The Emergence of Memory: Conversations with W.G. Sebald

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When German author W. G. Sebald died in a car accident at the age of fifty-seven, the literary world mourned the loss of a writer whose oeuvre it was just beginning to appreciate. Through published interviews with and essays on Sebald, award-winning translator and author Lynne Sharon Schwartz offers a profound portrait of the writer, who has been praised posthumously for his unflinching explorations of historical cruelty, memory, and dislocation.
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The Emergence of Memory: Conversations with W.G. Sebald

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Overview

When German author W. G. Sebald died in a car accident at the age of fifty-seven, the literary world mourned the loss of a writer whose oeuvre it was just beginning to appreciate. Through published interviews with and essays on Sebald, award-winning translator and author Lynne Sharon Schwartz offers a profound portrait of the writer, who has been praised posthumously for his unflinching explorations of historical cruelty, memory, and dislocation.
With contributions from poet, essayist, and translator Charles Simic, New Republic editor Ruth Franklin, Bookworm radio host Michael Silverblatt, and more, The Emergence of Memory offers Sebald’s own voice in interviews between 1997 up to a month before his death in 2001. Also included are cogent accounts of almost all of Sebald’s books, thematically linked to events in the contributors’ own lives.
Contributors include Carole Angier, Joseph Cuomo, Ruth Franklin, Michael Hofmann, Arthur Lubow, Tim Parks, Michael Silverblatt, Charles Simic, and Eleanor Wachtel.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This work, which combines published interviews with W.G. Sebald (1944-2001) with numerous essays on the German author, covers Sebald's literary influences, his complex interfamilial dealings, and his decision to settle in England in 1970. Sebald's great accomplishments were his ability to look at the German-Jewish relationship and the destruction of Germany in World War II with equal amounts of compassion and understanding. His works-including Vertigo, The Emigrants, On the Natural History of Destruction-deal with the themes of coincidence, memory, nature, writing, and destruction; his literary hallmarks are indirection, conjunction, and chance. In these interviews-those with Joseph Cuomo and Elizabeth Wachtel are especially noteworthy-Sebald discusses the models for his characters and the development of his works. Also fascinating are the essays by Charles Simic and Arthur Lubow. Novelist Schwartz's (The Writing on the Wall) fine editing allows different views of Sebald's work to emerge. Recommended for literature collections.
—Gene Shaw

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583227855
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ is the author of fourteen works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as the widely acclaimed memoir, Ruined by Reading. Her first novel, Rough Strife (1981), was shortlisted for a National Book Award and a PEN/Hemingway First Novel Award while her Leaving Brooklyn (1989) was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction. She won the 1991 PEN Renato Pogglioli Award for her translation from the Italian of Smoke Over Birkenau, by Liana Millu. Schwartz is a native and current New Yorker.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Only for fans of W.G. Sebald

    Emergence of Memory is a good cross-section of English-language interviews with and pieces on W.G. Sebald; if you've read his books and are looking for more on the author, this is a good place to turn. A lot of common themes get hit (e.g. the use of photographs) and there's a bit too much on the "controversy" sparked by On the Natural History of Destruction, but there are some nice gems on what Sebald's next project was (rooted in his family history) and his influences.

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    Posted July 7, 2010

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