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

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  99 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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 h...more
ebook, 160 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Seven Stories Press (first published October 1st 2007)
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M. Sarki
This emergence of memory offers so much to a fellow like me that now I have gone out and purchased every hardcover first printing of Sebald's four translated major works and plan on reading them in the order in which he wrote them. The Emergence of Memory has already been written about quite extensively and I don't need to add more to the critical table of contents. But allow me to make my own voice heard as I claim this collection is justified in the five stars I gave it. Not only did I like it...more
The introductory essay by Lynne Sharon Schwartz is tightly written and insightful from beginning to end. This raises hopes for the rest of the book. However, I found the first short essay, "The Hunter" by Tim Parks, to be a little too brief to be pleasurable; it may simply require rereading. What follows is a fantastic interview with Sebald by Eleanor Wachtel, titled "The Ghost." Here we get a behind the scenes view of The Emigrants, Sebald's second novel. All the characters in The Emigrants act...more
Sebald's voice is unmistakable in all his works. All his narrators, the reliable and unreliable ones, speak in his voice. The characters narrated by those narrators speak in his voice. To me, these works are as intimate as you could get with him. And yet, somehow these conversations have been able to achieve a slightly higher degree of intimacy, and I think most of its due to the understanding between the two people conversing.

the emergence of memory is an anthology which was published after Seb...more
Paul Toth
Wonderful, married only by the inclusion of two Sebald detractors, whose points have already been addressed by anyone who reads his work and asks the same questions. Such reviewers want what they expect, to be "taught" what they know, thus confirming themselves to themselves. Sebald comes across just as one would expect, curious and mapless, a wanderer, a thinker whose thoughts never devolve into academia but instead circle above life, which keeps moving out of sight. He cannot grasp it; that is...more
Colleen Clark
Probably like many people I learned about WG Sebald just weeks before he died in an automobile accident in Dec. 2001. The English translation of "Austerlitz" had just been published. Partly because he was born in Germany, in a small Alpine village, in 1944 and because I had lived in Munich myself when I was 12 I've had an interest in German and Germany ever since. I have all of Sebald's books and most of them in German as well as in English. Because he's such an interesting and unusual writer wh...more

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The emergence of memory. Conversations with W.G. Sebald, samengesteld en ingeleid door Lynne Sharon Schwartz, bundelt vier essays en opiniestukken en vijf gesprekken*, waarin de auteurs en interviewers lichtelijk idolaat, maar voldoende kritisch, dieper trachten door te dringen tot de mens en de schrijver Sebald, zijn schrijverschap en de obsessieve motieven en thema’s die hij in een zeer kenmerkende stijl als een web over zijn enigmatische en in...more
There's some great stuff in here, particularly in the interviews - and so I'd prefer a book of just interviews. Partially because a book of interviews with a single individual typically makes for its own kind of work, shape, trajectory of a way that is unique to that form (book of interviews as form) if the interviews are fleshed out enough and not overrun with repetition (requiring work on both sides), and partially because I find the essays herein to be in the way of Sebald's talkin...more
Finally picked this book up again and started it from the beginning. Seemed less dense the second time. I had to finish it in anticipation of possibly the last Sebald book we will have, A Place in the Country. The piece about the last book he was working on hit me hard. I wish I could have that book. I miss him.
Brendan Blom
Has inspired me to read more Sebald, and re-read The Rings of Saturn and Austerlitz. Also, nice to find out that Sebald himself wasn't quite as melancholy as his writing.
Jul 04, 2009 Jack is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Sebald's approach validates my own approach to writing, insofar as I needed validation. It also gives me some new ideas about how to use these techniques
The interviews get a little repetitive but the essay by Charles Simic at the end is worth it. Also, that poem at the end never fails to make me laugh.
There were fewer conversations "with" (and more ruminations "about") Sebald here than I was hoping for-- but it was still a worthwhile read.
it's wonderful to read these interviews. not surprisingly, he's one of those people who speaks as elegantly as he writes. a real treasure
Sebald is, doubtless, a master. However, the writings about Sebald here seem superfluous.
A lovely addition to my spontaneous mini course on W.G. Sebald.
Useful companion to understanding Sebald's writings and world view.
So important. Both Sebald, and the freedom of memory in fiction.
The interviews are very interesting, the essays less so.
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Winfried Georg Maximilian Sebald was a German writer and academic. His works are largely concerned with the themes of memory and loss of memory (both personal and collective) and decay (of civilizations, traditions or physical objects). They are, in particular, attempts to reconcile himself with, and deal in literary terms with, the trauma of the Second World War and its effect on the German peopl...more
More about W.G. Sebald...
Austerlitz The Rings of Saturn The Emigrants Vertigo On the Natural History of Destruction

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