Thursday, February 5, 2015

An academic article on W. G. Sebald's untranslated academic writings

Here's a link to James R. Martin's very interesting 2013 Cambridge Literary Review article, "On Misunderstanding W. G. Sebald." Martin, who seems to have read the entire corpus of Sebald's as-yet-untranslated academic writings, argues that while the author's transformation from Frankfurt School-influenced academic to Kafka-, Nabokov-, and Bernhard-influenced writer of fiction was accompanied by an intellectual modulation in his understanding of the Shoah, there are also important continuities between the 'two Sebalds'. While I don't entirely agree with Martin's article and find his concluding paragraph a bit harsh, I highly recommend the article for the glimpses it provides of the large amount of Sebald still available only to German readers. I eagerly await the English translations of Sebald's complete critical writings, so I can attempt to judge these matters for myself. (Unfortunately, I may be waiting a very long time.)


Harvey Morrell said...

Thank you for this. I hadn't seen this before.

Kirbycairo said...

I find his 'literary' work interesting (mostly stylistically) but have no exposure to his academic work. I wonder if his academic work is as eloquent in prose as his fiction? If so it would be at least interesting to read. But, we may never see it in translation. Academic translation has become so expensive for publishers to undertake that we may not see it until some German/English Grad student undertake the translation as a personal project and puts his/her work on the web.