Title

From Suffolk to Nanking: A Walking Tour of the Natural History of Destruction

Date

5-26-2016 9:15 AM

End Time

26-5-2016 9:30 AM

Location

WUC Columbia Room

Department

History

Session Chair

Patricia Goldsworthy-Bishop

Session Title

History Senior Thesis Presentations

Faculty Sponsor(s)

David Doellinger

Abstract

W. G. Sebald (1944-2001) is one of Germany’s best known modern writers, and his creative nonfiction works challenge traditional divisions of history and fiction. Sebald is known for his use of uncaptioned black and white illustrations in narratives that examine memory, unintentional legacy, history, and genocide, creating a signature that pushes the reader to see the past in new lights. His most historical work, The Rings of Saturn, was published in Germany in 1995 and is set in Suffolk, England in the year 1992. The narrator takes a physical walk around Suffolk, recounting ways in which destruction touched various locations in England, but the narrator’s memory is often sparked into recalling many instances of destruction throughout the globe and across the centuries, including the 19th century Taiping Rebellion in China, the 20th century Rape of Nanking, and the Holocaust in Croatia. In weaving centuries of international history into a travel narrative, Sebald becomes an advocate for social justice through the observance of history as it was and as it lives, empowering history in the process.

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May 26th, 9:15 AM May 26th, 9:30 AM

From Suffolk to Nanking: A Walking Tour of the Natural History of Destruction

WUC Columbia Room

W. G. Sebald (1944-2001) is one of Germany’s best known modern writers, and his creative nonfiction works challenge traditional divisions of history and fiction. Sebald is known for his use of uncaptioned black and white illustrations in narratives that examine memory, unintentional legacy, history, and genocide, creating a signature that pushes the reader to see the past in new lights. His most historical work, The Rings of Saturn, was published in Germany in 1995 and is set in Suffolk, England in the year 1992. The narrator takes a physical walk around Suffolk, recounting ways in which destruction touched various locations in England, but the narrator’s memory is often sparked into recalling many instances of destruction throughout the globe and across the centuries, including the 19th century Taiping Rebellion in China, the 20th century Rape of Nanking, and the Holocaust in Croatia. In weaving centuries of international history into a travel narrative, Sebald becomes an advocate for social justice through the observance of history as it was and as it lives, empowering history in the process.