the facts of fiction, or the figure of vladimir nabokov in w. g. sebald Leland de la Durantaye W. G. Sebald began his first creative work by invoking the tradition of artists placing portraits of other artists in their works. "Ja, es scheine," he wrote in Nach der Natur (1988) [After Nature], "als hätten im Kunstwerk / Die Männer einander verehrt wie Brüder, / Einander dort oft ein Denkmal gesetzt, / Wo ihre Wege sich kreuzten" [Indeed, it seems as though in such works of art men honored one another like brothers, placing monuments in each other's image there where their paths had crossed].1 Given the place monumentalized artists take in the works to come, a more fitting beginning for Sebald's creative career would be difficult to imagine. Sebald's next work, and his first of prose fiction, Schwindel. Gefühle. (1990) [Vertigo], weaves a web of uncertain coincidences around Franz Kafka. Sebald's subsequent book, Die Ausgewanderten (1992) [The Emigrants], continues in this vein, but in more subtle and deceptive fashion and it is in this work that we can best grasp Sebald's practice of literary monumentalization and the role it plays in his art. The Emigrants recounts four stories
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Nov 27, 2008
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