The Paradox of the Memoir in Will Selfs Walking to Hollywood and W. G. Sebalds The Rings of Saturn

Martin Gleghorn


Focusing on W. G. Sebalds 1995 work The Rings of Saturn and Will Selfs 2010 work Walking to Hollywood, this essay examines the ways in Sebald and Self portray the memoir as a genre of writing that is necessary on a personal level, despite the fact that they are both notably conscious of the fact that the act of charting their experiences is an inherently futile one. For both writers, this futility is the logical end product of the combination of entrapment and isolation that characterises modern existence. In turn, this paper will analyse the various historical, cultural, psychological and physical factors that catalyse such melancholy for Sebald and Self, and in discussing these factors aims to come full circle by uncovering why it is that the need to document ones life experiences becomes such an essential one.


W. G. Sebald; Will Self; Ecocriticism; Memoir; Memory

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