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NYRSeminars: W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn

The German author’s 1995 novel follows in the footsteps of a nameless narrator as he takes a long and erratic walking tour of Suffolk. As he moves through landscapes that seem increasingly haunted by violence both natural and man-made, his encounters with places and people trigger ruminations on everything from the history of silkworm cultivation to the writings of Conrad and Hölderlin to the architecture of the Temple of Jerusalem, become a means of ruminating on history and literature, the passage of time, and cultural decay.

Schedule

Four Wednesdays: March 6, 13, 20, 27

About “Journeys”

Tales of exciting—and often perilous—journeys away from home have been a staple of storytelling ever since Homer’s Odyssey introduced the figure of the wandering hero to Western Literature. In this series of 5 weekly seminars, Daniel Mendelsohn, the New York Review’s Editor-at-Large, will lead participants through readings of five works in which journeys and voyages become vehicles for exploring the self and the world, language and art, time and mortality. The first seminar, devoted to the Odyssey itself—the model in so many ways for all subsequent travel writing in the European tradition—will be followed by four seminars devoted to twentieth-century works by Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, W. G. Sebald, and Rachel Cusk. Meetings will take the form of both lectures with Q&A sessions and more intimate online seminars in which Mendelsohn, after delivering opening remarks and observations, will invite participants to a wider discussion.

You may read descriptions of all five seminars here.

About Daniel Mendelsohn

Daniel Mendelsohn, the Editor-at-Large of The New York Review of Books, is an award-winning critic, author, essayist, and translator. His books include An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic and three collections of essays and reviews, including Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture and Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones, both published by New York Review Books. Mr. Mendelsohn is the Charles Ranlet Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College and the Director of the Robert B. Silvers Foundation, a charitable trust that supports writers of nonfiction, essay, and criticism.

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