Once a corollary of modernity, a response to innovation and acceleration, manifesting itself as decadence, pessimism, or an apocalyptic sense of living in an age nearing its end, lateness in our more recent—postmodern(ist), posthistorical, posttraumatic—times has been revaluated. No longer considered a cultural affliction, it has come to be viewed less as the inevitable condition of memory than, problematically, as a position of privilege from which those coming after can supposedly access the past in a way that eluded those who lived through it. This article looks at this reappraisal through literary reflections of and on lateness in post-Holocaust generations, on the side of the perpetrators and the persecuted. Drawing on Marcel Beyer's Kaltenburg (2008) and Doron Rabinovici's Andernorts (2010), it explores how recent perceptions of lateness appear to be anticipated by, and mirrored in, developments in German literature, specifically in the family novel.

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