Friday, February 24, 2006

Benamin and Sebald

Reading Walter Benjamin’s A Berlin Chronicle last night, I, at one moment, felt as though I was reading W. G. Sebald: a kind of trick my mind plays upon itself, for I know no German, and am usually lost when it comes to literary styles. Maybe, it is just the mastery of style that all great writers possess that makes many of them seem alike late at night before one falls off to sleep. This morning, while reflecting on reading Benjamin, I discover that I look forward to reading more of him, for I may have found a replacement—or rather an addition—to reading Sebald, who, like Benjamin, is gone and lives only in my imagination as a ghost who haunts me late at night.

2 Comments:

At 11:20 PM, Blogger St Antonym said...

The cover of the Benjamin book is evocative of Sebald's "Austerlitz."

Also, Benjamin lived in Germany as a child, and died while trying to escape the Nazis. Sebald, is from Germany, wrote about children escaping the Nazis, and died recently.

The mind has a way of blending these things. I know because I picked up a copy of "A Berlin Chronicle" in a bookshop and, without reading a single word, knew that it would pull me more strongly into Sebald's orbit.

 
At 5:27 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

st antonym,

Interesting comment. I wonder if at some point in his career Sebald did not see himself as continuing Benjamin's project should Benjamin have survived the war.

 

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