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Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar

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!)