Wolfram Nitsch is Professor in Romance Studies at the University of Cologne. He received a doctor's degree in 1991 in and qualified as a lecturer in 1998 at the University of Munich. He has written a book on language and violence in Claude Simon (»Sprache und Gewalt bei Claude Simon,« 1992) and a study on the role of play and games in the Spanish drama of the Golden Age (»Barocktheater als Spielraum,« 2000; Spanish translation 2018); furthermore, he is the co-author of a book on European comedy (»Komödie,« 2013). He has also published articles on various modern French and Argentine novelists as well as on French cinema. Recently, he directed a research project on the poetics and aesthetics of the urban wasteland (›terrain vague‹). Currently, he works on a study concerning the effects of transportation in literature and film.
Life in machines. Autobiography and technology in the novels of Claude Simon
The novels of French Nobel Prize winner Claude Simon present a cyclical autobiographical narrative in so far as they constantly return to some decisive moments of the author’s life related to the experience of war and prison camp. In this context, technologies play a crucial role, especially media of transportation and communication which give the protagonist an insight into his social position and his individual formation, but also embody different periods of his existence. Due to his constant use of such technical objects, echoed by the narrator’s frequent use of technical metaphors for perception, memory and writing, the narrated life marked by violent breaks is described as a life with and in machines that are essential for the process of becoming a writer. This nexus between autobiography and technology in Simon's work will be explored in the light of current reflections on the cultural impact of technical practices (Latour) and technical objects (Simondon).