Sebald’s body of work proves that claim true, and it’s good to have these further products of his life-affirming imagination...


A miscellany of 16 literary and personal essays comprise the last testament of the late German-born author (1944–2001).

Sebald (Austerlitz, 2001, etc.) was a polymath whose hybrid narratives link him with such resisters of fixed classification as Borges, Calvino, the antiquarian Robert Burton, and Guy Davenport. His methods are perhaps best displayed in his travel writings—for example, those on the island of Corsica (about which he’d planned to write a book) in the opening four pieces here: on Napoleon Bonaparte’s art-collecting stepuncle, a walking tour of an ancient cemetery, and the influence of Corsica’s forested terrain on its history and folklore. Further essays focus to one degree or another on the experience of growing up in postwar Germany and the ways in which that period’s literature was shaped by the phenomenon of collective guilt. Sebald finds a precedent for the relevant intertwining of “Strangeness, Integration, and Crisis” in the legend of “wild boy” Kaspar Hauser, as depicted in Jacob Wassermann’s now-forgotten eponymous novel and Peter Handke’s challenging play Kaspar. He analyzes literary efforts to justify, explain away, or condemn Germany’s militarism in two superb analytical pieces: a consideration of the experience of “total destruction” as described by little-known writers Hermann Kasack, Alexander Kluge, and Hans Erich Nossack (“Between History and Natural History”); and a celebration of those who focused a salutary skepticism on “the myth of the good German”: notably, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Heinrich Böll, and Günter Grass (“Constructs of Mourning”). Brief tributary essays on Kafka, Nabokov, and Bruce Chatwin follow, as do more autobiographical pieces, including one arguing that “only in literature . . . can there be an attempt at restitution over and above the mere recital of facts.”

Sebald’s body of work proves that claim true, and it’s good to have these further products of his life-affirming imagination and spirit.

Pub Date: March 8, 2005

ISBN: 1-4000-6229-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2005

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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