13.10.11

W. G. Sebald as Academic

Academia, literary fame and post-war Germany's culture of silence
W. G. Sebald
Uwe Schütte, director of German studies at Aston University. discusses his acquaintance with W. G. Sebald in the Times Higher Education: 'From the late 1970s, the "angry young academic" underwent quite a transformation, with Sebald now focusing his critical attention on empathetic discussions of writers who had been marginalised or ignored by mainstream German studies. Sebald never wrote an essay - let alone a book - on any of the "biggies" of German literature: Goethe, Thomas Mann, Brecht just don't feature, although Kafka, himself an outsider figure, is a major interest. Rather, he concerned himself with "minor poets" such as the autodidact Herbert Achternbusch, the schizophrenic poet Ernst Herbeck, the Austrian-Jewish Holocaust survivor Jean Améry - writers, who in his view wrote "against" the prevalent conception of culture and/or literature.' [Read More]

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