It is customary now to quote Susan Sontag when praising W.G. Sebald, but perhaps the earliest and most prescient notice of Sebald’s promise came from Gabriel Josipovici, the British novelist, playwright, and critic. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Some interesting thoughts on The Rings of Saturn over at Vertigo:
Within a few sentences, however, Sebald makes a most remarkable turn by likening the hard labor of the weavers with that of “scholars and writers with whom they had much in common.” . . . And so there, in a revealing metaphor drawn from silk weaving, Sebald has described the doubt that plagues writers, who weave with words that are infinitely more gossamer than silk. It’s not hard to imagine that Sebald is speaking personally here. Remember that at the very beginning of The Rings of . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The TLS has published the text of Will Self’s recent lecture on W.G. Sebald. Required reading, if, like me, you’re capable of falling down in admiration over a page of Sebald’s prose.
Here’s a little bit of it:
Ours is an era intoxicated by its capacity to reproduce history technologically, in an instantaneous digitization of all that has happened. But far from tempering our ability to politicize history, this seems to spur both individuals and regimes on to still greater tendentiousness. Among modern philosophers Baudrillard understood this development the best, and foresaw the deployment of symbolic events alongside . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I guess me and Terry from the blog Vertigo have some odd mind-meld currently working, since we both discovered on Sunday that Random House will be publishing W.G. Sebald's essay collection A Place in the Country at some point in the future.
The proof is on the copyright page of Robert Walser's novel The Tanners, recently published by New Directions, which includes a 37-page essay on Walser by Sebald. Said essay is from said collection, and is duly noted on the copyright page. Amazon doesn't list the collection online, which likely means that it won't be available . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Nice discussion at The Valve of The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn:
This extraordinary book, at its simplest level, is a more or less chronological account of Mendelsohn’s quest to learn the fate of his great-uncle Schmiel (Sam) Jager, his wife Ester, and their four daughters, Lorka (b. 1920), Frydka (b. 1922), Ruchele (b. 1925), and Bronia (b. 1929?). From early in his childhood Mendesohn knows where his relatives lived, in the Polish town of Bolechow, and he knows that they died during the Holocaust, but beyond this he has only fragments of information, from stories half-heard . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Just as I'm finishing up my first reading of Vertigo, New Directions has made available guides to The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn. (via Vertigo)
Once I finish Vertigo (likely this evening), I will only have one more Sebald novel remaining to me, The Emigrants. Few authors will have left me more disappointed upon exhausting their novels than Sebald, although I find it impossible to believe that a second reading of The Rings of Saturn won't prove at least as good as the first.
I say this for two reasons. First, because . . . continue reading, and add your comments
At TQC we've just published an interview with Jonathan Tel, whose new book, The Beijing of Possibilities, is getting favorable comparison to Sebald and Calvino.
Terry at the blog Vertigo discusses his efforts to secure an ARC of Sebald’s novel with the same name:
New Directions published the first American edition of Vertigo sometime in 2000 (the New York Times reviewed it June 11, 2000). More than a year later, when they finally decided to release a soft cover edition, New Directions seems to have sent out an unknown number of advance promotional copies to promote the forthcoming soft cover version – using copies of the hard cover edition. They simply took a jacket-less hard cover copy, slapped a small . . . continue reading, and add your comments
In the context of a couple of prior art exhibitions, Vertigo discusses yet another art exhibition built upon the literature of W.G. Sebald and entitled "Altermodern":
Usually an exhibition begins with a mental image with which we need to reconnect, and whose meanings constitute a basis for discussion with the artists. The research that has preceded the Triennial 2009, however, had its origins in two elements: the idea of the archipelago, and the writings of a German émigré to the UK, Winfred Georg Sebald.
The definition of "altermodern" ("what comes after the postmodern") as quoted . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Andrew Seal makes some interesting commentary on how images function to break up the text in Sebald's works:
If we can think of the long paragraphs as a way of quickening (or lulling) the eye, the images' precise positions on the page come to acquire a great deal of significance, as they do redirect and possibly refocus the eye, and therefore the attention and the mental process of the reader. Because there are precious few paragraph breaks in Austerlitz, the interruptions of these images are made more noticeable, and begin to assume (at . . . continue reading, and add your comments