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  • Edited by Uwe Schütte, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2023
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

The German academic and writer W. G. Sebald made an astounding ascent into the canon of world literature. In this volume, leading experts from both the English- and the German-speaking worlds explore his celebrated prose works published in the short span from 1996 to his premature death in 2001. Special attention is paid to Sebald's unpublished texts and books awaiting translation into English. The volume – illustrated with many unpublished archive images – scrutinizes the dual nature of Sebald's life and work, located between Germany and England, academic and literary writing, vilification and idolization. Through nearly forty essays on a broad range of topics, W. G. Sebald in Context achieves a revision of our understanding of Sebald, defying many clichés about him. Particular attention is paid to the manifold ways in which Sebald's writings exerted a legacy far beyond literature, especially in the areas of art, cinema, and popular music.


‘A terrific book which manages to return Sebald-studies back to a Sebaldian place where grand historical sweeps and the merest marginalia illuminate each other to new effect. Overall, it refreshes both our sense of Sebald as an academic and literary subversive and of the astonishing breadth of themes addressed in and provoked by his work - in film, in pop music, in relation to the Anthropocene, in the cult of The Sebaldian to name a few - and it does so while remaining accessible.’

Grant Gee - director of Patience: After Sebald (2011)

‘This is a wonderful handbook of short, readable essays that explores the lesser-known aspects of this complex and elusive writer whose documentary style of prose has always beguiled us into believing we know more about the man than we do.’

Tacita Dean - artist

‘A welcome critical repositioning of Sebald and his oeuvre: away from the academy, and freed from the clutches of the Anglophone critical establishment. These interventions resist - as powerfully as their subject did - the jargon of inauthenticity, and give us a Sebald more singular in vision, and less capable of assimilation to dogma - whether humanist or traditionalist - than our increasingly polarized era might prefer.’

Will Self

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