W G Sebald Quotes & Wallpapers

W G Sebald
Total Quotes: 63


There is something peculiarly dispriting about the emptiness that wells up when, in a strange city, one dials the same telephone numbers in vain. W G Sebald
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I always read the translator's draft all the way through - a very laborious business. W G Sebald
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At the most we gaze at it in wonder, a kind of wonder which in itself is a form of dawning horror, for somehow we know by instinct that outsize buildings cast the shadow of their own destruction before them, and are designed from the first with an eye to their later existence as ruins. W G Sebald
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We take almost all the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious. W G Sebald
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It seems to me then as if all the moments of our life occupy the same space, as if future events already existed and were only waiting for us to find our way to them at last, just as when we have accepted an invitation we duly arrive in a certain house at a given time. W G Sebald
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We learn from history as much as a rabbit learns from an experiment that's performed upon it. W G Sebald
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To set one's name to a work gives no one a title to be remembered, for who knows how many of the best of men have gone without a trace? The iniquity of oblivion blindly scatters her poppyseed and when wretchedness falls upon us one summer's day like snow, all we wish for is to be forgotten. W G Sebald
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Physicists now say there is no such thing as time: everything co-exists. Chronology is entirely artificial and essentially determined by emotion. Contiguity suggests layers of things, the past and present somehow coalescing or co-existing. W G Sebald
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I believe that the black-and-white photograph, or rather the gray zones in the black-and-white photograph, stand for this territory that is located between life and death. W G Sebald
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I wonder now whether inner coldness and desolation may not be the pre-condition for making the world believe, by a kind of fraudulent showmanship, that one's own wretched heart is still aglow. W G Sebald
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No matter whether one is flying over Newfoundland or the sea of lights that stretches from Boston to Philadelphia after nightfall, over the Arabian deserts which gleam like mother-of-pearl, over the Ruhr or the city of Frankfurt, it is as though there were no people, only the things they have made and in which they are hiding. W G Sebald
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Comparing oneself with one's fellow writers is a bad idea. I would not review a fellow writer unless I had something terribly positive to say. W G Sebald
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Only in the books written in earlier times did she sometimes think she found some faint idea of what it might be like to be alive. W G Sebald
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I felt that the decrepit state of these once magnificent buildings, with their broken gutters, walls blackened by rainwater, crumbling plaster revealing the coarse masonry beneath it, windows boarded up or clad with corrugated iron, precisely reflected my own state of mind... W G Sebald
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And so they are ever returning to us, the dead. At times they come back from the ice more than seven decades later and are found at the edge of the moraine, a few polished bones and a pair of hobnailed boots. W G Sebald
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Tiny details imperceptible to us decide everything! W G Sebald
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It makes one's head heavy and giddy, as if one were not looking back down the receding perspectives of time but rather down on the earth from a great height, from one of those towers whose tops are lost to view in the clouds W G Sebald
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This then, I thought, as I looked round about me, is the representation of history. It requires a falsification of perspective. We, the survivors, see everything from above, see everything at once, and still we do not know how it was. W G Sebald
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Occasionally I write a small piece or the odd lecture in English, and I teach in English, but my fiction is always written in German. W G Sebald
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I was brought up largely by my grandfather because my father only returned from a prisoner-of-war camp in 1947 and worked in the nearest small town, so I hardly ever saw him. W G Sebald
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You could grow up in Germany in the postwar years without ever meeting a Jewish person. There were small communities in Frankfurt or Berlin, but in a provincial town in south Germany, Jewish people didn't exist. W G Sebald
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How happily, said Austerlitz, have I sat over a book in the deepening twilight until I could no longer make out the words and my mind began to wander, and how secure have I felt seated at the desk in my house in the dark night, just watching the tip of my pencil in the lamplight following its shadow, as if of its own accord and with perfect fidelity, while that shadow moved regularly from left to right, line by line, over the ruled paper. W G Sebald
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Everything our civilization has produced is entombed. W G Sebald
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Otherwise, all I remember of the denizens of the Nocturama is that several of them had strikingly large eyes, and the fixed inquiring gaze found in certain painters and philosophers who seek to penetrate the darkness which surrounds us purely by means of looking and thinking. W G Sebald
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And so they are ever returning to us, the dead. W G Sebald
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... the current of time slowing down in the gravitational field of oblivion. W G Sebald
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In my photographic work I was always especially entranced... by the moment when the shadows of reality, so to speak, emerge out of nothing on the exposed paper, as memories do in the middle of the night, darkening again if you try to cling to them. W G Sebald
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Perhaps we all lose our sense of reality to the precise degree to which we are engrossed in our own work, and perhaps that is why we see in the increasing complexity of our mental constructs a means for greater understanding, even while intuitively we know that we shall never be able to fathom the imponderables that govern our course through life. W G Sebald
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It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane. W G Sebald
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I don't want to talk about my trials and tribulations. Once you reveal even part of what your real problems might be in life, they come back in a deformed way. W G Sebald
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...the darkness does not lift but becomes yet heavier as I think how little we can hold in mind, how everything is constantly lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life, how the world is, as it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and objects which themselves have no power or memory is never heard, never described or passed on. W G Sebald
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A wonderful story collection set between one place and another and shaped by a fearless sense of comedy. W G Sebald
