Other literary forms
In the United States, W. G. Sebald (ZAY-bahlt) gained recognition primarily as a writer of novels. In Germany, his literary output included poetry and critical essays, only a portion of which have been translated into English. His writing as a critic first appeared in his work on German Expressionist playwright Carl Sternheim, Carl Sternheim: Kritiker und Opfer der Wilhelminischen Ära (1969; Carl Sternheim: critic and victim of the Wilhelminian era) and in his dissertation on the novelist Alfred Döblin, titled “Der Mythus der Zerstörung im Werk Alfred Döblins” (1973; the myth of destruction in the work of Alfred Döblin).
Sebald’s history of Austrian literature, Die Beschreibung des Unglücks: Zur österreichischen Literatur von Stifter bis Handke (the description of melancholy in Austrian literature from Stifter to Handke), appeared in 1985, and his edited collection of critical essays on modern German theater, A Radical Stage: Theatre in Germany in the 1970’s and 1980’s, in 1988. In 1999, Sebald’s extended meditation on post-World War II German literature’s reluctance to examine the consequences of the bombings of Germany in World War II, Luftkrieg und Literatur (On the Natural History of Destruction, 2003), was published. A collection of his critical essays, Campo Santo, appeared in 2005. Sebald’s important 1998 collection of critical essays on Robert Walser, Gottfried Keller, and others, Logis in einem Landhaus (lodgings in a country house), remains untranslated into English. After his death, two volumes of Sebald’s poetry—For Years Now (2001) and the English translation of his 1988 collection Nach der Natur: Ein Elementargedicht, titled After Nature (2002)—were published.