The question of genre in W. G. Sebald’s ‘prose’ (towards a post-memorial literature of restitution)
in A literature of restitution
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Writing in The New Republic, James Wood noted that the appearance of The Emigrants caused him to recall 'Walter Benjamin's remark in his essay on Proust that all great works found a new genre or dissolve an old one. In Understanding W. G. Sebald Mark McCulloh remarks that after the publication of The Emigrants, critics proclaimed that a 'new genre' had been created. The majority of critics seem to agree that his first three idiosyncratic prose texts, The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn and Vertigo, are not properly novelistic. Going beyond the notion of 'generic hybridity', J. J. Long and Anne Whitehead assert that Sebald 'is far removed from the kind of ludic textual experimentation associated with certain strands of postmodernism'. Generic hybridity is the primary or salient characteristic of postmodern literature.

A literature of restitution

Critical essays on W. G. Sebald


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