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I feel more and more as if time did not exist at all... only various spaces interlocking according to the rules of a higher form of stereometry[the geometric measurement of solid bodies], between which the living and the dead can move back and forth as they like, and the longer I think about it the more it seems to me that we who are still alive are unreal in the eyes of the dead. W G Sebald
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The more images I gathered from the past, I said, the more unlikely it seemed to me that the past had actually happened in this or that way, for nothing about it could be called normal: most of it was absurd, and if not absurd, then appalling. W G Sebald
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Human civilization has been no more than a strange luminescence growing more intense by the hour, of which no one can say when it will begin to wane and when it will fade away. W G Sebald
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How far, in any case, must one go back to find the beginning? W G Sebald
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As far as I know, the question of whether and how it could be strategically or morally justified was never the subject of open debate in Germany after 1945, no doubt mainly because a nation which had murdered and worked to death millions of people in its camps could hardly call on the victorious powers to explain the military and political logic that dictated the destruction of the German cities. W G Sebald
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The Noonday Demon explores the subterranean realms of an illness which is on the point of becoming endemic, and which more than anything else mirrors the present state of our civilization and its profound discontents. As wide-ranging as it is incisive, this astonishing work is a testimony both to the muted suffering of millions and to the great courage it must have taken the author to set his mind against it. W G Sebald
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It is a sore point, because you do have advantages if you have access to more than one language. You also have problems, because on bad days you don't trust yourself, either in your first or your second language, and so you feel like a complete halfwit. W G Sebald
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Where I grew up, in a remote village at the back of a valley, the old still thought the dead needed attending to - a notion so universal, it's enscribed in all religions. If you didn't, they might exact revenge upon the living. W G Sebald
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Places seem to me to have some kind of memory, in that they activate memory in those who look at them. W G Sebald
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Until I was 16 or 17, I had heard practically nothing about the history that preceded 1945. Only when we were 17 were we confronted with a documentary film of the opening of the Belsen camp. W G Sebald
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At the time I could no more believe my eyes than I can now trust my memory. W G Sebald
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The seasons and the years came and went...and always...one was, as the crow flies, about 2,000 km away - but from where? - and day by day hour by hour, with every beat of the pulse, one lost more and more of one's qualities, became less comprehensible to oneself, increasingly abstract. W G Sebald
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The moral backbone of literature is about that whole question of memory. To my mind it seems clear that those who have no memory have the much greater chance to lead happy lives. W G Sebald
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People's ability to forget what they do not want to know, to overlook what is before their eyes, was seldom put to the test better than in Germany at that time. W G Sebald
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A tight structural form opens possibilities. Take a pattern, an established model or sub-genre, and write to it. In writing, limitation gives freedom W G Sebald
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We all have appointments with the past. W G Sebald
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It makes one's head heavy and giddy, as if one were not looking back down the receding perspectives of time but rather down on the earth from a great height, from one of those towers whose tops are lost to view in the clouds W G Sebald
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I suppose it is submerged realities that give to dreams their curious air of hyper-reality. But perhaps there is something else as well, something nebulous, gauze-like, through which everything one sees in a dream seems, paradoxically, much clearer. A pond becomes a lake, a breeze becomes a storm, a handful of dust is a desert, a grain of sulphur in the blood is a volcanic inferno. What manner of theater is it, in which we are at once playwright, actor, stage manager, scene painter and audience? W G Sebald
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A subject which at first glance seems quite removed from the undeclared concern of the book can encapsulate that concern. W G Sebald
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No one can explain exactly what happens within us when the doors behind which our childhood terrors lurk are flung open. W G Sebald
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By all means be experimental, but let the reader be part of the experiment W G Sebald
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The capital amassed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through various forms of slave economy is still in circulation, said De Jong, still bearing interest, increasing many times over and continually burgeoning anew. W G Sebald
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Time, that most abstract of humanity's homes. W G Sebald
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How I wished during those sleepless hours that I belonged to a different nation, or better still, to none at all. W G Sebald
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In school I was in the dark room all the time, and I've always collected stray photographs; there's a great deal of memory in them. W G Sebald
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I've always felt that the traditional novel doesn't give you enough information about the narrator, and I think it's important to know the point of view from which these tales are told: the moral makeup of the teller. W G Sebald
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To my mind, it seems clear that those who have no memory have the much greater chance to lead happy lives. But it is something you cannot possibly escape: your psychological make-up is such that you are inclined to look back over your shoulder. W G Sebald
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Men and animals regard each other across a gulf of mutual incomprehension. W G Sebald
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I have always kept ducks, even as a child, and the colours of their plumage, in particular the dark green and snow white, seemed to me the only possible answer to the questions that are on my mind. W G Sebald
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Like our bodies and like our desires, the machines we have devised are possessed of a heart which is slowly reduced to embers. W G Sebald
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One has the impression that something is stirring inside [photographs] - it is as if one can hear little cries of despair, gemissements de desespoir... as if the photographs themselves had a memory and were remembering us and how we, the surviving, and those who preceded us, once were. W G Sebald
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