Anthea Bell
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Translating W. G. Sebald, with and without the author
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For a translator of modern German literature, it was an interesting experience to render W. G. Sebald's (Max) unique style, which preserves the special affinity of earlier German writers with long, intricate sentences made up of many interlinking subordinate clauses. Professor Jean Boase-Beier, a former colleague of Max Sebald, has suggested that by using direct narrative punctuated by 'Austerlitz', Max was avoiding German indirect speech, which is indicated by the use of the subjunctive. In trying to create illusion, translators have their own small contribution to make to the transmission of literature, and perhaps in the case of a writer like Max Sebald even to the work of restitution of which he speaks.

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A literature of restitution

Critical essays on W. G. Sebald


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