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Showing posts from October, 2010

‘Personal Belongings’ and ‘Austerlitz’. Diana Raznovich & W.G. Sebald

Personal Belongings’ (A one act play/monologue) by Argentine writer Diana Raznovich and ‘Austerlitz’ by the late German novelist, W. G. Sebald share common themes of dictatorship, exile, immigration (arrival and departures) and the maintenance of ‘facades’ of the personal, architectural and political. Both texts examine the ordinary life encased in extraordinary circumstances, panic driven angst located in the mundane. Both texts share protagonists who lack knowledge of their past. 
Where they’ve come from, where they’re going can only be established through naming the world around them either with or without a witness.
In ‘Austerlitz’ it is whilst visiting the city of Antwerp (Belgium) that the omniscient narrator of the story finds himself imbued in Kafka-esque presentiments of being unwell.  From the opening pages with black and white photographs, eyes of both animals and humans remind us of ‘the fixed, inquiring gaze found in certain painters and philosophers who seek to penetrat…