The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘WG Sebald’

The Nonessential: On Marianne Fritz

October 1, 2015 | by

Marianne Fritz’s apartment in Vienna. From the volume Marianne Fritz Archiv Wien. Eine Dokumentation, edited by Klaus Kastberger and Helmut Neundlinger.

Marianne Fritz’s apartment in Vienna. Image from Marianne Fritz Archiv Wien. Eine Dokumentation, edited by Klaus Kastberger and Helmut Neundlinger.

In an interview published three months before his death, W. G. Sebald referred to his aversion to the systematic and to his faith in the haphazard: “If you look at a dog following the advice of his nose, he traverses a patch of land in a completely unplottable manner. And he invariably finds what he is looking for. I think that, as I’ve always had dogs, I’ve learned from them how to do this.” Though my own aversion to structure is less an outgrowth of any faith in serendipity than a temperament both indolent and indecisive, rooting around has at times for me, too, yielded benefits that a single-minded approach to literature wouldn’t have afforded. And it is particularly fitting, in light of the quotation above, that I should have hit upon Marianne Fritz—whose novel The Weight of Things I have just translated—by following up on a footnote from Sebald’s posthumously published Across the Land and the Water, a selection of poems translated by Iain Galbraith.

In the late poem “In Alfermée,” named for a Swiss commune where Sebald twice visited the scholar Heinz Schafroth and where the ashes of the poet Günter Eich are scattered, the following two stanzas appear:

Threading sleep
letter by letter
comes a language
you do not understand

The exhausted eyes
of the writer the fingers
of one hand on the
keys of her machine

Read More »


On the Shelf

February 8, 2012 | by

Zora Neale Hurston, 1938. Photographer: Carl Van Vechten.

A cultural news roundup.

  • RIP, John Christopher.
  • Brighten your day! The world’s most beautiful bookstores.
  • Book (review) clubs.
  • The Rings of Saturn, coming to a theater near you.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, coming to a radio near you.
  •, coming to a store near you?
  • R. Crumb (among others) turns the Western canon into graphic novels.
  • David Foster Wallace’s keeper shelf.
  • Mona Lisa’s double.
  • Pirates of Lexicon Valley.
  • Bloomsbury Group antics: expensive.
  • “If you come, so what? If you don’t come, so what? Will Turkey lose prestige?” Auster v. Erdogan.
  • The museum of human gullibility.
  • “12 Globe-Shaped Foods. Top 10 Famous Buses. 40 Culturally Relevant Birds. 13 High-Tech Steampunk USB Flash Drives.” Why we like lists.