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Rings of Saturn af W G Sebald

Rings of Saturn (original 1995; udgave 1999)

af W G Sebald (Forfatter), Michael Hulse (Oversætter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,739623,953 (4.19)135
A fictional account of a walking tour through England's East Anglia whose sights and sounds conjure up images of Britain's imperial past. They range from the slave trade to the Battle of Britain. By the author of The Emigrants.
Titel:Rings of Saturn
Forfattere:W G Sebald (Forfatter)
Andre forfattere:Michael Hulse (Oversætter)
Info:New Directions (1999), 304 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Detaljer om værket

The Rings of Saturn af W. G. Sebald (1995)

Nyligt tilføjet afWeftwaif, andrenth, Poelloeinpesae, NuriaGrinyo, llibreprovenza, jncc, Mattbr, privat bibliotek, mycroftcanner, lucylove73
Efterladte bibliotekerLeslie Scalapino
  1. 10
    Donau : en følsom rejse fra den store flods kilder til Sortehavet af Claudio Magris (defaults)
  2. 10
    Lights out for the territory: 9 excursions in the secret history of London af Iain Sinclair (TMrozewski)
    TMrozewski: Books about walking, history, and reflection. Similar narrative tropes.
  3. 00
    Findings af Kathleen Jamie (chrisharpe)
  4. 00
    Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas | Afterimage • Suspended sentences • Flowers of ruin af Patrick Modiano (Lori_Eshleman)
  5. 00
    Wildwood: A Journey through Trees af Roger Deakin (chrisharpe)
  6. 01
    Wittgenstein's Mistress af David Markson (michaeljohn)
    michaeljohn: Both novels—each nontraditional and singular in form—feature a narrator wandering in a desolate landscape. Both narrators also show a similar propensity for historical digression.
  7. 02
    Gejstlig død : kriminalroman af P. D. James (thorold)
    thorold: You can't get much more conventional than an English murder mystery, or much more experimental than Sebald's unclassifiable prose works, but these two books do seem to have a bit more in common than their setting on the Suffolk coast. An odd mixture of gloom and playfulness, a refusal quite to reveal what's in the writer's mind...… (mere)

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» Se også 135 omtaler

Engelsk (58)  Hollandsk (3)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (62)
Viser 1-5 af 62 (næste | vis alle)
Had no idea what to expect of this book, neither genre nor anything else, as I bought it to read alongside Rob MacFarlane's twitter reading group #TheReadingsofSaturn #TRoS, and may have vaguely thought it would be science fiction! Dreamlike, hypnotic, and wonderful to read alongside the twitter group contributions. I was thrilled by how it intersected with everyday life. For example Sebald mentions Southwold and immediately Southwold comes up in completely unrelated contexts. Particularly serendipitous was the evening I read the last chapter (heavy on silk) having been eating black mulberry fruits that afternoon under a mulberry tree at Calke Abbey. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
iv, v, vi

-> history that touch places that touch people who've been to places in -> ( )
  stravinsky | Dec 28, 2020 |
Nobody can accuse me of not trying to understand the appeal of WGS to so many trustworthy readers, but for the life of me, I can't come up with a good reason for his popularity. This review is a really a group review of 'Rings,' 'Emigrants,' 'Campo Santo,' and and Lynn Sharon Schwartz's 'The Emergence of Memory.' I'm putting it under 'Rings,' because this is certainly the best book of Sebald's that I read.

I've asked people why they think Sebald is popular. One fairly broad response was: his work was translated at the perfect moment. He wrote 'interstitial' or genre-blurring books just when everyone was getting into blurring genres, and so he gave a kind of imprimatur to that form. I can accept this on the level of "how did Sebald get his start in English," since it's a nice hook.

I'm not sure how well it explains individual readers' experiences, though. Yes, a few David Shields types might really enjoy the 'reality' of the books, the way they use novelistic techniques but lack novelistic tropes. If you're the kind of person who wants to read, but doesn't like novels or essays, Sebald might just hit a sweet spot.

Although I don't like the idea, I fear that a lot of people like these books because of their content. In Sebald's work, all roads lead towards the Shoah, but asymptotically. We're forever just missing the event, getting traces of it, seeing its effects. In one particularly silly instance, Sebald describes the history of silk-worm farming in Germany, and links that directly to Nazism. The same thing, we're given to understand, is true of herring fishing.

The point of all this, he tells us in Campo Santo and Emergence of Memory, is to show up the "conspiracy of silence" surrounding the holocaust in small-town Germany. Sebald finds it appalling that ordinary people can go about their lives as if Nazism and genocide never happened, that they prefer not to talk about it, and so it is. However, he doesn't think one can just discuss the events openly. Instead, one must get there through indirection.

This is a fairly standard modernist strategy, but Sebald literalises it in (what I find to be) a particularly dull way. Beckett, for instance, can be read as indirectly pointing to any number of 20th century horrors, but he does it by abstraction and humor. Sebald tries to be indirect in a far simpler way: he just doesn't talk about what he obviously wants to talk about. And given the omnipresence of the holocaust in late twentieth century cultural life, that's the right choice.

But it also points to a problem with the project as a whole: Sebald's books appeal mostly to the cultured, who, if anything, over-discuss the holocaust, which has the effect of distracting attention from all the other injustices that are *currently* taking place. And, I suspect, Sebald knew this very well, which explains his thinking in "Natural History of Destruction." His method is to write in the teeth of a conspiracy of silence, but there simply *is no* conspiracy of silence around the Shoah. So he moves on to a different, far less offensive conspiracy--this time, the German literati's unwillingness to deal with the destruction of German cities in the second world war.

