ‘at the latest’. In a secular echo of the Bible’s teaching that nature is ‘fallen’ Sebald repeatedly hints that Being is misconstructed and that humans, with their apparently limitless capacity to inflict suffering, are subsumed under this verdict too. As possible sources for this view, this essay makes use of Sebald’s papers in the Deutsches Literaturarchiv at Marbach am Neckar (DLA). It then discusses some of the ways in which this negative ontology appears in Sebald’s work and concludes by showing why the author finally considers that the task of art, particularly literature, is to engage in creative activity as a labour of mourning and a demonstration of solidarity with those who suffer.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German Studies|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Journal of European Studies|
|Publisher:||Sage Publications Ltd.|
|Page Range:||pp. 341-358|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
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