chapter  13
Hauntings: W.G. Sebald as Travel Writer
ByGRAHAM HUGGAN
Pages 12

Cultural criticism, it has been suggested, is currently going through a “Gothic” period, characterized by an outpouring of often densely theoretical work on trauma, mourning, and various aspects of contemporary latecapitalist “wound culture”.1 “Spectrality”, particularly in connection with Jacques Derrida’s radically revisionist study Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International (1994), has become a key term within this Gothicized cultural-critical vocabulary. As Derrida speculates in Specters of Marx:

If there is something like spectrality, there are reasons to doubt . . . the border between the present, the actual or present reality of the present, and everything that can be opposed to it: absence, non-presence, none ectivity, inactuality, virtuality, or even the simulacrum in general.2