Lektüren von Jahrestagen
Uwe Johnson's 'Anniversaries' ('Jahrestage') is a project in narrative appropriation of the past by an individual subject. The problem of memory justifies a comparison with Proust's 'A la recherche du temps perdu'. The method applied to making this process of understanding itself understandable is the hermeneutic reconstruction of the evolution of the text from its documentary sources, published here for the first time, and an interpretation of the narrative techniques employed. In ten separate analyses the chapters or 'anniversaries' stand revealed as experimental recountings of biographically acquired insights. In contrast to the customary classification of the work as realistic, it becomes evident that what 'Anniversaries' does is to use the formal repertory of classic literary modernism to recount history in story form and in this way to challenge established historiography to rethink its position.
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