Through an examination of the representation of space and time in Jean-Paul Sartre's Les Séquestrés d'Altona and Noma Hiroshi's Shinkū Chitai, this article aims to contest the dominant historiographical claim that a radical break occurred after 1945. By paying close attention to what I identify as a formal concern with “sequestration,” I demonstrate that both of these postwar works stage and critique the concealment of historical content which diverges from the dominant historiography of the postwar period. Resisting the claim for a radical historical break, these works instead insist that a continuity in material conditions has been suppressed in service of accumulation under postwar capitalist hegemony. Through my analysis of the spatiotemporal formations in both works, “sequestration” then emerges as a compelling conceptual tool for its capacity to depict the content of concealed history and the confinement of the subject therein, and in its third meaning of “debt seizure,” the ways in which sequestration enables the expansion of post-war capitalism. As such, the representation of “sequestered history” by both Sartre and Noma is important not only for its insistence on the concealment of historical content, but also for the relation delineated between this concealment and the post-1945 economic formation.

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