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A few of the things which cross the path and mind of its narrator (who both is and is not Sebald) are lonely eccentrics, Sir Thomas Browne's skull, a matchstick model of the Temple of Jerusalem, recession-hit seaside towns, wooded hills, Joseph Conrad, Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson," the natural history of the herring, the massive bombings of WWII, the dowager empress Tzu Hsi, and the silk industry in Norwich.
In the autumn of 1993 I undertook a walking tour of Sherwood high street in the folorn hope of throwing off a sense of crepuscular ennui which enfolds me whenever I complete one of my walking tours.
The part of Sherwood I was now in had almost crumbled into the sea.
Some of the shops – the Co-Operative, and a branch of Barclays Bank, were hanging over the edge of the cliff, visibly eroding. One of those "if you don't like this book well that's on you, not the book, buddy" deals. As capitalist consumerist ethics and technology-dulled sensory blight inexorably infect all regions and human terrains, and even the way we map those terrains, and even more so how we think about and conceive of mapping those terrains, I will retreat happily away into realms of pure words and sounds - where vestiges of humanity and imagination still thrive, like a hidden rainforest under the city, full of weird animal and vegetative life (memory, intimate experience, organic elision that also produces meaning ...) Rings of Saturn is a knee-high abyssal-emotional archive of everything we're losing, since we're tainted with annihilation the day we are born, cast out to glide in a forgetful stream, dreamwalking our way through thick, ancient time. This is a strange and melancholy journey, not really through Suffolk but through Sebald's mind.
We begin and end with Thomas Browne, moving in between from translation to experimentation, from Roger Casement to Dutch Elm Disease to the Troubles.
We also return at times to the hospital room in which the narrator lies suffering from a vaguely described inertia, medical or mental.
Come si vede nella magnifica foto riproposta in copertina, calza stiva LA GRAMMATICA DEL SILENZIO C’è un viandante che negli anni Novanta del secolo scorso se ne va a piedi attraverso la contea di Suffolk, in East Anglia, che non è proprio il primo posto che viene voglia di visitare nel Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna (è però il primo posto da dove partiva gli aerei alleati che andavano a bombardare a tappeto la Germania nazista, come racconta lo stesso Sebald in Storia naturale della distruzione).
I knew this with a clarity which was almost but not quite beyond my powers of expression.
The Rings of Saturn — with its curious archive of photographs — records a walking tour of the east coast of England.
A few of the things which cross the path and mind of its narrator (who both is and is not Sebald) are lonely eccentrics, Sir Thomas Browne's skull, a matchstick model of the Temple of Jerusalem, recession-hit seaside towns, wooded hills, Joseph Conrad, Rembr The Rings of Saturn — with its curious archive of photographs — records a walking tour of the east coast of England.
It was by now eleven in the morning but the sky was leaden, bilious and no sun was shining.
A pall hung over Sherwood High Street, making Boots, the Italian Tile and Bathroom Centre and Bargain Booze and Cigs seem spectral presences.