Author Archives: Anthony

About Anthony

Like all those possessing a library, Aurelian was aware that he was guilty of not knowing his in its entirety.

Doomed by Egotism

I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in his own prison Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison Only at nightfall, ethereal rumours Revive for a … Continue reading

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A Radically Altered Human Species

The implicit starting point for Sebald’s literary essays is the melancholy conviction that, during the course of the twentieth century, the history of mankind finally showed itself to be on a downward path and that, therefore, the two disastrous world … Continue reading

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Sebald’s The Emigrants and Phantasms

Walking England’s oldest pathway in between immersing in WG Sebald, placing foot after foot on a path used by walkers 5000 years ago, reflecting on the memories and stones and truths in The Emigrants. A grass trackway crosses chalk downs beside clumps of trees sitting … Continue reading

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Discovery: Giovanni Battista Lusieri

In preparation for a few days in Venice (travelling down by train across the Swiss Alps) I’ve read much of Ruskin on Venice and gazed dreamily at Canaletto’s hallucinatory paintings. As often happens, in my unsystematic research for a trip, I discovered a once … Continue reading

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Canetti: Right Moment for a Book

Though not a huge Canetti enthusiast, the passage below feels apt, given how long it has taken me to get around to Sebald’s Vertigo. The temptation is to dive straight into The Emigrants but I shall delay my last of … Continue reading

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The Drunken Boat by Arthur Rimbaud

I followed deadpan Rivers down and down, And knew my haulers had let go the ropes. Whooping redskins took my men as targets And nailed them nude to technicolour posts. I didn’t give a damn about the crews, Or the … Continue reading

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Peculiar, if not Deranged

I have this fascination for fictional libraries, imagining myself absorbed for hours checking out the titles and editions on their shelves. Aside from Borges’s speculations about fictional books, one of my favourites is detailed by Anne Michaels in Fugitive Pieces (I’ve long pondered … Continue reading

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Vertigo by WG Sebald

Freud claimed that a mourner perceives the world as empty after the loss of a love-object. Sebald’s narrator in Vertigo is filled with this sense of melancholy, which coloured my days reading this book. This mood finds an echo, not … Continue reading

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One Wrong Move

What does human reason become when it steps outside its limits? There’s this chilling passage in Sebald’s Vertigo, a digression into Giacomo Casanova’s incarceration in the Doge’s Palace prison chambers Casanova considered the limits of human reason. He established that, while it might … Continue reading

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Notes on Stendhal, via Sebald, Beckett et al.

Sebald chooses soldier, lover and would-be writer Marie-Henri Beyle to open the first section of Vertigo. He never mentions him by his better known pen-name Stendhal, nor does he reveal that his ‘essay’ and photographs are drawn from Stendhal’s fictionalised autobiography La Vie de Henri … Continue reading

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