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Lateness and Modern European Literature$
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Ben Hutchinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767695.001.0001

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Epilogue: The Vertigo of Lateness

Epilogue: The Vertigo of Lateness

(p.330) Epilogue: The Vertigo of Lateness
Lateness and Modern European Literature

Ben Hutchinson

Oxford University Press

The Epilogue summarizes the argument of the book in terms of its reconception of modern European literature as ‘late’. Placing this argument in the context of both late modernism and postmodernism—as well as that of the postwar emergence of comparative literature as a discipline—it focuses on the work of W.G. Sebald as an example of the ‘vertigo’ of the contemporary perspective. Haunted by modernity, Sebald’s dense prose style suggests not just the writing of lateness, but also writing as lateness; it thus raises the stakes of Adorno’s definition of late works as ‘catastrophes’ beyond the individual artist’s life (late style), beyond even a particular epoch (late modernism), to modernity as a whole (lateness).

Keywords:   lateness, late modernism, late style, postmodernism, W.G. Sebald, vertigo

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