Following Sebald

John Limon

in Death's Following

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242795
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242832 | DOI:
Following Sebald

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W.G. Sebald's documentary fiction takes two forms: following and wandering. Yet the wandering always turns into repetitious self-following, and the following always dissolves into wandering. This is the reciprocal form melancholy takes in his books, and the chapter argues that melancholy thus is unexpectedly harnessed to propel a narrative. If the ontological point-contra Heidegger-is that death is never near enough, the ethical point is that melancholy, contra Freud, is an attempt to wander with the dead who cannot be brought near enough. Melancholy is an imitation of death that energizes itself by its failure to imitate death perfectly.

Keywords: Melancholy; Following; Wandering; Freud; Narratology; Freud; W.G. Sebald

Chapter.  6519 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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