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On the Natural History of Destruction (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 11. Februar 2003

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Gebundene Ausgabe, 11. Februar 2003
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Pressestimmen

"Most writers, even good ones, write of what can be written; and move by their own angles into the discourse of their day. The very greatest write of what cannot be written; gravitating not toward the discourse but toward the silence. They break it, like the crust on untrodden snow. I think of [Anna] Akhmatova and Primo Levi, for example, and of W. G. Sebald, who died in 2001."
-Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review

"
Sebald is the real thing. . . . Sublime."
-The Globe and Mail

Synopsis

During World War Two, 131 German cities and towns were targeted by Allied bombs, a good number almost entirely flattened. Six hundred thousand German civilians died - a figure twice that of all American war casualties. Seven and a half million Germans were left homeless. Given the astonishing scope of the devastation, W. G. Sebald asks, why does the subject occupy so little space in Germany's cultural memory? On the Natural History of Destruction probes deeply into this ominous silence. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This posthumous volume of Sebald's non-fiction writing is a major contribution to German literary criticism and politico-cultural analysis. Accompanying his reflections on the traumatic impact of the air war against German cities are essays studying the very diverse reactions of three 'witnesses' of that time as reflected in their post-war literary works. In AIR WAR AND LITERATURE, originally presented as the Zurich Lectures, Sebald delves deeply into some very uncomfortable questions. The air war on 131 German cities killed some six hundred thousand civilians and destroyed more than the homes of seven and a half million people. Why have these events resulted mostly in public silence for decades? Why have so few literary works attempted to speak to the traumatic impact on the population? Most Germans seem to have tried to come to terms with the realities of the war years by suppressing their immediate pain and the longer-term suffering. Sebald has thoroughly researched a multitude of authors, both in fiction and non-fiction. Yet, he deems their explanations unsatisfactory. Heinrich Boell is cited as one of the early exceptions, yet publication of his book, The Silent Angel, was delayed by forty years.
Sebald contemplates the different causes for this persistent silence. For example, basing himself on a range of contemporary sources, he confronts the reader with a detailed description of the Hamburg firestorm. As disturbing as his account is, Sebald's reflective style makes it readable. His objective reporting neither criticises the Allies' campaign nor does he apologise for German actions leading to the war.
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