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Shadows of Reality: A Catalogue of W.G. Sebald’s Photographic Materials

Shadows of Reality: A Catalogue of W.G. Sebald’s Photographic Materials

Current price: $59.95
Publication Date: December 12th, 2023
The MIT Press
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The first-ever volume of the photographs of German writer W.G. Sebald, exquisitely designed to shed new light on his creative process, as it chronicles the images and encounters that shaped his writing life.

Shadows of Reality presents a unique, fully illustrated catalogue of W.G. Sebald’s photographs: an extraordinary combination of film negatives, prints, and slides from the University of East Anglia’s photographic collection, the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, and the Sebald Estate. Complementing the exhibition Lines of Sight: W.G. Sebald’s East Anglia and edited by literary scholar Clive Scott and photography curator Nick Warr, this wonderfully comprehensive book covers the multiple photographic facets of Sebald’s published work and includes a substantial amount of material that has not been made public before.

Introduced by Nick Warr, who offers an intriguing overview of the author's critical relationship to photography, Shadows of Reality also includes an illuminating interview with Michael Brandon-Jones, the photographer who collaborated with Sebald on all of his publications. The book features a collection of extracts—principally on photography—from interviews with Sebald himself, bequeathed to the archive of recordings held at the University of East Anglia by his close friend Gordon Turner, who also provides a memoir. Accompanying these are inspired essays by Clive Scott and Angela Breidbach on Sebald’s writing-with-photographs and the complex and mercurial interactions of those photographs with narrative design.

A deeply important collection for anyone interested in Sebald’s creative processes or the ways in which photography might serve fiction, Shadows of Reality is an inexhaustible treasure trove of new discoveries and revelations about the cherished international author.

About the Author

Clive Scott is Emeritus Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and an Emeritus fellow of the British Academy. Among his many roles and honors, he was President of the Modern Humanities Research Association and Head of the School of Literature and Creative Writing, and he received the R. Gapper Book Prize in 2004 for Channel Crossings: French and English Poetry in Dialogue 1550–2000.

Nick Warr is Lecturer in Art History and Curation in the School of Art, Media, and American Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is also Curator of Photographic Collections, Course Director of Art History and World Art Studies, and Academic Director of the East Anglian Film Archive.

Praise for Shadows of Reality: A Catalogue of W.G. Sebald’s Photographic Materials

Included in the New York Times’s Best Art Books of 2023