Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald - 2001 - translated from German by Anthea Bell

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book; one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, and active and creative reader is a rereader.” Vladimir Nabokov

Prussia, the ruler of Germany, was always an enemy of the intellect, of books, of the Book of Books—that is, the Bible—of Jews and Christians, of humanism and Europe. Hitler’s Third Reich is only so alarming to the rest of Europe because it sets itself to put into action what was always the Prussian project anyway: to burn the books, to murder the Jews, and to revise Christianity."  Joseph Roth, 1933"

Works I Have So Far Read for German Literature Month, November, 2017

  1. “You’d Have Larvae Too” by Nora Wagener, 2016
  2. Vertigo by W. G. Sebald, 1990
  3. The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter, 2006
  4. “An Earthquake in Chile” by Heinrich Von Kleist, 1809
  5. Who is Martha? by Marjana Gaponenko, 2012
  6. “The Legal Haziness of Marriage” by Olga Grjasnowa, 2015
  7. “Aladdin, COB” by Isabelle Lehn, 2015
  8. “The Last Bell” by Johannes Urzidil, 1968
  9. The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald, 1995
  10. Late Fame by Arthur Schnitzler, written 1892, published 2016
  11. Blood Brothers by Ernst Haffner, 1933
  12. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin, 1929
  13. Confessions of a Murderer by Joseph Roth, 1936
  14.   “Compulsion” by Stefan Zweig,  1929
  15. “Borderlands”by Johannes Urzidil, 1956 (no post)
  16. “A School Boy’s Diary” by Robert Walser, 1910 (no post
  17. Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald, 2001, Second Reading 

If ever a book way over repaid my rereading it was Austerlitz by W. G. I first read this, my first encounter with Sebald, during German Literature Month in November 2013.  I think one needs to devote serious time to learning How to read his unconventional novels.  Since November 2013 I read and posted upon his three earlier novels.  YouTube has several videos of academic lectures on Sebald.   Some were very good.  Some focus on his place in Holocaust Literature, some deal with his photographs, his treatment of memory, and his unique narrative methods.

German Literature Month is winding down and I have a number of more works I hope to read before month end.  I Will just touch upon some few matters that struck me.  

I really liked the numerous references to Balzac.  I am currently working my way through his Comedie Humaine and I was thrilled to see the reference to his work.  This is very much a book about two men deeply into the reading life.

I enjoyed the descriptions of Prague and Paris.  I greatly relished the conversations between Austerlitz and the narrator.   

Austerlitz is a great work of art.  I hope to reread all of Sebald next year.  

Mel u



Mudpuddle said...

I liked the quote from Nabokov; it's true, in a sense: that any book follows a certain logic that becomes predictable with experience...

Suko said...

Does it count that I read the quotation by Nabokov several times, in an attempt to understand it?

Mel, you've read many books for German Literature Month. You obviously lead The Reading Life.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.