Sebald, reader of Benjamin: The remembrance as spectral review

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© Paula Kuffer, 2016-2017-CC BY-NC-D. Starting from the Benjaminian sentence that asserts "the historical facts happen to be what strike us right now: To state them is a task of memory", and which supposes a Copernican turning point in the historiographical field, as the historical is not about the reconstruction of the past anymore but about its construction in the present, this paper deals with Sebald's Unheimlichkeit understood as a condition of possibility of the act of remembrance in his writing, thus presenting itself as a Benjaminian Jetztzeit that urges a break in the oppressive continuity of history, the necessary chain of events. Unheimlichkeit opens a space in the language in which the memory of those who are confined to the archives may survive. The impossibility of resurrecting those lives that have ended in the archives is no reason to make them die a second time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-226
Issue number29-30
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Benjamin
  • Freud
  • Jetztzeit
  • Memory
  • Sebald
  • Unheimlichkeit
  • Writing of history


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