SEBALD AND HOMOSEXUALITY:RE-WRITING ITS INVISIBLE HISTORY

“…it was precisely Casement’s homosexuality that sensitized him to the continuing oppression, exploitation, enslavement and destruction, across the borders of social class and race, of those who were furthest from the centres of power”(Michael Hulse: translation of Sebald’s “The Rings of Saturn”).

The context here is that Sebald is stating that Casement’s homosexuality/gayness was conviently ignored, or even deliberately written out of history, because of the threat that would allegedly pose to his status as an Irish martyr.

This is one of three major homosexual-themed(HE uses that medicalised, I ackowledge, word)narratives and meditations in his books. The others are:

1. The story of Ambros Adelwarth and his lover Cosmo-part 3 of “The Emmigrants”.

2. “Dr. K takes the waters at Riva”,section 3 of “Vertigo”.

I shall analyse, and reflect upon, both of these, in more detail, later; but the fact that thay have largely(though not wholly)been ignored, or sidelined as merely tangential issues, by most scholars, only RE-INFORCES Sebald’s own point: that these people are written OUT of hegemonic history(ie. history written by heterosexual{or those “passing” as heterosexual}white men. His introduction of his usual blurred sepia photos(eg in relationship to Cosmo and Ambros) runs as a further counterpoint or, in the musical AND literal sense, VOICING, of these dead voices from the past.

Of course,Sebald  is even more greatly concerned with the marginalisation and total destruction of Jewish people, especially in the concentration camps and pre-death camps(though the closest he gets to the concentration camps themselves is Theriesenstadt, the pre death-camp “village”, in “Austerlitz”: this is a ineffably complex subject, which I am certainly not MYSELF ignoring, but his travelling around this central emptiness of the subject of the camps is a matter that has, thankfully, been well addressed by scholars and sebaldians generally; and, for now anyway, without at all minimising the horrors of this area, i wish to concentrate on this OTHER area of invisibilisation(gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender people were also sent to, and killed in, the camps, solely on account of their “deviancy”)

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Published by: decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)

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