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Sebald's work appears in sensitive and elegant English translations by Michael Hulse.

The New York Times

Michael Hulse

Michael Hulse (1955– ) is an English translator, critic, and poet. Hulse has translated more than sixty books from the German, and is known best for his translations of W. G. Sebald’s books. Hulse lived and taught in Germany for many years, but is now an Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Warwick. He has won first prizes in the National Poetry Competition and the Bridport Poetry Competition, as well as the Society of Authors’ Eric Gregory and Cholmondeley Awards.


Vertigo

Fiction by W.G. Sebald

translated by Michael Hulse

Perfectly titled, Vertigo —W.G. Sebald's marvelous first novel — is a work that teeters on the edge: compelling, puzzling, and deeply unsettling.

An unnamed narrator, beset by nervous ailments, journeys accross Europe to Vienna, Venice, Verona, Riva, and finally to his childhood home in a small Bavarian village. He is also journeying into the past. Traveling in the footsteps of Stendhal, Casanova, and Kafka, the narrator draws the reader, line by line, into a dizzying web of history, biography, legends, literature, and — most perilously — memories.



The Rings of Saturn

by W.G. Sebald

translated by Michael Hulse

*The Rings of Saturn*, with its curious archive of photographs, records a walking tour of the eastern coast of England. A few of the things that cross the path and mind of its narrator (who both is and is not Sebald) are lonely eccentrics. Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson", the natural history of the herring, Borges, a matchstick model of the Temple of Jerusalem, Sir Thomas Browne's skull, recession-hit seaside towns, Joseph Conrad, the once-thriving silk industry of Norwich, Swinburne, the dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, and the massive bombings of WWII.

Mesmerized by the mutability of all things, the narrator catalogs the transmigration of whole worlds: "On every new thing, there lies already the shadow of annihilation."



The Emigrants

by W.G. Sebald

translated by Michael Hulse

The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at first to be the straightforward biographies of four Germans in exile. Sebald reconstructs the lives of a painter, a doctor, an elementary-school teacher, and Great Uncle Ambrose. Following (literally) in their footsteps, the narrator retraces routes of exile which lead from Lithuania to London, from Munich to Manchester, from the South German provinces to Switzerland, France, New York, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. Along with memories, documents, and diaries of the Holocaust, he collects photographs—the enigmatic snapshots which stud The Emigrants and bring to mind family photo albums. Sebald combines precise documentary with fictional motifs, and as he puts the question to realism, the four stories merge into one unfathomable requiem.



Sebald Set

by W.G. Sebald

translated by Michael Hulse

New Directions is delighted to announce beautiful new editions of these three classic Sebald novels, including his two greatest works, The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn. All three novels are distinguished by their translations, every line of which Sebald himself made pitch-perfect, slaving to carry into English all his essential elements: the shadows, the lambent fallings-back, nineteenth-century Germanic undertones, tragic elegiac notes, and his unique, quiet wit.



The Devil's Blindspot

Fiction by Alexander Kluge

translated by Michael Hulse

The 173 stories collected in Alexander Kluge’s The Devil’s Blind Spot range from a dozen pages to just half a page in length: these tales are like novels in pill form. The whole is arranged in five chapters. The first group illustrates the little-known virtues of the Devil; the second explores love (from Kant to the opera); the third (entitled "Sarajevo Is Everywhere") addresses power; the fourth considers the cosmos; and the fifth ranges all our "knowledge" against our feelings. Stories such as "Origin of Iraq as a Case for the Files" and "The Devil in the White House" display Alexander Kluge’s special genius for making found material his own. From the wreck of the Kursk to failed love affairs to Chernobyl, Kluge alights on precise details, marching us step by step through a black comedy of the exact stages of thinking that lead to disaster. These semi-documentary stories radiate what W.G. Sebald termed "Kluge’s intellectual steadfastness" as he undertakes his "archaeological excavation of the slag-heaps of our collective existence."



Vertigo (Old Edition)

Fiction by W.G. Sebald

translated by Michael Hulse

Vertigo is the marvelous first novel by W.G. Sebald: "The most exciting, and most mysteriously sublime, of contemporary European writers" (James Wood, The New Republic). An unnamed narrator, beset by nervous ailments, journeys across Europe to Vienna, Venice, Verona, Riva, and finally to his childhood home in a small Bavarian village. He is also journeying into the past. Traveling in the footsteps of Stendhal, Casanova and Kafka, the narrator draws the reader line by line into a dizzying web of history, biography, autobiography, legends, literature, and — most perilously — memories.



The Emigrants (Old Edition)

Fiction by W.G. Sebald

translated by Michael Hulse

The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at first to be the straightforward biographies of four Germans in exile. Sebald reconstructs the lives of a painter, a doctor, an elementary-school teacher, and Great Uncle Ambrose. Following (literally) in their footsteps, the narrator retraces routes of exile which lead from Lithuania to London, from Munich to Manchester, from the South German provinces to Switzerland, France, New York, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. Along with memories, documents, and diaries of the Holocaust, he collects photographs—the enigmatic snapshots which stud The Emigrants and bring to mind family photo albums. Sebald combines precise documentary with fictional motifs, and as he puts the question to realism, the four stories merge into one unfathomable requiem.


Available: October 01 1997