Translated by James Reidel
5 x 8.5 inches, 72 pp. March 2016
ISBN : 9780857423313
Rs 495.00 (HB)
The second book in Seagull’s ambitious series of Georg Trakl’s works, Sebastian Dreaming was the second, and final, collection prepared for publication by Trakl himself. Published after his death, it was perhaps even tied to it: forced into a military hospital by the psychological trauma of his World War I experiences, the Austrian poet requested that his publisher send him proofs of the book. He waited a week, and then overdosed on cocaine.
A century later, the book appears for the first time in English. While a number of its poems have been included in other collections, translator James Reidel argues that this particular book deserves to stand on its own and be read as one piece, as Trakl intended. Only by doing this can we begin to see Trakl in his proper time and place, as an early modern poet whose words nonetheless continue to exert a powerful hold on us while we make our way through a new, uncharted century.
Georg Trakl was born in Salzburg, Austria. As a teenager he gravitated towards poetry, incest and drug addiction and published his first work by 1908, the year he went to Vienna to attend pharmacy school and became part of that city’s fin-de-siÃ¨cle cultural life. He enjoyed early success and published his first book in 1913. A year later, however, he died of a cocaine overdose due to battle fatigue and depression from the wartime delay of his second book.
James Reidel is poet, translator, editor and biographer. In addition to the works of Georg Trakl, he has translated novels by Franz Werfel and poetry by Thomas Bernhard, among others. He is the biographer of poet Weldon Kees and author of two volumes of poetry.