After Nature (Hardcover)
Random House, 9780375504853, 128pp.
Publication Date: September 3, 2002
Other Editions of This Title:
After Nature, W. G. Sebald’s first literary work, now translated into English by Michael Hamburger, explores the lives of three men connected by their restless questioning of humankind’s place in the natural world. From the efforts of each, “an order arises, in places beautiful and comforting, though more cruel, too, than the previous state of ignorance.” The first figure is the great German Re-naissance painter Matthias Grünewald. The second is the Enlightenment botanist-explorer Georg Steller, who accompanied Bering to the Arctic. The third is the author himself, who describes his wanderings among landscapes scarred by the wrecked certainties of previous ages.
After Nature introduces many of the themes that W. G. Sebald explored in his subsequent books. A haunting vision of the waxing and waning tides of birth and devastation that lie behind and before us, it confirms the author’s position as one of the most profound and original writers of our time.
Praise For After Nature…
“In the five or six years before he was killed in December 2001, Max Sebald began to reap the harvest of a lifetime’s immaculate thinking, feeling, and writing. He became widely celebrated for the originality of his forms, for his range, and for his emotional seriousness. All these things are present here, in the first of his posthumously published works. In language that is at once plainly strong and spiderishly delicate, he addresses the themes of migration, stillness, and remembering which were his recurrent preoccupation. But by presenting them within the mixed disciplines and freedoms of blank verse, he gives them terrific freshness and potency. After Nature is a deeply intelligent book, but also a marvelously warm, exciting, and compassionate one.” —Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate of England
“W. G. Sebald is a rare and elusive species, but still, he is an easy read, just as Kafka is. He is an addiction, and once buttonholed by his books, you have neither the wish nor the will to tear yourself away.” —Anthony Lane, The New Yorker