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Mobilisations of Mediation and Aporias: Reading Trauma as Metaphor in Ulrike Draesner's Sieben Spruenge vom Rand der Welt with Caruth, Derrida and Agamben

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Teresa Ludden



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ludden T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: German Life and Letters

Year: 2019

Volume: 72

Issue: 4

Pages: 443-468

Online publication date: 12/09/2019

Acceptance date: 29/05/2019

Date deposited: 20/11/2019

ISSN (print): 0016-8777

ISSN (electronic): 1468-0483

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1111/glal.12243

Notes: This article analyses Draesner’s 2014 novel through the concepts of traumatic memory and relations between the unsayable and speech. It argues through Cathy Caruth’s and Jacques Derrida’s poststructuralist critical theory that we can understand the tension in the text between mediation and lost origins as a discourse on historiography and the archive, as well as reflection on the ethics of writing the embodied experiences of others’ trauma. Through strategic mobilisations of the ideas of erasure, deferral, witness, and the non-coincidence of language and the body, the text constructs multifaceted narratives of ‘ungraspable’ trauma centring on events which are constituted by their disappearance, such as forced sterilisation and the missed encounter with the death of a character killed while fleeing his home in Silesia in 1945. The foregrounding of Flucht und Vertreibung hides another aspect of trauma – that of the persecution of the ill and disabled under National Socialism. Giorgio Agamben’s philosophy is used to argue that the text can bear witness to these silences but given the all-pervasive mediatised trauma culture – of which the text willingly partakes with its aesthetics of mediation, self-reflexivity and designated website – the danger is that silences are drowned out.


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