Across the Land and the Water by W.G. Sebald

77%

7 Critic Reviews

As it is, he generally keeps an appropriate silence about his own intentions, and an equally appropriate sense of modesty in the face of his very large subjects.
-Guardian

Synopsis

“A splendid addition to an already extraordinary oeuvre.”—Teju Cole, The New Yorker
 
German-born W. G. Sebald is best known as the innovative author of Austerlitz, the prose classic of World War II culpability and conscience that put its author in the company of Nabokov, Calvino, and Borges. Now comes the first major collection of this literary master’s poems. Skillfully translated by Iain Galbraith, they range from pieces Sebald wrote as a student in the sixties to those completed right before his untimely death in 2001. In nearly one hundred poems—the majority published in English for the first time—Sebald explores his trademark themes, from nature and history, to wandering and wondering, to oblivion and memory. Soaring and searing, the poetry of W. G. Sebald is an indelible addition to his superb body of work, and this collection is bound to become a classic in its own right.
 
“How fortunate we are to have this writer’s startling imagination freshly on display once again, expressed in language honed to a perfect simplicity.”—Billy Collins
 
“A watershed volume . . . nothing less than transcendent.”—BookPage
 
“[Sebald was] a defining writer of his era.”—The New Republic
 

About W.G. Sebald

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W. G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgäu, Germany, in 1944. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland, and Manchester. He taught at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, for thirty years, becoming professor of European literature in 1987, and from 1989 to 1994 was the first director of the British Centre for Literary Translation. His previously translated books-The Rings of Saturn, The Emigrants, Vertigo, and Austerlitz-have won a number of international awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Berlin Literature Prize, and the LiteraTour Nord Prize. He died in December 2001.Iain Galbraith was born in Glasgow in 1956 and studied modern languages and comparative literature at the universities of Cambridge, Freiburg, and Mainz, where he taught for several years. He has edited works by Stevenson, Hogg, Scott, Boswell, and Conrad, and contributed essays to many books and journals in the U.K., France, and Germany. He is a widely published translator of German-language writing, especially poetry, into English, winning the John Dryden Prize for Literary Translation in 2004.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by Random House. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Across the Land and the Water
All: 7 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Andrew Motion on Nov 25 2011

As it is, he generally keeps an appropriate silence about his own intentions, and an equally appropriate sense of modesty in the face of his very large subjects.

Read Full Review of Across the Land and the Water | See more reviews from Guardian

The Economist

Below average
Nov 19 2011

However, it is a shame that this volume does not include Sebald’s original poems in the German.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Boyd Tonkin on Dec 02 2011

As in his prose, the poems invest every landscape with an archaeologist's sense of the pain, toil and loss secreted in each layer of soil.

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The New Yorker

Below average
Reviewed by Teju Cole on Apr 05 2012

Without Galbraith’s notes, some of the poems are dense almost to the point of opacity:

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New Statesman

Excellent
Reviewed by Melanie Challenger on Dec 12 2011

At their best, Sebald's poems engage thrillingly with the private archives of Germany's memory of the war.

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Irish Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Gerald Dawe on Nov 19 2011

Sebald reminds me of the humanist tradition of Günter Grass or Heinrich Böll, company he unquestionably belongs to as poet, essayist and prose writer, one of the great artists of our time.

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Culture Mob

Excellent
Reviewed by Dan Coxon on Apr 12 2012

. . .his intense vision and unique mastery of images shines through on every page.

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