Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sebald: “dust everywhere”

W.G. Sebald recounts a visit to the house of a London publisher, and the comfort of being in “a house where the dust has been allowed to settle”:

He had still some business to attend to when I arrived, and his wife took me up to a sort of library room at the very top of this very tall, very large, terraced house. And the room was all full of books, and there was one chair. And there was dust everywhere; it had settled over many years on all those books, on the carpet, on the windowsill, and only from the door to the chair where you would sit down to read, there was a path, like a path through snow, as it were, you know, worn, where you could see that there wasn’t any dust because occasionally somebody would walk up to that chair and sit down and read a book. And I have never spent a more peaceful quarter of an hour than sitting in that particular chair. It was that experience that brought home to me that dust has something very, very peaceful about it.
From “Ghost Hunter,” a 1997 interview with Eleanor Wachtel. In The Emergence of Memory: Conversations with W.G. Sebald, ed. Lynne Sharon Schwartz (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2007).

Related reading
All OCA W.G. Sebald posts (Pinboard)

comments: 2

Richard Abbott said...

Not quite the same dust as in your original, but maybe Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials would count? Personally I thought the first of the trilogy (Northern Lights, made into the film The Golden Compass) was excellent in imagination and vision, but that the later two kind of lost their way a bit. Others, no doubt, will disagree :)

Michael Leddy said...

Not titles I know, but I see that it’s Dust with a capital D. Important stuff! Wikipedia says that there’s a trilogy in progress that follows, The Book of Dust.