An analysis of the functioning of photography in literature upon the basis of W.G. Sebald's novel 'Austerlitz', whose leading protagonist discovers, in the course of successive meetings with the narrator, the story of his life, marked by accompanying photographs of everyday objects, empty places, ruins of buildings, etc. Discussing critical texts on Sebald and an anthropological analysis of the photographic image by Hans Belting, the authoress proposed an expanded reflection, namely, that in this prose photographs witnessed the revelation of the trauma of the protagonist spinning the story, and became more of a source of fear, which he did not become aware of and which was caused by wartime experiences, than merely a transparent testimony of history. This does not pertain to the topics of the photographs, but to the photographic medium as such, whose characteristic property is to obliterate reality, to create a parallel world and thus to produce a trauma of the viewer, doomed to live in the imaginary world of reminiscences, offered in the photographs. Such a situation results directly in a sui generis compulsive repetition - as when the protagonist, whose memory is blocked by the photographic images, returns over and over again to the same photographs in a vain attempt to compose his own past out of pictures which, ex definitione, cannot create historical evidence.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.