Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past
University of Chicago Press 2013
In his very recent work, Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past(University of Chicago Press, 2013), Amir Eshel presents us with a very interesting examination of what he refers to as “futurity” or literature’s ability to provide us with a way to access the past, rethink it, and move forward. Eshel’s work here can best be understood as part of the larger effort in literary studies to move beyond the tired and exceedingly fruitless lens of the hermeneutics of suspicion and the despairing chasm of postmodernity. As foci, Eshel examines postwar German literature and Hebrew literature particularly focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Overall, the portion of Futurity that continues to linger with me is Eshel’s beautiful ruminations on W.G. Sebald’s masterpiece, Austerlitz. Eshel’s reflections on Austerlitz encouraged me to pick up that novel once more and for this alone I highly encourage anyone interested in postwar German literature, Hebrew literature, and or the future and meaning of literary studies to give Eshel’s work a read.