In this essay, the author offers a candid discussion of Sebald’s legacy and the flurry of criticism aimed at securing his place in the literary canon. It engages many of Sebald’s signature themes: memory, amnesia, silence, history, and trauma. The author acknowledges Sebald’s masterful blend of language, photography, and archival material, resulting in a uniquely hybrid narrative form falling somewhere between essay and fiction. The essay is critical of Sebald’s most dedicated admirers—not because of any perceived paucity in Sebald’s work, but rather the shortsightedness of the critical machine that is desperately trying to fossilize Sebald as the end point of modern literature.
The Sebald Case
Rodrigo Fresán is an Argentinean fiction writer and journalist based in Barcelona. He has published numerous essays and books that have been translated into many languages. His novel The Invented Part was published in English in 2017.Alejandra Campoy Fernández is a PhD candidate in comparative literature at UCLA. Her dissertation focuses on the aesthetics of illness in nineteenth-and twentieth-century Latin American literature. Her research interests include modernism, crime fiction, and health humanities.
Rodrigo Fresán, Alejandra Campoy Fernández; The Sebald Case. boundary 2 1 August 2020; 47 (3): 169–175. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-8524479
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