Awaiting New Sebald Books 2010-2012
An eagle-eyed reader of Vertigo has noticed that the website of Professor Jo Catling at the University of East Anglia lists her as the translator of three of the last untranslated texts by her former colleague W.G. Sebald. It appears she is translating Logis in einem Landhaus (which will appear in English as A Place in the Country, to be published by Hamish Hamilton/ Random House in 2010) and Beschreibung des Unglücks and Unheimliche Heimat (which apparently will appear combined as Silent Catastrophes, to be published by the same publisher in 2012).
I am particularly looking forward to the translation of Logis in einem Landhaus, a book of essays on Robert Walser, Gottfried Keller, Johann Peter Hebel, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Eduard Mörike, and Jan Peter Tripp. So far, only the essays on Tripp and Walser have been published in English. Undoubtedly influenced by his experiments with embedded photographs in his books of fiction, Sebald inserted images of all types into each of the essays in Logis in Einem Landhaus: 18th century calendar pages, photographs of books, reproductions of historic etchings and drawings, a dozen portraits of the author Robert Walser at various stages of his life along with samples of his handwriting, examples of Jan Peter Tripp’s etchings, and, in a typically Sebaldian move, an enigmatic, grainy photograph of a hot air balloon hovering over treetops. It will be interesting to see how the English language publisher deals with the fact that each of the six essays receives a beautifully-printed large foldout image in full color in the original German edition.
This will leave on two very early Sebald books still untranslated: Carl Sternheim: Kritiker und Opfer der Wilhelminischen Ära (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1969) and his Ph.D. dissertation Der Mythus der Zerstörung im Werk Döblins (Stuttgart: Klett, 1980).
We still anxiously await the now overdue publication that Prof. Catling is co-editing with Richard Hibbitt, Saturn’s Moons: A W. G. Sebald Handbook (Oxford: Legenda). This is available for pre-order in several locations online. Here’s part of the publisher’s advance blurb:
Saturns Moons: a W. G. Sebald Handbook brings together in one volume a wealth of new critical and visual material on Sebalds life and works, encompassing a range of first-hand accounts by his former colleagues and students. The contributions cover various phases and facets of the writers career, including Sebald as teacher, as founder of the British Centre for Literary Translation at UEA, and as scholar and critic. Lavishly illustrated, the Handbook contains definitive primary and secondary bibliographies, details of audiovisual material and interviews, and a catalogue of Sebald’s library. Contributors include Jo Catling, Florian Radvan, Clive Scott, Richard Sheppard, Gordon Turner and Ulrich von Bülow.
The essays on Walser, Hebel and, specially the one on Keller in Logis in einem Landhaus are extremely moving indeed (I’ve read the French edition). And you’re totally right about the importance of the large foldout image in full color, particularly the one concerning Keller’s “ideal landscape”, for me the burning center of the book.
(By the way, I’m presenting a paper on Sebald at the Visible Evidence Conference in Istanbul in a few days; it’s called On political relevance: Facing Sebald.)
The new translations are exciting to hear about. Thank you so much. I too am waiting for the pre-ordered “handbook.”
A new collection of essays on Sebald and travel is scheduled to be published by Camden House on October 1:
How about the supposedly missing play that Sebald wrote for BBC, about the life of Kant? Any news of that?
It exists as several ms. versions in the Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach/Neckar. I read it recently and it didn’t strike me as particularly good or significant.
Any news at all on digital versions of Sebald’s work?
I keep looking.
I haven’t seen any new digital editions of Sebald.
While I am not certain that the photographs would translate well in an electronic form, and I’d worry about the variable flow, I still think that his work should be available digitally.
I wonder what forces control such decisions.
None that I know of.
The Sebald Handbook (Saturn’s Moons, ed. Jo Catling and Richard Hibbitt [Oxford: Legenda]) came out in mid-July 2011. A double number of the Journal of European Studies that is devoted to Sebald will appear in December 2011, on the 10th anniversary of his death. It will contain 11 critical articles, a translation into English of the East Anglia travelogue that he published in July 1974, an edition of his undergraduate dissertation on Carl Sternheim (spring 1966), and a very insightful reminiscence by a colleague, Dr Christopher Smith, whose office at UEA was next to Sebald’s for many years. Richard Sheppard.