Tag Archives: WG Sebald

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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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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Quirky Treasure-House of Sebald’s Mind

Leafing through an anthology of articles and essays called The Emergence of Memory: Conversations with WG Sebald, it strikes me how little of his work I’ve spent any time with. My love of his books is based solely on Rings of Saturn, his … Continue reading

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Some Well-Intentioned Reading Ideas for 2015 (updated)

These are not reading resolutions. Writers promising literary gifts lead me astray too easily for these ideas to be fixed in any way. This year I read widely covering fifty or so writers, concentrating my reading more deeply only twice on … Continue reading

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The Epic of Words

Time and again in my afternoons on the plateau, I applauded the epic of words. And I laughed as well, not the laughter of ridicule, but the laughter of recognition and complicity. Yes, there is a word for the bright spot … Continue reading

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Book List

In no particular order, this is a list of my favourite writers/books. Of course, it is incomplete. Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, Pale Fire and Speak, Memory and literary lectures Franz Kafka Geoff Dyer JG Ballard Simone … Continue reading

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Open City by Teju Cole

Open City is narrated by Julius, a part Nigerian, part German psychiatry student. Beginning with a strong Sebaldian influence as Julius aimlessly wanders around the streets and parks of New York, the story develops into a modern inquiry into the … Continue reading

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