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Pandaemonium Germanicum

On-line version ISSN 1982-8837


PEREIRA, Vinícius Carvalho. Histories of Architecture or Architectures of History: reading Austerlitz, by W. G. Sebald. Pandaemonium ger. [online]. 2011, n.18, pp.100-120. ISSN 1982-8837.

In the literary tradition of the nineteenth century, romanesque images of architecture and interiors design were related to an attempt to copy reality directly, supposedly to elude the representative matter of language. However, in his novel entitled Austerlitz, W. G. Sebald uses these metaphors differently, with great ethical and aesthetical gains: from architectural lines and urban buildings, the character called Austerlitz, an expert on capitalist architecture, infers the structure of a horrid carnage, which grew to the catastrophic shoah. Behind instrumental reason and fascination for Enlightenment to its highest point, the capitalist city, like the pages of Sebald’s novel, immanently offers an oblique look at the destruction in the name of supposed purity, rationalism and order. Therefore, Sebald’s novel, by means of the architectural metaphor, reveals the horrid onslaught against German Jews in the twentieth century, but it does not provide readers with an aesthetics of evil, which would disturb the reflection against the astray path of humanity.

Keywords : architecture; Austerlitz; shoah; Nazism.

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