W.G. Sebald: A Critical Companion
Jonathan James Long, Anne Whitehead
University of Washington Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 239 pages
Likened to Proust, Gunter Grass, and Virginia Woolf, W. G. Sebald (1944-2001) is one of the most important writers of our time, combining a wide readership with universal critical acclaim. Sebald's refracted and sometimes alienated views of both his native Germany and his adopted English homeland have had astonishing resonance in the German- and English-speaking worlds. In this first collection to appear in English, newly commissioned essays by leading international scholars offer interdisciplinary perspectives on Sebald's work, providing a thorough assessment of his achievement.
Sebald's texts deal with issues that lie at the very heart of contemporary culture: memory, exile, identity, representation, history, the Holocaust. His texts are hybrid in nature, mixing fiction, biography, historiography, travel writing, and memoir, and incorporating numerous photographic images. In response to this, W. G. Sebald: A Critical Companion focuses on the key areas of travel, intertextuality, nature, and memory.
Introductory chapters situate Sebald's work within the European literary tradition and within contemporary critical discourse. Individual chapters then draw on approaches from cultural and literary studies, including ecocriticism, trauma theory, and text-image studies, in order to explore aspects of Sebald's dazzling oeuvre. A comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources rounds off the volume, which will satisfy a growing need for a high-quality and up-to-date guide to Sebald's work for an English-speaking readership. The interdisciplinary nature of the Companion means that it will appeal not only to students and critics working on Sebald, but to anyone interested in contemporary culture.