The first Sebald that I read was The Rings of Saturn. This was in the spring of 2006.
Back then I didn’t like writing in my books, so I used these sticky colored tape things to mark passages I found interesting.
After that was On the Natural History of Destruction. There was no real reason I read this one next—I just happened to find it used at Moe’s Books, and I took it to Mexico with me.
I read it in late 2006. You can see my ticket for the anthropological museum of Xalapa, Veracruz, which has a magnificent collection of enormous Toltec heads, among many other items. Definitely a Sebaldian location. Incidentally, that entry fee is in Mexican pesos, not dollars, so it came out to about $4.00, not $40.00.
After that it was Austerlitz. I recall reading this in a subletted apartment in Berkeley right after I had returned form Latin America, while writing an essay on Bioy and Kafka.
It was about this time I read my first work of Sebald criticism, J.J. Long’s W.G. Sebald: Image, Archive, Modernity.
And some marginalia.
Than came Vertigo, one of the first books of many, many I was to read on my commutes on the Bay Area Rapid Transit.
And some marginalia from that one.
Shortly thereafter, I think it was around the spring of 2011, I came upon these two works of Sebald criticism. The bottom one, Searching for Sebald, is particularly special. It’s about 600 pages in length, is full of very interesting photos, mixed media pieces, essays, and interview. It even includes this:
The infamous photo taken where Sebald had his fatal car accident. Some say that the patters in the smoke resemble Sebald’s face, particularly his trademark mustache. (This photo was later discussed in the Sebald documentary, Patience (After Sebald), which I viewed in spring 2012.)
About that time I also happened onto this book: Unrecounted, which combines portraits of eyes with brief poetry. Famously, Javier Marías is included in here:
I discuss this briefly in an essay I wrote on Marías.
It was after Unrecounted that I acquired After Nature, Sebald’s first book, and Campo Santo, which was the first book of Sebald’s that I ever heard of, via a review published in the San Francisco Chronicle upon the book’s release in spring 2005.
The latter I bought at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris in May 2013, shortly after presenting a paper on Bolaño at a conference in Warwick, England.
All that leaves is The Emigrants, which I have not yet read. This was actually the first book of Sebald’s that I ever purchased, but I did so as a gift. Being as much of a Sebaldian as I am, I know I will have to read this one day, but I’ll also be a bit sorry to see any unread full-length Sebald departing from my life.
I would be interested if anyone is aware of any other worthwhile books of Sebald criticism.