Literary Birthday – 18 May – W.G. Sebald


10 Quotes

  1. It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.
  2. But the fact is that writing is the only way in which I am able to cope with the memories which overwhelm me so frequently and so unexpectedly. If they remained locked away, they would become heavier and heavier as time went on, so that in the end I would succumb under their mounting weight.
  3. We take almost all the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious.
  4. By all means be experimental, but let the reader be part of the experiment
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. We learn from history as much as a rabbit learns from an experiment that’s performed upon it.
  8. 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?
  9. A tight structural form opens possibilities. Take a pattern, an established model or sub-genre, and write to it. In writing, limitation gives freedom
  10. How I wished during those sleepless hours that I belonged to a different nation, or better still, to none at all.

Sebald was a German writer and academic. His books include Vertigo, The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, and Austerlitz.

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by Amanda Patterson