Literaturhaus Stuttgart to Celebrate Sebald’s 70th
Sebald at Literaturhaus Stuttgart © Heiner Wittmann
The 70th anniversary of the birth of W.G. Sebald is coming up on May 18, 2014. To mark this date, the Literaturhaus in Stuttgart has planned an event for Tuesday May 20, featuring Sebald scholar Uwe Schütte. Schütte is scheduled to give a talk called “Das Land das man nur barfuß betreten darf: W.G. Sebalds Lyrik” (“the land one may only enter barefoot”), based on his recent study Figurationen. He will talk about the development of Sebald’s poetry from his first attempts at writing literary texts to the final micro-poems that were evolved just before his premature death. Florian Höllerer, who was the director of the Literaturhaus from its inception until the end of 2013, will serve as moderator for the evening. Tickets may be acquired at the website.
Sebald and the Literaturhaus had a very special connection. He was invited to speak at its opening ceremonies on November 17, 2001. This important speech – “Ein Versuch der Restitution” – turned out to be Sebald’s last public appearance before his death on December 14, 2001. “An Attempt at Restitution,” the English version, first appeared in The New Yorker (December 20-27, 2004) and then was reprinted in the posthumous anthology Campo Santo. In 2008, Verlag Ulrich Keicher in Warmbronn, Germany issued a booklet containing Sebald’s speech called Zerstreute Reminiszenzen in a small edition of 800 copies, a few of which might still be available from Literaturhaus. This publication included illustrations of many of the things mentioned in the speech, from the Quelle mail-order catalog that his father showed him for Christmas 1949 to newspaper clippings and photographs drawn from the Sebald archive in Marbach. A few sections of Sebald’s own typescript of the speech are also reproduced.