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Der Zusammenhang von Krieg, Stadt und Erinnerung bei Proust und Céline


Klinkert, Thomas (2023). Der Zusammenhang von Krieg, Stadt und Erinnerung bei Proust und Céline. In: Hufnagel, Henning; Klinkert, Thomas; Müller, Olaf. Stadt − Krieg − Literatur. Stadt und Urbanität unter den Bedingungen des Krieges 1914–1945. Berlin: De Gruyter, 79-98.

Abstract

This article examines traces in the works of Proust and Céline that allow conclusions to be drawn about the change in individual and collective memory
caused by the catastrophe of the First World War. This change can be described in the works of these authors in the context of the metropolis of Paris as a site of observation. In Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, the insertion of the episode of the First World War in the last volume Le Temps retrouvé creates a new view of the social order and the memory associated with it. The inscription of the war into the text corresponds with death, which forms the antithesis of the poetics of memory, leaving its unmistakable traces especially at the end of the novel. In Céline’s novel, on the other hand, the First World War is the starting point of the narrative: Voyage au bout de la nuit begins with the blunt portrayal of the horrors of war from the experiential perspective of the first-person narrator Bardamu. He later finds himself in a hospital in Paris, where he and his comrades convey the war to the Parisian public through narratives and fictional exaggerations. A side glance at the novel fragment Guerre, published posthumously in 2022, completes the analysis. In the works of both authors, war has a central poetological function, since it is associated with processes of experiencing, observing, remembering, and narrating. By making such processes visible, these texts reflect on their own status as novels of memory in a time characterized by an epochal rupture.

Abstract

This article examines traces in the works of Proust and Céline that allow conclusions to be drawn about the change in individual and collective memory
caused by the catastrophe of the First World War. This change can be described in the works of these authors in the context of the metropolis of Paris as a site of observation. In Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, the insertion of the episode of the First World War in the last volume Le Temps retrouvé creates a new view of the social order and the memory associated with it. The inscription of the war into the text corresponds with death, which forms the antithesis of the poetics of memory, leaving its unmistakable traces especially at the end of the novel. In Céline’s novel, on the other hand, the First World War is the starting point of the narrative: Voyage au bout de la nuit begins with the blunt portrayal of the horrors of war from the experiential perspective of the first-person narrator Bardamu. He later finds himself in a hospital in Paris, where he and his comrades convey the war to the Parisian public through narratives and fictional exaggerations. A side glance at the novel fragment Guerre, published posthumously in 2022, completes the analysis. In the works of both authors, war has a central poetological function, since it is associated with processes of experiencing, observing, remembering, and narrating. By making such processes visible, these texts reflect on their own status as novels of memory in a time characterized by an epochal rupture.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Romance Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:470 Latin & Italic languages
450 Italian, Romanian & related languages
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism
460 Spanish & Portuguese languages
410 Linguistics
440 French & related languages
Language:French
Date:6 November 2023
Deposited On:11 Jan 2024 11:35
Last Modified:11 Jan 2024 11:38
Publisher:De Gruyter
Series Name:Spectrum Literaturwissenschaft
Number:75
ISSN:1860-210X
ISBN:9783110733921
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110733921-003
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: German
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)