Shadows of Reality

Shadows of Reality

9781911343660
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For the first time ever, this volume presents a thrillingly comprehensive, fully-illustrated catalogue of all photographic materials (negatives, prints, slides) left in the University’s photographic archives by W. G. Sebald at the time of his death in 2001; these have never been made public before in their entirety. Every care has been given to the quality of reproduction, layout, annotation and overall design to ensure maximum clarity for researchers and to make vivid Sebald’s working methods to the delight of enthusiasts across the globe. As a result of privileged access to those who collaborated and shared with Sebald close working connections, the volume is a trove of unique insights. Among much else besides, it contains an illuminating interview with Michael Brandon-Jones, the photographic expert who prepared all of Sebald’s photographs in the darkrooms of University of East Anglia. It also contains a collection of extracts, principally on the subject of photography, from interviews with Sebald held in the library of recordings in the possession of his close friend, Gordon Turner, who also provides a memoir. Accompanying them are inspired essays by Clive Scott and Angela Breidbach on Sebald’s writing with photographs and the complex and mercurial interactions of those photographs with narrative design.  While many of the photographs discussed relate directly to a remarkable literary achievement, the book presents a lively sense too of those photographs that never made it to the printed page. How they acted, taken from a very wide, very mixed variety of sources, as constant aide-mémoires and triggers in Sebald’s creative consciousness, constituting a kind of biography of his spiritual life. It is difficult to over-emphasize the importance of this collection for anyone interested in Sebald’s creative processes or the ways in which photography might serve fiction. It promises an inexhaustible treasure-trove of new discoveries and is a book unique in what it can newly reveal about this cherished, international author.