The Spectral Evidence of Photography in Rachel Seiffert’s The Dark Room: An Album of Fractured Lives

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Title: The Spectral Evidence of Photography in Rachel Seiffert’s The Dark Room: An Album of Fractured Lives
Authors: Martínez Alfaro, María Jesús
Keywords: Seiffert, Rachel | The Dark Room | Holocaust literature | Photography | Pictures
Knowledge Area: Filología Inglesa
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Filología Inglesa
Citation: Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses. 2013, 26: 259-270. doi:10.14198/raei.2013.26.18
Abstract: This article focuses on Rachel Seiffert’s The Dark Room (2001), which I place in the context of what Froma I. Zeitlin (2006) regards as an emerging trend in Holocaust literature: fictional stories that move away from the victims and focus instead on the victimisers, as well as on the impact and legacy of the Nazi period on average Germans. The Dark Room consists of three independent but related stories, entitled after each German protagonist, and taking place in Germany at different moments of the 20th century. It is my aim to analyse the themes that connect these three stories —loss, guilt, shame, secrets and deception, traumatic awakenings and the fall from innocence, the crisis of identity, etc.— and to relate them to the motif already suggested by the work’s title: photography. Pictures recur insistently throughout the book’s pages and, like the past, they constitute a spectral presence in Seiffert’s novella triptych, where photographs emerge as a vehicle for exploring the problems posed by photographic evidence. Thus, I argue, the thread that ultimately weaves the stories together has to do with each protagonist’s negative epiphany, that is to say, his/her painful discovery that, in spite of all that a picture can be said to capture or show, the truth turns out to be disturbingly absent, lying in an unreachable elsewhere, always beyond the frame.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/36340 | http://dx.doi.org/10.14198/raei.2013.26.18
ISSN: 0214-4808 | 2171-861X (Internet)
DOI: 10.14198/raei.2013.26.18
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Peer Review: si
Appears in Collections:Revistas - Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses - 2013, No. 26

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