vrijdag 5 december 2014

in memory of w.g. sebald

Uit Philippa Combers excellent memoir Ariadne's Thread:

‘As the months wore on, Max's books were attracting more and more public acclaim in Europe – most particularly, in Germany (English translations had yet to appear). Yet the trappings of fame never sat comfortably with him, neither at this point nor in the years that followed. This can be illustrated by something Max told us later that summer.
       He came round and gave a jaw-dropping account of how things had gone in Berlin in June, where he'd been to receive the Johannes Bobrowski Medal for The Emigrants. “An outrageous lump of metal,” he fumed, “which I had no intention of bringing home with me...” After the award ceremony, he'd taken the “lump”, made his way to the Kleiner Wannsee – down to the eastern shore of the lake – and hurled the medal into the water, where it sank without trace.
       As so often with Max's stories, the comedy of the situation was bitter-sweet: it was on this precise spot that on 21 November 1811, the thirty-four-year-old Heinrich von Kleist, having entered a suicide pact with the terminally-ill Henriette Vogel, had first shot his friend and then turned the pistol on himself.’ (p. 171)

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