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Unrecounted by W. G. Sebald
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Unrecounted (edition 2005)

by W. G. Sebald, Jan Peter Tripp (Illustrator), Michael Hamburger (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1102109,733 (3.81)2
parrishlantern's review
Pliny says

that elephants are

intelligent & righteous

revere the stars

& worship the sun

& the moon



This is one of a series of Micropoems (33) in this slim volume by W.G. Sebald, each one is accompanied by a pair of eyes which are actually photo realistic lithographs created by Jan Peter Tripp. Some of the individuals featured are William Burroughs, Jorge Luis Borges, Rembrandt, Francis Bacon and Javier Marias plus various other people including Sebald himself.

Most of these poems are around the 20 word mark or less and although they do not have a direct relationship to the picture, act as a dialogue between the two, with some offering a possible greater clarity to us as onlookers than others

Whilst others appear to be merely chance, leaving you to form your own connections, your own dialogue with the images and lines on the page, like some interloper into the hermetic world of this small book.

There is also a great deal of information here; the translator is Michael Hamburger, a poet in his own right, who provides a translators note as an introduction to the work.

This is followed by fellow poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s contribution, two poems - one concerning Sebald the other Tripp.

Then almost like a bookend there is an essay on the work of the artist, Jan Peter Tripp by Andrea Kohler



Which brings us nicely to the artist. Sebald has described Jan Peter Tripp's art as taking realism to an almost unimaginable extreme. In an essay about Tripp's work, Sebald talked of 'the role of the observer and the observed objects being reversed. Personally my first look whilst flipping through these poems and what I presumed were photographs,when the realisation dawned that these weren’t,that they had been created by the artist’s own hands, well I didn’t know what to think, I scrutinised them, I tried to sneak up on them, quickly casting glances, when I thought they weren’t looking. I failed and went back to the words.

In deepest sleep

a Polish mechanic

came & for a

thousand silver dollars made me

a new perfectly

functioning head.

Some books let you in from the turning of the title page, others leave you as though on the doorstep, a foot in the door, not sure of welcome, you’re going to have to earn your entrance. Unrecounted is definitely one of the latter, you’ll peruse the images and accompanying poems, eyes gliding off the eyes on the page to the words and back again, making connections, trying to find routes into its dialogue but this is ideolectic, the patterns here are those of an individual, there probably are reference points, but like all reference points, they act as signposts to something - not the thing itself. ( )
  parrishlantern | Jul 8, 2012 |
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Showing 2 of 2
I have become a bit of a Michael Hamburger fan now because of his translations of Sebald's poems collected here and his wonderful essay on both W.G. Sebald and Jan Peter Tripp found within these same pages. I came into this book carefully and I had some experienced doubt as to what I was getting myself into. But the more I read now of anything by Sebald the better I like it and understand him. These are all marvelous little poems collected here in Unrecounted. And Jan Peter Tripp's work is understated, and amazing, if that makes any sense at all to you. I absolutely love work that sneaks up on you, that doesn't explain itself at all, but the more time you spend with it the better it becomes. I used to sell brick in order to get my peas and carrots. I would tell perspective homeowners that rarely does brick look better the closer you get to it. But when it does, you really got yourself something, and somewhat at a bargain too in this present world of clones, fakes, and wannabes. This book is no fake. It is the real deal. And it is going to get better with each successive look between the pages. Nothing short of beauty and art, and for the bargain price I get to have it resting here until my cold, dead hands figure otherwise. ( )
  MSarki | Jun 5, 2013 |
Pliny says

that elephants are

intelligent & righteous

revere the stars

& worship the sun

& the moon



This is one of a series of Micropoems (33) in this slim volume by W.G. Sebald, each one is accompanied by a pair of eyes which are actually photo realistic lithographs created by Jan Peter Tripp. Some of the individuals featured are William Burroughs, Jorge Luis Borges, Rembrandt, Francis Bacon and Javier Marias plus various other people including Sebald himself.

Most of these poems are around the 20 word mark or less and although they do not have a direct relationship to the picture, act as a dialogue between the two, with some offering a possible greater clarity to us as onlookers than others

Whilst others appear to be merely chance, leaving you to form your own connections, your own dialogue with the images and lines on the page, like some interloper into the hermetic world of this small book.

There is also a great deal of information here; the translator is Michael Hamburger, a poet in his own right, who provides a translators note as an introduction to the work.

This is followed by fellow poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s contribution, two poems - one concerning Sebald the other Tripp.

Then almost like a bookend there is an essay on the work of the artist, Jan Peter Tripp by Andrea Kohler



Which brings us nicely to the artist. Sebald has described Jan Peter Tripp's art as taking realism to an almost unimaginable extreme. In an essay about Tripp's work, Sebald talked of 'the role of the observer and the observed objects being reversed. Personally my first look whilst flipping through these poems and what I presumed were photographs,when the realisation dawned that these weren’t,that they had been created by the artist’s own hands, well I didn’t know what to think, I scrutinised them, I tried to sneak up on them, quickly casting glances, when I thought they weren’t looking. I failed and went back to the words.

In deepest sleep

a Polish mechanic

came & for a

thousand silver dollars made me

a new perfectly

functioning head.

Some books let you in from the turning of the title page, others leave you as though on the doorstep, a foot in the door, not sure of welcome, you’re going to have to earn your entrance. Unrecounted is definitely one of the latter, you’ll peruse the images and accompanying poems, eyes gliding off the eyes on the page to the words and back again, making connections, trying to find routes into its dialogue but this is ideolectic, the patterns here are those of an individual, there probably are reference points, but like all reference points, they act as signposts to something - not the thing itself. ( )
  parrishlantern | Jul 8, 2012 |
Showing 2 of 2

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