Draper is thrilled to announce that our own Professor Alan Itkin was recently awarded a Center for the Humanities Grant-in-Aid to support the publication of his book, Underworlds of Memory: W.G. Sebald’s Epic Journeys Through the Past.
Professor Itkin’s book explores the afterlife of classical epic poetry in the works of the late twentieth-century German writer W. G. Sebald and the German-Jewish post-Holocaust writers who influenced him. The book argues that classical epics are self-reflexive monuments of cultural memory, that is they help to commemorate a culture’s common history while asking their audience to reflect on this shared form of memory and the role literature plays in it. Its central thesis is that Sebald uses epic tropes to frame his literary works as “modern epics,” that is as similar self-reflexive monuments of cultural memory, but ones suited to the traumatic and complex events of the modern era.