By W. G. Sebald
After Nature, W. G. Sebald’s first literary paintings, now translated into English via Michael Hamburger, explores the lives of 3 males attached through their stressed wondering of humankind’s position within the flora and fauna. From the efforts of every, “an order arises, in areas appealing and comforting, notwithstanding extra merciless, too, than the former nation of ignorance.” the 1st determine is the nice German Re-naissance painter Matthias Grünewald. the second one is the Enlightenment botanist-explorer Georg Steller, who observed Bering to the Arctic. The 3rd is the writer himself, who describes his wanderings between landscapes scarred by means of the wrecked certainties of earlier ages.
After Nature introduces a few of the issues that W. G. Sebald explored in his next books. A haunting imaginative and prescient of the waxing and waning tides of beginning and devastation that lie in the back of and earlier than us, it confirms the author’s place as essentially the most profound and unique writers of our time.
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Additional info for After Nature (Modern Library Paperbacks)
39 HIRING THE MAN WHO BUILDS FIRES FOR A LIVING He comes when I ask him, dunng the last half hour Of evemng, begms With his earthen mcles, His nngs of rock Infunatmg swagger, He carnes about him the distmct odor of mitigatmg humus But he knows his busmess He disappears agam and agam Into the trees, taken as If the forest knew him personally, And comes back always from another duection, his arms Full of branches havmg fallen themselves From great heights Without wmgs mghts ago When the trees are not totally black, not yet fully entrenched In the grey sky, Imagme how he kneels down And bends close, how he proceeds with the arrangement What IS It he beheves about this altar?
With one fmger, the pocks Of the orange nnd become Its craters A white fruit, how simple to consume It by mouth, to chew It And spit silver seeds In gloves, I call It the divmer of snow, The seer of Ice. Lasr December, As I stood at the door watchmg you leave, It was that hard knob that will never turn Gnppmg the sides of the boat tomght It IS the essential Illummatwn In the throats of all fish, the way By whiCh water flames And as I he On the hillside, my hands flat to the sheet, It IS only a cushwn agamst which I see myself spread Holdmg your face between my hands then, The moon appeanng on your nght, As you bend to my neck, the moon Shiftmg to your left, It IS that com Defmitely shmmg lucky side up.
There is a house That does not speak this language and consequently Tells us nothing. Almost laughing, my hand still on the door, I stood watching his feet, and had there been an old woman Living in the attic, then looking down through a chink in the ceiling She would have seen in two dimensions, the knuckles of his toes, The top of my head. 52 How THE FIELD, WITHOUT BEING ToucHED, CAN BE ALTERED Thmk of the field that surrounds The woman m blue walkmg on the path Notice how each harr of each gram head Beside her comes defmitely mto view Agamst the dark rehef of her Jacket, Then fades out of focus agam as she passes.