Activity: Talk or presentation › Talk or presentation at a conference
Among the French and German citywalkers, W.G. Sebald has become increasingly important. The cities located in his novels, Vertiges (1990), Les Anneaux de Saturne (1995) and Austerlitz (2001) deal with topics such as fluidity and melancholy. At the same time, these locations remain attached to visual relics which Bertrand Westphal has called réalèmes (subway tickets, citymaps, pictures, drawings etc). In line with Westphal’s investigations, this article is not so much concentrating on the author’s point of view. This article will examine, regarding the transport-axis connecting Antwerp and Brussels, how city-centres relate to the neighbouring periphery during Second World War and especially to Breendonk, a historical detention camp for prisoners of war. In order to measure the range of Westphal’s concepts, the point of view of Sebald’s main character, Austerlitz, will have to confront the endogène perspective of two prisoners, Paul Lévy and Adrien Hendrickx, who left some diaries and were both confined in Breendonk at the beginning of the war.