chapter  3
A sense of place in the Anthropocene
W.G. Sebald and East Anglia
ByKatie Ritson
Pages 22

This chapter explores the relation between space and place in the Anthropocene through a close reading of Die Ringe des Saturn by W.G. Sebald (1995). Sebald’s work is set in East Anglia and explores the interconnectedness of a specific coastal landscape—a backwater—with histories from all corners of the globe. Its focus on the entanglement of human-natural relations during the Enlightenment in Western history—the period coinciding with the spread of fossil fuel use and technological advances—allow it to be read as a literary account of the birth of the Anthropocene. My novel interpretation draws on recent Sebald scholarship in German and English, recognizing his significance on both sides of the North Sea, and his ability to transcend and unite both literary traditions.