The Undiscovered Country: New Book of Sebald Criticism

The Undiscovered Country: W. G. Sebald and the Poetics of Travel. Sounds quite good, but it will set you back $90.

W.G. Sebald (1944-2001) is the most prominent and perhaps the most enigmatic German-language writer of recent decades. His books have had a more profound impact outside the German-speaking world than those of any other. His innovative approach to writing brings to the fore concerns that are central to contemporary culture: the relationship between memory, history, and trauma; the experience of exile and our relation to place; and the role of literature (and photography) in the remembrance of the past. This collection of essays places travel at the center of Sebald’s poetics and shows how his appropriation of travel in its myriad historical and cultural forms — the Grand Tour, the pilgrimage, the walking vacation, travel as escape — works to craft intertextual narratives in which the pursuit of individual life stories is mapped onto a wider European cultural history of loss and destruction. Following these cues, the contributors wander the various modalities of travel in Sebald’s writing in order to discover how walking, flying, sojourning and other kinds of peregrination inform the relationship between writing, reading, memory, and place in Sebald’s work. At the same time, the essays uncover in innovative ways the affinities between Sebald and literary travelers like Bruce Chatwin, Franz Kafka, Adalbert Stifter, Christoph Ransmayr, and Joseph Conrad. Contributors: Christian Moser, J. J. Long, Carolin Duttlinger, Martin Klebes, Alan Itkin, James Martin, Brad Prager, Neil Christian Pages, Margaret Bruzelius, Barbara Hui, Dora Osborne, Peter Arnds.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Self on Sebald The English Center of PEN has published some notes from a talk Will Self gave on W.G. Sebald, loosely based on the novel he (Self)...
  2. How Sebald Explains Modernity: J.J. Long’s W.G. Sebald In the introduction to his book on Sebald, W.G. Sebald, J.J. Long rather amorphously states that his intention is to discuss how Sebald’s works deal...
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  4. Sebald Influence; Highly Rec’d Book This fall NYRB is publishing a book titled Rock Crystal by Adalbert Stifter, and it seems to come well-recommended. NYRB reminds me that Gabriel Josipovici...
  5. Reading Around Sebald With this post on Kay Ryan’s poem dedicated to Sebald, the blog Vertigo reminds me that though the quantity of Sebald available to us is...

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