Abstract

abstract:

Despite the centrality of rubble in discussions of postwar culture, the term has remained undertheorized, and rubble and ruin are often used interchangeably. This essay offers a reading of ruin and rubble through the analogy to memoir, or retrospective narration, and diary, or presentist narration. I analyze how major authors of Germany's rubble years incorporated diary-like prose techniques, especially a presentist temporality, the position of an eyewitness-narrator, and forms that resist narrative closure. Works by Hans Erich Nossack, Arno Schmidt, and Wolfgang Koeppen use rubble forms to narrate the present as lived history in the ongoing aftermath of catastrophic events.

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