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

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  141 Ratings  ·  25 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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William1
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
M. Sarki
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sebald fans
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
Madhuri
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan
The pieces in The Emergence of Memory reveal important aspects of W. G. Sebald's spectral writings and personality which added to an appreciation of his literary enterprise. His project was centered on elusive, illusory memory and truth and their recovery and representations in art and literature. The greatest essays in the book were those that attempt to describe the nuances of his project, its totality, and its vision. An essay by Tim Parks, for example, tried to define the core of Sebald's vi ...more
Andrew
On the one hand, Sebald is an absolute literary saint to me. On the other hand, I don't feel like I learned too much new about Sebald in this book. Whatever personal details he discloses are disclosed with the same chilly remove displayed in his novels. The perspectives on the world aren't that different from those likewise espoused in his novels. While I was entertained throughout, this does kind of feel unnecessary, considering the strength and power of his published books.
Paul Toth
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Justin Evans
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice collection of interviews and essays on Sebald, very helpful in understanding his work--about which I remain deeply skeptical. Why, you ask?

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Jan
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Zie ook: http://hetminstegeringste.blogspot.be...

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
Elaine
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
W.G. Sebald is one of my favourite writers. I read his novels and was stunned when he died in late 2001 because it meant there wouldn't be any more, so when I came across this book I was keen on learning more about Sebald, and I did. Many of the articles are insightful, as are the interviews with Sebald. I find his life and what compelled him to write fascinating. He was a professor of German literature, but felt trapped in his work. Sebald was driven to make sense of a lacunae he felt in his li ...more
Randy
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
So, this book is the only read which I've felt an unrelenting need/desire to write a review for. Though I fear the title
of "review" sounds too scholarly. As a standard, I've always discharged literary criticism as self-absorption and a form
of academic masterbation. However, after reading Sebald's Vertigo, Rings of Saturn, Emigrants and Austerlitz, I couldn't
help but want to have a conversation with their author. Ironically serendipitous, is that the immediate book was published
posthumously. Se
...more
Anselm
Mar 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 mind....in 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
Josephine Ensign
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although some of the interview material with Sebald is repetitious in places, this collection expanded my understanding of Sebald the person and Sebald the writer. I especially love Sebald's descriptions of how he protected and nurtured his non-academic writing life from his paycheck-generating academic life. "Because when you do begin to write seriously, then it is very much like an escape route--you find yourself in some kind of compound, your professional life, and you start doing something a ...more
Aida Ghazar
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting,through reading his conversations and the essays which cover both Sebald and his work we can have a very colorful and a vivid picture of his books ,enjoyed reading it.I wished I had read this book before ,As I had already read Vertigo and Immigrants,now I have to read them again,after reading The Emergence Of Memory,before going to his other books.A good experience!
Michelle
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Samantha
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
So important. Both Sebald, and the freedom of memory in fiction.
Madeleine
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
The interviews are very interesting, the essays less so.
Jennifer
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.
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.
Katrinka
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were fewer conversations "with" (and more ruminations "about") Sebald here than I was hoping for-- but it was still a worthwhile read.
Jack
Jul 04, 2009 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
Vel
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sebald is, doubtless, a master. However, the writings about Sebald here seem superfluous.
Hubert
Oct 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Useful companion to understanding Sebald's writings and world view.
Andrew N. Rubin
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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
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