chapter  10
“The Roche Limit”: Digression and Return in W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn
Pages 17

Literary fi ction concerned with the representation of traumatic events has frequently used form to evoke the intrusive return of memory that characterises trauma. Cathy Caruth suggests that the possibility exists for literature to give voice to traumatic experience through the wound (2-3), and Roger Luckhurst identifi es such a tendency in a number of texts when he argues that there exists “an implicit aesthetic for the trauma novel,” which draws on traumatic dissociation (87). Both Caruth and Luckhurst thus posit a model in which a central trauma exerts a type of gravitational pull on the rest of the narrative, producing inward-oriented texts in which the return and repetition that characterise traumatic memory are enacted by the formal properties of the text.