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text 2017-05-18 16:18
18th May 2017
Austerlitz - W.G. Sebald,Anthea Bell

It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.


W.G. Sebald


W.G. Sebald (born May 18, 1944) was a German writer whose elegiac works of history and memoir explored the physical, political, and emotional fallout of World War II.

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review 2016-02-27 09:01
Stary album ze zdjęciami
Wyjechali - W.G. Sebald

Cztery opowiadania złożone z oszczędnych, po niemiecku drobiazgowych zdań, w których właściwych znaczeń opowiadanych historii trzeba się domyślać na podstawie dyskretnych aluzji. Warto jednak przyjrzeć im się z bliska, tak jak przedrukowanym w książce rysunkom i fotografiom, bo kryją w sobie opowieści o ludzkich losach, krzywdzie i zapomnieniu. A to może być najlepszą przestrogą przed obojętnością na zło.

Źródło: http://www.literaturasautee.pl/sebald-wyjechali/


Sfałszowane zdjęcie z w Würzburga - Sebald, Wyjechali

Sfałszowane zdjęcie z 1936 r. - palenie książek w Würzburgu (Sebald, Wyjechali)

Source: www.literaturasautee.pl/sebald-wyjechali
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review 2015-01-08 23:03
After Nature - W.G. Sebald,Michael Hamburger

I read this in translation,
so I can't say for certain
maybe there is some metric by which it is poetry.
Maybe the lines are not merely
broken because Sebald felt like it.
Perhaps in German this is not prosaic --
by which I am not calling Sebald's writing
by any means quotidian but
I saw no reason it could not be
arranged in full text lines.
It would sound just the same,
it would be easier to follow,
it would save space and the lives of trees.
Did the trees do something to you,
morbid walker of Suffolk,
moor-mournful Sebaldus?
I like your prose, I do.
The Rings of Saturn was great.
This is like Rings watered down.
It even covers several of the same
subjects (Suffolk, sadness, Edward Fitzgerald)
and reads much the same, half
travel guide half thought-piece.
But less. Less than Saturn.
And I want more.
Line breaks are not more.


Matthias Grünewald
last great medieval artist,
rejector of Renaissance classicism.
Married to a convert Jew,
although Sebald insists the man
was gay for Neithart.


No portrait is known to exist of
Georg Wilhelm Steller
botanist, zoologist, physician, explorer,
drawer of this sea-cow.
Named after him, the species outlived
him by only twenty-five years.
Except his Jay all other
creatures named for him are now
extinct or in danger of it.


W.G. is not a bit hubristic
to include yourself among these greats?
Well, let it slide.
The past is another country,
and anyway,
the man is dead.

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text 2014-07-20 18:51
Peregrinatio Sebaldi
The Rings of Saturn - W.G. Sebald,Michael Hulse

This is a strange and melancholy journey, not really through Suffolk but through Sebald's mind. With poetry and pathos he narrates a wandering, but not random, series of extended meditations inspired by history and memory, local geography and phenomena, people he meets or sees on television, books he's read. We begin and end with Thomas Browne, moving in between from translation to experimentation, from Roger Casement to Dutch Elm Disease to the Troubles. We also return at times to the hospital room in which the narrator lies suffering from a vaguely described inertia, medical or mental.

St Sebald, from whom the author's family name comes

There is a documentary called "Patience" based on or inspired by this book, I'll have to track it down. I'll also definitely be reading more Sebald. Perhaps After Nature as a paired reading with Against Nature? I'd also be interested in After Nature because it was translated by Hamburger, who was a personal friend with whom Sebald seems to have felt he had much in common (he visits him in The Rings of Saturn and discusses this). I'm also interested in reading his poetry, as I very much liked Kay Ryan's poem inspired by this book.


For W.G. Sebald, 1944-2001

This was the work
of St. Sebolt, one
of his miracles:
he lit a fire with
icicles. He struck
them like a steel
to flint, did St.
Sebolt. It
makes sense
only at a certain
body heat. How
cold he had
to get to learn
that ice would
burn. How cold
he had to stay.
When he could
feel his feet
he had to
back away.


Shrine of St Sebald with his relics, Sankt Sebalduskirche, Nuremberg.

(I've been there!)

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review 2014-01-10 00:00
Austerlitz - W.G. Sebald http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/72908914865/austerlitz-by-w-g-sebald

I love the way Max Sebald writes. His language is rich and warm, quite sophisticated, but still accessible. I religiously claim W.G. Sebald as the master of all dream-state authorship. I have never read anyone so gifted at lulling one to sleep and slowly, unhurriedly, in some leisurely way, unsuspectingly knocking our heads off at the very same time. My problem with Austerlitz is that it just never happened for me. And this is the first time Sebald ever failed to excite me. I could never get engaged with this seemingly-astounding production, and this saddens me, really to no end. I am quite disappointed. In fact I have even gone so far as to blame myself for feeling this way. The character of Austerlitz left me feeling nothing for him. I owned no stake in his memorable misfortunes. Of course I felt bad for his slowly-recovering memories over what made victims of so many in Europe during that awful period of our world's history. But the character Austerlitz never evolved for me. I hate to admit it but I just didn't care about him, even though I knew all the awful things that happened all around him. His story left me feeling cold.

In the book-blurb hype one critic said that the book "takes its time lifting off the ground", and I find that is true for almost any Sebald entry into literature. It is something I like very much about the Sebald oeuvre. But I kept bracing for liftoff and it just never occurred. I actually got a bit stressed and tense being so eager for it all to surely, eventually, occur. Perhaps at some later date I might reacquaint myself with the book and see if I might still fly. But in the meantime I suppose I will forgive him for letting me down as he has so often thrilled me to no end. This ends my study of Max Sebald. I thought I was saving his very best work (and last) for the end. My mistake, and not my first one, either.

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