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W. G. Sebald

Sebald, W. G. (Winfried Georg Maximillian Sebald), 1944–2001, German novelist, grad. Freiburg Univ. (1965). His novels are dense, elegiac, and meditative. They mingle fiction with history and explore the complexities of memory, often as it relates to the Holocaust. His four novels, Schwindel, Gefühle (1990, tr. Vertigo, 1999), Die Ausgewanderten (1992, tr. The Emigrants, 1996), Die Ringe des Saturn (1995, tr. The Rings of Saturn, 1998), and Austerlitz (2001, tr. 2001), place him high among contemporary writers. He also wrote scholarly works, poetry, and essays. Sebald died in an automobile accident, cutting short a distinguished career. His posthumously published works include On the Natural History of Destruction (tr. 2003), gathered from his lectures; Campo Santo (tr. 2005), essays; and Unrecounted (tr. 2004), late poems. He taught at the Univ. of Manchester (1966–70) and, after settling (1970) in England, at the Univ. of East Anglia.

See L. S. Schwartz, The Emergence of Memory: Conversations with W. G. Sebald (2007); studies by R. Görner, ed. (2003), M. R. McCulloh (2003), J. J. Long and A. Whitehead, ed. (2004), S. Denham and M. R. McCulloh, ed. (2006), D. Blackler (2007), and R. Crownshaw et al. (2007).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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