This article aims to discuss how Handke’s autobiographical narrative, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (1972), stages the writer’s literary project through a neutral account of his mother’s suicide. Telling the story of his mother, who witnessed the Second World War and the nazi regime, Handke narrates the traumatic history of an Austrian town along with his own suffering. Concentrating on his attempt at a distanced language and his questioning of history as an objective fact, the article suggests that Handke’s perception of death and mourning parallels his understanding of the acts of writing and reading. Drawing particularly on Barthes’s concept of punctum and Lacan’s concept of tuché and engaging in Handke's representation of personal and political sides of the history of a European town in an unusual period, the article speculates on the uncanny effect of reading, which effectively turns identification into transformation.
Demir Atay, Hivren.
"The Punctum in History: Representing the M(other)’s Death in Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
This text has been double-blind peer reviewed by 2+1 experts in the field.
The above text, published by Purdue University Press ©Purdue University, has been downloaded 367 times as of 02/26/24.
American Studies Commons, Comparative Literature Commons, Education Commons, European Languages and Societies Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Other Arts and Humanities Commons, Other Film and Media Studies Commons, Reading and Language Commons, Rhetoric and Composition Commons, Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons, Television Commons, Theatre and Performance Studies Commons