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The Paris Review Interview with W.G. Sebald

Paris Review Issue151

When I arrived in Norwich that morning on the train from London, Max had been waiting at the gate. I recognized him from the photograph on the back of The Emigrants. He was shy at first as we drove through the streets of Norwich in his rattletrap Peugeot, but he soon grew talkative, pointing out the eleventh-century Norman cathedral that towers immensely over the town and going on about his dealings with publishers, agents, advances—a writer’s shoptalk.

The Paris Review has removed the paywall for the interview that James Atlas did with W.G. Sebald in 1999—but only until Sunday, July 12! So hurry over and read this excellent piece. After a visit at his house, Sebald took Atlas for a drive through Norwich and then later they visited the poets Michael Hamburger and Anne Beresford in their ancient cottage. Atlas (1949-2019) was a publisher and writer, most notably as the biographer of Delmore Schwartz and Saul Bellow. He would have been a great Sebald biographer, I think.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. textsandpretexts #

    Thanks for the link to the Paris Review interview with Sebald, which is indeed excellent. Odd, though, that they didn’t take a few minutes to correct the many obvious scanning/OCR errors, which become quite distracting.

    July 8, 2020
    • I agree. I thought about warning people, but I figured there was no reason to scare anyone away. I was just reading a different interview from the archive and it had no OCR issues. Maybe because it was much more recent.

      July 8, 2020
  2. Thank you so much for this treasured read. The scanning errors are not meaningful.

    July 10, 2020
  3. Hi Terry
    Loved the Atlas interview. Very revealing about my literary hero. But, Terry, I’d like to contact you again about my upcoming novel THE HANDS OF PIANISTS to be published by Fomite Press in Vermont. They say they put out books of only the highest literary merit, so I’m flattered. HANDS has many imbedded b&w photos, and you kindly read an early version and made valuable comments about it. I’ve incorporated them in the rewrites. HANDS’s prototype was the major part of my PhD two years ago at Monash University in Melbourne. The novel’s neurotic narrator aims to prove that pianos can kill elite pianists. His detective work takes him on a journey from Melbourne to Sydney, the south of France, London and Sussex, and the Czech Republic.
    I’d love to hear from you again.
    Best wishes

    July 12, 2020
  4. The Searching Skeptic #

    Incidentally, at time of writing the interview is still free to read

    September 25, 2020

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