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W. G. Sebald - A Critical Companion

Edited by J .J. Long, Anne Whitehead

Paperback i (Printed to Order)
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Likened to Proust, to Günter 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. Now available in paperback, this first collection to appear in English provides a thorough assessment of his achievement through newly commissioned essays by leading international scholars, offering interdisciplinary perspectives on Sebald's work.

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A Note on References and Translations
W. G. Sebald Chronology
Part I: Contexts
1. J. J. Long and Anne Whitehead, Introduction
2. George Szirtes, Meeting Austerlitz
3. Martin Swales, Theoretical Reflections on the Work of W. G. Sebald
Part II: Landscape and Nature
4.Greg Bond, On the Misery of Nature and the Nature of Misery
5. Colin Riordan, Ecocentrism in Sebald's After Nature
6. Simon Ward, Ruins and Poetics in the Work of W.G. Sebald
Part III: Travel and Walking
7. John Beck, Reading Room: Erosion and Sedimentation in Sebald's Suffolk
8. Massimo Leone, Textual Wanderings: A Vertiginous Reading of W. G. Sebald
9. John Zilcosky, Sebald's Uncanny Travels, or the Impossibility of Being Lost
Part IV: Intertextuality and Intermediality
10. Martin Klebes, Infinite Journey: From Kafka to Sebald
11. Russell Kilbourn, Architecture and Cinema: The Representation of Memory in Austerlitz
12. Carolin Duttlinger, Traumatic Photographs: Remembrance and the Technical Media in W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz
Part V: Haunting, Trauma, Memory
13. Wilfried Wilms, Taboo and Repression in On the Natural History of Destruction
14. Jan Ceuppens, Seeing Things: Spectres and Angels in W.G. Sebald's Prose Fiction
15. Maya Barzilai, Facing the Past and the Female Spectre in The Emigrants
Notes on Contributors

About the Author

J.J. Long is Professor of German at the University of Durham. He has published widely on twentieth-century literature, and is the author of The Novels of Thomas Bernhard (2001). His current research concerns the relationship between photography and narrative.

Anne Whitehead is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University, UK. She is the author of Trauma Fiction (Edinburgh, 2004) and Memory: New Critical Idiom (Routledge, 2009). She has co-edited The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (Edinburgh, 2016), Theories of Memory: A Reader (Edinburgh, 2007) and W. G. Sebald: A Critical Companion (Edinburgh, 2004), as well as a special issue of Feminist Theory on feminism and affect. She has published articles on contemporary literature in a range of journals, including Modern Fiction Studies, Textual Practice, and Contemporary Literature.


Along with its comprehensive bibliography, this will be an enlightening and useful guide as readers wander with Sebald across his bleak composite landscapes.
Sebald demonstrates that literature can be, literally, indispensable. He was one by whom literature continues to live.
- Susan Sontag
These astute and critically reflective essays provide a wide-ranging consideration of the literary innovation and intellectual complexity of Sebald's explorations of history, culture and memory. The collection also highlights, through highly sophisticated and subtle readings that bring together trauma studies, psychoanalysis, and poststructuralist thought, the broad significance of Sebald's provocative engagement with the traumatic histories of WWII and its aftermath.
- Cathy Caruth, author of ‘Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History’
Together with their contributors the editors have set a new standard for the rapidly evolving scholarship on Sebald. This will be an indispensable volume for years to come.
The Companion provides a wide-ranging and accurate picture of the main debates concerning Sebald scholarship at present, and also provides refreshing perspectives on a writer who has received huge attention in recent years. The contributions are both scholarly and highly readable, and provide the reader with an entertaining and informed window on the world of Sebald research. It is of direct relevance for anyone interested in Sebald, and further, for anyone interested in the current academic discourses around collective and individual memory, media, post-memory, and trauma.
- Zeitschrift fur Rezensionen zur germanistischen Literaturwissenschaft