In Ransmayr's travel account Atlas eines angstlichen Mannes the ordered panoramic view of the world encountered in a world trip, the continuous movement in space away from the home port and back to the home port is fracturing. These fractured pieces are contemplative moments in which the restrained gaze allows for the objects - people as well as animals - to develop. Every new image is introduced by the apocalyptic sentence I saw... separated from the next episode through a decisive cut in which the movement of the traveller from one place to the next is getting lost. The world trip is becoming static. The 17 episodes of the voyage are turning into postcards or maps of an atlas. The travelling subject transforms into the eye or the resonating instrument where that which is observed and overheard can be captured. But the title Atlas eines angstlichen Mannes also announces that the quiet attention and the benevolent reserve of the observer is motivated by an underlying anxiety. The observer gazes like the prophet in the Book of Revelation at that which is present and that which will happen in the future (Rev, 1,19-20), the coming catastrophes, which one needs to record. The initial motivation of the process of observing and recording in Ransmayr s text establishes a link to W.G. Sebald, since both Ransmayr s as well as Sebald s narrator produce and interpret the material and immaterial images; the sombre photographs which are inserted into the text and the unsettling memories, which are testimony of past catastrophes. One might describe the writing of Sebald as a melancholic bricolage , a composition of found objects which refer to the various intertexts (see Ohlschlager/Niehaus 2006, 9).
|Translated title of the contribution||Anxious Gaze - Christoph Ransmayr's Atlas eines angstlichen Mannes and W. G. Sebalds Die Ringe des Saturn|
|Pages (from-to)||223 - 237|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|