The Punctum in History: Representing the M(other)’s Death in Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
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
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