Sebald, W.G. After nature.

Author:Beschta, James
Position:Brief Article - Book Review - Young Adult Review

Random House, Modern Library. 116p. c2002. 0-375-75658-2. $11.95. A

After Nature, a prelude to the novels for which Sebald is most commonly recognized, is an example of the somber tone, clear description and graceful prosody that distinguish his style. Here Sebald presents two distinct sections, the first regarding Matthias Grunewald, a 16th-century painter, the second concerned with Georg Steller. a 19th-century botanist, before presenting a concluding autobiographical third poem. While the first two poems are thoroughly researched and provide interesting information, the creation of their individual characters through interpretive speculation provides intriguing elements of venue and motivation to somewhat obscure historic figures and situations.

It is, however, a sense of the sophisticated intersections between the three individuals that unites the work. The use of motifs such as water, green vegetation and snow suggests that relationship in style. But there is a more subtle...

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