The Rings of Saturn
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The Rings of Saturn

By (author) W. G. Sebald , Translated by Michael Hulse

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A fictional account of a walking tour through England's East Anglia, author W.G. Sebald's home for more than 20 years, "The Rings of Saturn" explores Britain's pastoral and imperial past. Its ten strange and beautiful chapters, with their curious archive of photographs, consider dreams and reality. As the narrator walks, a company of ghosts keeps him company -- Thomas Browne, Swinburne, Chateaubriand, Joseph Conrad, Borges -- conductors between the past and present. The narrator meets lonely eccentrics inhabiting tumble-down mansions, and hears of the furious coastal battles of two world wars. He tells of far-off China and the introduction of the silk industry to Norwich. He walks to the now-forsaken harbor where Conrad first set foot on English soil and visits the site of the once-great city of Dunwich, now sunk in the sea, where schools of herring swim. As the narrator catalogs the transmigration of whole worlds, the reader is mesmerized by change and oblivion, survival and memories.

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  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 149.86 x 203.2 x 30.48mm | 408.23g
  • 02 Jul 1998
  • New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • New York
  • English
  • 0811213781
  • 9780811213783
  • 224,085

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Review quote

[A]n extraordinary palimpsest of nature, human, and literary history. --Merle Rubin"

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Back cover copy

A fictional account of a walking tour through England's East Anglia, Sebald's home for more than twenty years, The Rings of Saturn explores Britain's pastoral and imperial past. Its ten strange and beautiful chapters, with their curious archive of photographs, consider dreams and reality. As the narrator walks, a company of ghosts keeps him company - Thomas Browne, Swinburne, Chateaubriand, Joseph Conrad, Borges - conductors between the past and present. The narrator meets lonely eccentrics inhabiting tumble-down mansions, and hears of the furious coastal battles of two world wars. He tells of far-off China and the introduction of the silk industry to Norwich. He walks to the now forsaken harbor where Conrad first set foot on English soil and visits the site of the once-great city of Dunwich, now sunk in the sea, where schools of herring swim. As the narrator catalogs the transmigration of whole worlds, the reader is mesmerized by change and oblivion, survival and memories.

show more