whereas no one in his right mind could truthfully say that he liked a vast edifice such as the Palace of Justice on the old Gallows Hill in Brussels. At the most we gaze at it in wonder, a kind of wonder which is 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.
From ‘Austerlitz’ by W. G. Sebald.
Fascinating counterpoint to Keifer.
Something to Ridicule
by Yeun Mei trans. J. P. Seaton
Mencius tells us that Confucius, too,
like all the other men of Lu, fought for his share
of what was taken in the hunt: it was
the custom there. To keep oneself in cloisters just
to seek a name for uprightness…. that
lacks a certain dignity.
But getting learning, too, may be
but putting makeup on.
If one’s a whore at heart, he’s
sure to act the part.
…how the world is, as it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and objects which themselves have no power of memory is never heard, never described or passed on.
From ‘Austerlitz’ by W. G. Sebald
I am finding more n more to love in Sebald. Fascinating connections he makes. Beautiful complex patterns he develops.
A core string of poetry running through these first couple of chapters of ‘Austerlitz’ is the grotesque lens that Empirical thinking lends to history. Maybe some clarity. Consciousness possessed by empire.