Over a decade after his death W.G. Sebald remains a major presence in world literature. This lively and accessible collection offers a series of different illuminations on why Sebald's work continues to fascinate.
After Nature is the very first literary work by W. G. Sebald, author of Austerlitz After Nature by W.G. Sebald, author of Austerlitz, is his first literary work and the start of his highly personal and brilliant writing journey. In this long prose poem, Sebald introduces many of the themes that he explores in his subsequent books. Focusing on the conflict between man and nature, each of the three distinct parts of After Nature give centre stage to a different character from a different century - the last being W.G. Sebald himself. 'A deeply intelligent book, but also a marvellously warm, exciting and compassionate one' Andrew Motion 'A début of rare poetic grandeur' Irish Times 'Astonishing writing. A true poet at work' Evening Standard 'Graceful, allusive, serious, but also immensely readable' Sunday Telegraph 'When you read Sebald you are transported to another realm' Literary Review W . G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgäu, Germany, in 1944 and died in December 2001. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and Manchester. In 1996 he took up a position as an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and settled permanently in England in 1970. He was Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Unrecounted, For Years Now and A Place in the Country. His selected poetry is published in a volume called Across the Land and the Water.
W.G. Sebald's books are sui generis hybrids of fiction, travelogue, autobiography and historical expos», in which a narrator (both Sebald and not Sebald) comments on the quick blossoming of natural wonders and the long deaths that come of human atrocities. All his narratives are punctuated with images--murky photographs, architectural plans, engravings, paintings, newspaper clippings--inserted into the prose without captions and often without obvious connection to the words that surround them. This important volume includes a rare 1993 interview called "'But the written word is not a true document': A Conversation with W.G. Sebald about Photography and Literature," in which Sebald talks exclusively about his use of photographs. It contains some of Sebald's most illuminating and poetic remarks about the topic yet. In it, he discusses Barthes, the photograph's "appeal," the childhood image of Kafka, family photographs, and even images he never used in his writings. In addition, Searching for Sebald positions Sebald within an art-historical tradition that begins with the Surrealists, continues through Joseph Beuys and blossoms in the recent work of Christian Boltanski and Gerhard Richter, and tracks his continuing inspiration to artists such as Tacita Dean and Helen Mirra. An international roster of artists and scholars unpacks the intricacies of his unique method. Seventeen theoretical essays approach Sebald through the multiple filters of art history (Krauss), film studies (Kluge), cultural theory (Benjamin), psychoanalysis (Freud), and especially photographic history and theory (Barthes, Kracauer), and 17 modern and contemporary art projects are read through a Sebaldian filter. If Sebald's artistic output acts as a touchstone for new critical theory being written on "post-medium" photographic practices, Seaching for Sebald suggests a model for new investigations in the burgeoning field of visual studies.
This book situates the film-maker Patrick Keiller alongside the writers W.G. Sebald and Iain Sinclair as the three leading voices in 'English psychogeography', offering new insights to key works including London, The Rings of Saturn, and Lights Out for the Territory. Excavating social and political contexts while also providing plentiful close analysis, it examines the cultivation of a distinctive 'affective' mode or sensibility especially attuned to the cultural anxieties of the twentieth century's closing decades. Landscape and Subjectivity explores motifs including essayism, the reconciliation of creativity with market forces, and the foregrounding of an often agonised or melancholic. It asks whether the work can, collectively, be seen to constitute a 'critical theory of contemporary space' and suggests that Keiller, Sebald, and Sinclair's contributions represent a highly significant moment in English culture's engagement with landscape, environment, and itself. The book's analyses are fuelled by archival and topographical research and are responsive to various interdisciplinary contexts, including the tradition of the 'English Journey', the set of ideas associated with the 'spatial turn', critical theory, the so-called 'heritage debate', and more recent theorisation of the 'anthropocene'.
Exploring travellers' tales of wonder in contemporary literature, this study challenges a sensibility of disenchantment with travel. It reassesses travel writing as an aesthetically and ethically innovative form in contemporary international literature, and demonstrates the crucial role of wonder in the travel narratives of writers such as Bruce Chatwin, V.S. Naipaul, and W.G. Sebald. Their 'travellers' tales of wonder' are read as a challenge to the hubris of thinking the world too well known, and an invitation to encounter the world - including its most troubling histories - with a sense of wonder.
"Why do queer bachelors and homosexual desire haunt the works of the German writer W. G. Sebald (1944-2001)? In a series of readings of Sebald's major texts, from 'After Nature' to 'Austerlitz', Helen Finch's pioneering study shows that alternative masculinities subvert catastrophe in Sebald's works. From the schizophrenic poet Ernst Herbeck to the alluring shade of Kafka in Venice, the figure of the bachelor offers a form of resistance to the destructive course of history throughout Sebald's critical and literary writing. Sebald's poetics of homosexual desire trace a 'line of flight' away from the patriarchal and repressive order of German society, which, in Sebald's view, led to the disasters of Nazism. This study shows that the potential for subversion personified by Sebald's solitary males is essential for understanding his celebrated work, while also demonstrating the contribution that Sebald made to the German tradition of queer writing. Helen Finch is Academic Fellow in German at the University of Leeds."
Across the Land and the Water is a stunningly beautiful selection of poetry by W. G. Sebald. Across the Land and the Water brings together poems from throughout W. G. Sebald's life as well as additional works found after his death. Arranged chronologically, from his student days in the 1960s to the longer narratives he worked on in the 1980s, these poems are suffused by the themes which dominated Sebald's books. Here you will find subtle vignettes on nature and history, death and memory, journeys and landscapes, each short piece filled with insight, sensitivity and brilliance. 'An important book . . . full of things that are beautiful and fascinating' Andrew Motion, Guardian 'When you read Sebald you are transported to another realm. Reading him is a truly sublime experience' Literary Review 'Gracefully unsettling. The poems invest every landscape with an archaeologist's sense of the pain, toil and loss secreted in each layer of soil' Independent 'One of the most important writers of our time' A. S. Byatt 'Delightful' Economist 'Show a humane and complex intelligence and deserve a place next to Sebald's prose output' New Statesman W. G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgäu, Germany, in 1944 and died in December 2001. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and Manchester. In 1996 he took up a position as an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and settled permanently in England in 1970. He was Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Unrecounted, A Place in the Country.
W. G. Sebald was a literary phenomenon: a German literary scholar working in England, who took up creative writing out of dissatisfaction with German post-war letters. Within only a few years, his unique prose books made him one of the most celebrated authors of the late twentieth-century. Sebald died prematurely, aged 57, after the publication of his most celebrated prose fiction Austerlitz. This accessible critical introduction, written by a leading expert, highlights Sebald's double role as writer and academic. It discusses his oeuvre in the order in which his works were published in German in order to offer a deeper understanding of the original development of his literary writings. In addition to concise but incisive interpretations of the main publications, Schütte demonstrates how Sebald's critical writings (most of which still await translation) fed into his literary texts and concludes his study with a perceptive assessment of Sebald as a cult author.