Alumni Books

Im Abseits

Im Abseits: W. G. Sebalds Ästhetik des Marginalen (Aisthesis, 2019)

This monograph considers the question of marginality in the works of the German author W. G. Sebald (1944-2001), who, though having lived most of his life in England, wrote virtually all his prose and essays in his native German. Using Sebald’s papers and his annotations in the works of thinkers such as Benjamin, Scholem, Proust, Adorno, Lévi-Strauss, Bloch, Horkheimer, Canetti, Woolf, Nabokov. Kermode and Wittgenstein, the study constructs a close reading of the trope of marginality in the principle motifs of Sebald’s oeuvre: materialism and metaphysics, time and space, social criticism and the messianic. Sebald does not allude to marginality simply in order to evoke a certain philosophical mood of melancholy or elegiac reflection on the human condition. Rather, marginality emerges as the crucial aspect in the aesthetics of his literary production and, by extension, as a fundamentally ethical concern in his critique of modernity.

More Info