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»Narrative Beginnings and Expectations in Testimony and Fiction: Primo Levi Compared to Samuel Steinmann and W. G. Sebald «

Jakob Lothe

Artiklen er på 20 sider og findes
i Expectations.

In »Narrative Beginnings and Expectations in Testimony and Fiction«, Jakob Lothe discusses reader assumptions and author intentions across the fiction/non-fiction divide by looking at the beginnings of two testimonies and one fictional narrative. The two chosen testimonies are Primo Levi’s first-person narrative If This Is a Man (2003, org. 1947) and Samuel Steinmann’s first-person narrative as recorded in the book Tidsvitner: Fortellinger fra Auschwitz og Sachsenhausen (2006). Both use narrative in order to present and rework their experience of the Holocaust. The fictional narrative is W.G. Sebald’s novel

Austerlitz (2001) that gives a fictionalized witness of the Holocaust. The article argues for the advantages of viewing narrative beginnings and expectations as closely linked to narrative motivation and to the need for narrative communication between author and reader. In the conclusion Lothe throws additional light on fiction’s capacity to reflect on the Holocaust at a time when the disappearance of the last witness of the historical event is rapidly approaching and fiction’s capacity to be a representative not only of what ‘might occur’, but also a belated witness of what did happen.