Again, though, an English speaking audience is unlikely to believe in this conspiracy: Slaughterhouse 5, to take only one example, has dealt with the theme in a suitably indirect but also direct manner. 'Natural History' has been criticized for insensitivity--how could WGS deal with these matters, knowing that the destruction was the direct result of Nazi actions? It's almost as if he's been accused of a conspiracy of silence over the holocaust. And so the cycle continues.

Some readers might value oblique reminders that the holocaust and Luftkrieg took place, but I suspect that anyone who gets something from the content of Sebald's work has something else in mind: its comfortable pessimism.

"It is a characteristic of our species," he says, "in evolutionary terms, that we are a species in despair." This is arrant nonsense, at almost every turn: 'evolutionarily,' it is obviously false; that we are a species in despair is obviously false, and so on. But late-Victorian pessimism has always attracted the comfortably off intellectual. With no God to demand that we act well towards each other, and no poverty forcing us to act well for ourselves, we're left in an extremely boring spot. But we can think about that spot at great length, at least, and thus face up to the abyss that we have created twice over--once in that the cost of our comfort is actual suffering for the poor, and second in that the 'despair' Sebald writes of is just self-aggrandizing melancholy masquerading as deep insight, the kind of insight that greatly appeals to readers of literature. We know very little about history, or even the present, and we prefer not to learn about it. What we want is the experience of being ourselves.

As for the sentences, lavishly beloved, I see nothing special:

"After I had taken my leave of William Hazel I walked for a good hour along the country road from Somerleyton to Lowestoft, passing Blundeston prison, which rises out of the flatland like a fortified town and keeps within its walls twelve-hundred inmates at any one time."

Reviewers often praise Sebald as bringing back the nineteenth century, and this sentence (chosen as random, which is unfair, but I can't go through them all) confirms that claim: it is bloated and falsely colloquial ("taken my leave", "good hour"); it is cliched ("rises out of") and it is bombastic ("keeps within its walls"). His (or his translators') vocabulary is deeply impoverished; everything is "in decline," everything is "ruined." The syntax of the translations is often Germanic for no very good reason (in the 'we for twenty minutes walked along the black but also reflecting light with small flakes of bright material road' way), and that, I suspect is just bad translation.

All of which is to say that if Sebald's books have any worth, it is in their formal features rather than their almost vapid content. And his meandering, coincidence, essayistic prose is unusual for its time period, and unusual in a way worth preserving. Unfortunately, readers of 17th or even 18th century writers won't find his work anywhere near as 'innovative,' 'strange' or 'original,' as so many reviewers do. Sebald himself, I think, wouldn't make such claims: why else describe Browne at such length? In any case, Sebald's books are all, essentially, extended essays of the Montaignian type, wandering from one topic to the other, but modernist in their self-consciousness. The wandering is always around one point, the moments each reflect that point. Like Montaigne, the essays don't develop; like Burton, the essays are all about one thing (the abyss, though, rather than melancholy); like, say, Adorno, the essays are tightly constructed despite the appearance of randomness.

So my long winding decline-filled journey through the ruins ends in puzzlement and anger and acceptance: puzzlement because I honestly do not understand why so many people find Sebald worthy of so much praise; anger because I suspect his popularity rests on a dull but attractive pessimism that should really be dealt with in a church, temple, or mosque rather than indulged by art; and acceptance because, if nothing else, Sebald's form could be used by others in the future to better effect.

But for now his influence seems to be the most malignant part of his work, throwing up the puerilities of Ben Lerner, Teju Cole, David Shields, Rachel Cusk's 'Outline,' and so on. Just reciting this family tree makes me think better of WG, who at least took an interest in something other than himself. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
The Rings of Saturn by W G Sebald What a strange book, both engaging and fascinating but so strange, it is like being in someone else's dream.
Good Book ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
The Rings of Saturn is so many things at once. Part travel documentation, part historical research, part novel, part ethereal stream-of-consciousness, and each part is executed superbly. The book ostensibly covers a short period of journey on-foot by Sebald in south-east England as he traces some of the history related to Thomas Browne, but it meanders and gets lost just as often as he does on the moors and plains of that area. The journey it takes us on is sublime. Each page is dripping with descriptions, sudden changes in course, and a type of exploratory and deeply engaged writing that is incomparable. This is my first time reading Sebald; I will be reading a lot more of him in future. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 62 (næste | vis alle)
The Rings of Saturn, perplexing, turgid, and unreadable book that it so frequently is, is saddled with a problem it cannot resolve or even address: that of the dislodged identity.
tilføjet af jburlinson | RedigerNew York Review of Books, André Aciman (pay site) (Dec 3, 1998)

» Tilføj andre forfattere (16 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
W. G. Sebaldprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Charvát, RadovanOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Hulse, MichaelOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Oprindelig udgivelsesdato
Vigtige steder
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Il faut surtout pardonner a ces ames malheureuses qui ont elu de faire le pelerinage a pied, qui cotoient le rivage et regardent sans comprendre l'horreur de la lutte, la joie de vaincre ni le profond desespoir des vaincus.
Joseph Conrad
The rings of Saturn consist of ice crystals and probably meteorite particles describing circular orbits around the planet's equator. In all likelihood these are the fragments of a former moon that was too close to the planet and was destroyed by its tidal effect ( -> Roche limit).
Brockhaus Encyclopaedia
Første ord
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In August 1992, when the dog days were drawing to an end, I set off to walk the county of Suffolk, in the hope of dispelling the emptiness that takes hold of me whenever I have completed a long stint of work.
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Wikipedia på engelsk (3)

A fictional account of a walking tour through England's East Anglia whose sights and sounds conjure up images of Britain's imperial past. They range from the slave trade to the Battle of Britain. By the author of The Emigrants.

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Efterladte bibliotek: W. G. Sebald

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