By Natalie Reitano
This dissertation considers how Nabokov, Ishiguro and Sebald---each of whom has abjured, in numerous methods, a feeling of nationwide belonging---rethink neighborhood relating to the legacies of totalitarianism, imperialism and fascism. I learn Ada, The Unconsoled and Austerlitz either via and opposed to theories of neighborhood proposed by way of Bataille, Blanchot, Nancy and Agamben. Forming a type of counter-discourse to various fresh "traumatic" discourses, those philosophical remedies of neighborhood might interrupt a triumphing trust that any engagement with the prior inaugurates melancholic repetition; they search in its place to find substitute buildings of group in a gift that may be neither a transition to a predestined destiny nor the redemption of a misplaced prior. group, as a question of no matter if belonging can withstand nostalgia or anticipation for a few (national) immanence misplaced or to return, mostly determines the novels' temporal good judgment. each one addresses the opportunity of divorcing the current from an orientation towards loss through interrupting narrative futures induced via "catastrophe" and a feeling of "imminent crisis." And but each one, in its war of words with political upheaval, historic deadlock and the ostensibly ruptural common sense of modernity itself, threatens to overhaul that common sense the place interruption is pressed into the carrier of self-perpetuation. For if the novels face up to a "future anterior" through interrupting an indebtedness to the earlier, additionally they exceed the current that every could delimit by way of refusing to finish. jointly they show continual problems with formulations of interruption, restrict and abandonment that may withstand fantasies of nationwide redemption: every one novel is itself a delusion of nationwide unbelonging that makes an attempt to alternative its personal aesthetic totality for a feeling of nationhood that has been misplaced and that is still, regardless of Nabokov, Ishiguro and Sebald's disavowals of nationwide identification, a locus of longing. even if, even supposing myths of nationwide origins and rebirth do proceed to play out in those novels, an adventure of the "limit of community"---that threshold among the current and what it's not, among finitude and indeterminacy---continues to problem any "literary immortality" that might overwrite it.
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Additional resources for Against redemption: Interrupting the future in the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov, Kazuo Ishiguro and W. G. Sebald
8 Sebald, ONHD, 161. 9 Nabokov, Strong Opinions, 131. 10 Nabokov, Strong Opinions, 49. 11 Nabokov, Strong Opinions, 114. 12 Sebald, Austerlitz, 140. 13 Derrida, Of Grammatology, 4. 14 For Kojève, history had ended insofar as economic prosperity in the West had increasingly delivered people from poverty and the struggle that came with it: with freedom from want would come harmony, but also the “end of man” whose nature, defined by such struggle, would be exhausted. 15 Quoted in Rothberg, Traumatic Realism, 76-77.
Does to console mean to affirm the presence of what seems lost and to negate its loss? No. For such an affirmation is nothing but a denial, a vain attempt to reassure what is unconsoled. ”59 “Integral actuality” is the structural inherence within the present of “now-time” of what lies outside of history beyond its end. ”60 The flash of memory interrupts the appearance of temporal continuity sustained by tradition. What is passed on in tradition is a manner of passing on as such in the form of a covering over or 25 forgetting, not merely of what has been, but what might have been otherwise.
Sterile, (almost) contemporary, the siblings choose not the past but themselves as an origin that cannot give rise to a future: they attempt to inhabit a perpetual present. By dying into the book they themselves have written, a book born of their deaths that do not take place, they seek to achieve a (rather literal) literary immortality. “Poetic and cosmopolitan,”115 they transcend all boundaries, spatial and temporal, national and political. ”116 What Nabokov, and Van, want is to penetrate the ec-stasis and timelessness that the work of art always forsakes in its temporal rhythms.