The German novelist, poet and critic W. G. Sebald (1944-2001) has in recent years attracted a phenomenal international following for his evocative prose works such as Die Ausgewanderten (The Emigrants), Die Ringe des Saturn (The Rings of Saturn) and Austerlitz, spellbinding elegiac narratives which, through their deliberate blurring of genre boundaries and provocative use of photography, explore questions of Heimat and exile, memory and loss, history and natural history, art and nature.
Saturn’s Moons brings together in one volume a wealth of new critical and visual material on Sebald’s life and works, covering the many facets and phases of his literary and academic careers — as teacher, as scholar and critic, as colleague and as collaborator on translation. Lavishly illustrated, the Handbook also contains a number of rediscovered short pieces by W. G. Sebald, hitherto unpublished interviews, a catalogue of his library, and selected poems and tributes, as well as extensive primary and secondary bibliographies, details of audiovisual material and interviews, and a chronology of life and works.
Drawing on a range of original sources from Sebald’s Nachlass — the most important part of which is now held in the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach – Saturn’s Moons will be an invaluable sourcebook for future Sebald studies in English and German alike, complementing and augmenting recent critical works on subjects such as history, memory, modernity, reader response and the visual.
Jo Catling teaches in the School of Literature at the University of East Anglia and Richard Hibbitt in the Department of French at the University of Leeds.
‘An erudite and deeply engrossing Sebald compendium. It fits his oeuvre that in place of a formal biography we have this border-crossing miscellany in which comment may be free but facts are indeed sacred. Michael Hulse, his equally gifted translator before Anthea Bell, reprints the correspondence in which he asked Sebald to confirm that the quartet of exiles' testimonies so artfully braided into The Emigrants tell real stories about real people... The wonderful alchemy via which Sebald transmuted the found material of actual biography and history into fiction that kept faith with truth explains much of his appeal.’ — Boyd Tonkin, The Independent 2 December 2011, Books of the Week
‘More than two-hundred pages are dedicated to a stunning bibliographic survey of Sebald... If the reader wants to see what Sebald said about, say, Theodor Adorno, Jane Austen, Henry Ford, Jean Genet, Gruppe 47, Ernest Hemingway, Adolf Hitler, Herman Melville, Virginia Woolf, animals, butterflies and moths, depression, irony, the Treblinka trials, or countless other names or topics, the index will direct you to the appropriate interviews. Two of my favorite topics in the index were: 'surgery, fear of' and 'greatest wish: to live outside of time'. Hats off to the crew who have given us this monumental bibliographic record!’ — Terry Pitts, Vertigo 24 September 2011
‘Para aficionados como yo, es una Biblia.’ — William Chislett, El Imparcial 10 December 2011
‘Un somptueux volume collectif – une somme de près de sept cents pages, la bible (plutôt que le modeste handbook annoncé) sur Sebald.’ — Norwich: du temps et des lieux28 September 2011)
‘Special mention should be made of Sheppard’s ‘index to interviews with Sebald’ and his chronology of Sebald’s life, which reconstructs in as much detail as possible the writer’s movements. As with so much of this volume (characterized by how many of its contributors knew Sebald personally), it is clear that these indexes and bibliographies are labours of love; they will stand scholarship in good stead in years to come... An invaluable resource for future research.’ — Ben Hutchinson, Modern Language Review 107.2, April 2012, 659-61 (full text online)
‘Saturn’s Moons is the most significant publication on W. G. (Max) Sebald in recent time. Offering a quasi-Sebaldian reading experience of that peculiarly unorthodox kind to the general reader, it is also a tome of considerable scholarship, most particularly in the provision of two remarkable bibliographies which make it a sine qua non resource for scholars of Sebald’s work... A book which will underpin further work on his writing for decades to come.’ — Deane Blackler, German Quarterly 85.2, Spring 2012, 233-34
‘How much to reveal about 'W. G. Sebald' is not a simple question. The degree to which he incorporated not just the texts, but also the lives of others into his fictions is greater than we can now... Although Sebald suggests that finding the solutions would be worthwhile, he is suspiciously vague about the effort involved. The Handbook's great value is that it does an immense amount of work for us without revealing too much.’ — Scott Bartsch, Journal of European Studies 42.2, June 2012, 210-11
‘By far the most authoritative and complete guide to the literature owned, written and inspired by Sebald, and testament to some extraordinary detective work. It should immediately become the first port of call for anyone setting out to write on Sebald.’ — J. J. Long, Journal of European Studies 42.3, 2012, 17-18
‘Besides essays in which Michael Hulse and Anthea Bell address the subject of translating Sebald's work and of collaborations between author and translator, readers of this journal should be intrigued by a hitherto unpublished interview conducted by Jon Cook... [Sebald] reflects on his decision to write in German rather than English.’ — Iain Galbraith, Translation and Literature 22.1 (Spring 2013), 137-42
‘Und dennoch ist es nicht nur ein Buch von Freunden über einen verstorbenen Autor, sondern ein Handbuch im besten Sinne des Wortes. Auf höchstem Niveau gibt es Auskunft über Sebalds Kindheit im Allgäu und seinen akademischen Werdegang; über seine Arbeitsweise als Universitätslehrer und die polemische Stoßrichtung seiner wissenschaftlichen Veröffentlichungen; über Sebalds Umgang mit Photographien, die einen integralen Teil seines Werkes bilden; es bietet einen profunden Einblick in seine private Bibliothek und den Stellenwert, den bestimmte Autoren in ihr halten; führt in den Nachlass ein, der in Marbach liegt und verschwiegen ist wie Sebald selbst es war; gibt Schriftstellern und Dichtern das Wort, die Texte über Sebald geschrieben haben; druckt unveröffentlichte Stücke aus Sebalds Nachlass ab; enthält Bibliographien zu seinem Gesamtwerk und der dazu erschienenen internationalen Sekundärliteratur, die bis ins Jahr 2011 Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit erheben dürfen und 170 große, dichtbedruckte Se’ — Jakob Hessing, Arbitrium 34.2, 2016, 246-50
‘The volume offers an abundance of previously unpublished textual and visual material — much of it from Sebald's literary estate but also photographs, letters, syllabi, and personal testimonies provided by friends and others — to offer glimpses into the author's personal and professional life and to contextualize and historicize further his work as a writer, teacher, academic, and critic.’ — Markus Zisselsberger, Monatshefte 104.4, 2012, 685-88
‘Rediscovered’ Pieces: (1) Die hölzernen Engel von East Anglia; (2) Leben Ws; (3) Waterloo; (4) Two Poems by Michael Hulse, translated by W. G. Sebald; (5) Feuer und Rauch 338; (6) Ausgrabung der Vergangenheit (on Michael Hamburger) 344; (7) Michael Hambur W. G. Sebald
Three Conversations: (1) Echoes from the Past: Conversation with Piet de Moor (Brussels, 1992); (2) Lost in Translation? Conversation with Jon Cook (Norwich, 1999); (3) In This Distant Place: Conversation with Steve Wasserman (Los Angeles, 2001) W. G. Sebald