The Art of Fugue: 

The trauma of remembering in The Rings of Saturn.

This then, I thought, as I looked round about me, is the representation of history. It requires a falsification of perspective. We, the survivors, see everything from above, see everything at once, and still we do not know how it was . . . Whatever became of the corpses and mortal remains? Are they buried under the memorial? Are we standing on a mountain of death? Is that our ultimate vantage point?  

            The Rings of Saturn

I first read The Rings of Saturn in 1998 shortly after it was published; I was moved, intrigued and completely captivated by the rhythms and flow of the language. It seemed to me, that I was reading an ‘important’ book, but I couldn’t quite tell why. I went on to read The Emigrants and Vertigo and thought that the tragedies (of individuals, systems and nations) which the three books recorded were in fact one text – one recording of the “single catastrophe” which Walter Benjamin described,1

A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned towards the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skywards.

 I thought of Sebald’s work primarily as the autobiography of the wrtiter who I saw frequently on campus at UEA as I attended seminars and visited the library. My personal response was enhanced because for me, newly settled in Norwich, the location was personal. I was coming to know the places and the landscapes he described. The tragedies of which Sebald wrote seemed symptomatic of his, as I saw it, melancholy nature, rather than a writing of a greater history. In my own reading I had chosen until that time, while not denying the reality and horror of war, to refuse to risk being entertained by stories of the danger and heroism, death and destruction – to avoid the so-called ‘pornography of war’. I found justification for that avoidance in Theodor Adorno’s statement, “The so-called artistic rendering of the naked physical pain of those who were broken down with rifle butts contains, however distantly, the possibility that pleasure can be squeezed from it”. 2

I continued to read about Sebald, attended his public readings whenever I could, and I remember being personally distressed when I heard about his death in a car accident in 2003. I learned that he and I were the same age (he was born on 18th May 1944), that our fathers served in the war, on opposite sides. But I didn’t read the later books, Austerlitz and On the Natural History of Destruction until this year, when for various reasons I underwent a change of sensibility. Not least of those reasons was the programme of set-books for the MA in Life Writing I was studying, and the questions I began to ask about truth and memory in biography and autobiography. For the first time I read Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All That, and Primo Levi’s If this is a Man and began to re-address the accounts of life during the two great wars of the last century which I had come across previously (Vera Brittain, Virginia Woolf, Christopher Isherwood, Frances Spalding and Kurt Vonnegut). I also found myself editing my father’s memoirs for family publication. He had served in the army during the Second World War, and his father had been a soldier and a stretcher-bearer in France during the First World War. He had never talked about his own or his father’s wartime experiences except for relating a couple of amusing incidents, and my three brothers and I had never asked the traditional question, “What did you do in the war, Daddy?”

This close reading of my father’s memoir made the history of the last war as personal for me as I had previously found Sebald’s East Anglian landscape and lives. I was now directly linked to it in a way I had never perceived before. Failing to acknowledge its truths was no longer an option for me. I re-read Sebald more closely, and I began to think about the way he wrote and what he was trying to say. I wanted to understand how the apparently autobiographical accounts and selected histories met, how they intertwined in his text and in that combined form gave a greater meaning than they could have done individually; how the making of a narrative could bind these people and events together and involve readers in the disasters of the past. Juliet Mitchell writes that “the past means nothing until it comes into being in the present”,3 and Isak Dinesen told her friend Hannah Arendt, “All sorrows can be borne if you can put them into a story”. 4 Here is, I believe, the basis of Sebald’s prose fiction – to bind unmanageably sad and horrific life stories and accounts of historic events into a narrative so that they can be borne and not be forgotten.

As I read I found patterns and repeats, the re-emergence of themes, both within and between his various titles, which were ‘fugue-like’, 5 with a dark ’continuo‘ 6 line of despair running behind everything. I wondered why, in a series of books so committed to remembering the past, there should be so many episodes of forgetting, where the narrator or one of his subjects undergoes a hiatus of memory. Over and over again we read that they have no recollection of how they came to this place, or why it has so much significance for them. They seem to struggle between remembering and forgetting.

Sebald has spoken in various interviews about his family and what we might now consider an intellectually impoverished childhood in Bavaria; notably with Boyd Tonkin at the Cheltenham Festival in 1999,7 Toby Green for Amazon, also in 19998 and  Christopher Bigsby at UEA in January 2001.9 He was never able to discuss the war with his parents (his father was an officer in the Wehrmacht and served in Poland), and attempts to talk about it led to “family drama and arguments”. He describes a “conspiracy of silence” in which “one had to tacitly [agree] to leave this behind and [develop] an attitude which was entirely forward looking, which was bent on not remembering.”10 The Auschwitz trials, which took place in Frankfurt in 1964/5, were the first public acknowledgement of the “unresolved German past”; and Sebald’s reading of the daily reports printed in the Frankfurter Allegmeine Zeitung “suddenly shifted [his] vision”.11

Explaining why he left Germany and eventually settled in Norfolk, Sebald says “I had to find my own way through that maze of the German past.”12 He explains his position to Christopher Bigsby, “[it] was as if those horrors I did not experience had cast a shadow over me, from which I shall never really emerge”, and in another interview he says,

While I was sitting in my pushchair and being wheeled through the flowering meadows by my mother, the Jews of Corfu were being deported on a four-week trek to Poland. It is the simultaneity of a blissful childhood and these horrific events that now strikes me as quite incomprehensible.13

 “The only way to write about persecution and its consequences is to approach the subject obliquely,” he says; and he describes a way of seeing the reality of his subject with “a peripheral vision . . . the sense that it is always there. Even if you concentrate very hard on what is good and promising in life somehow this is always there at the edges.” 14 That is why, he says, he had to move to writing prose fiction,

. . . from the straight monograph to essayistic exploration, dealing with my subjects in an elliptical sort of way. But even so I constantly came up against a borderline where I felt, well, if I could go a little bit further it might get very interesting, that is, if I were allowed to make things up.15

This oblique view gives his prose fiction its particular quality; the books contain little about the holocaust and the Second World War, seeming to concentrate on earlier atrocities; yet the massive gravitational force of events in Germany between 1925 and 1945 draws the reader to that central theme. We read of the exploitation of silk worms (chapter 6) and of herring (chapter 3) rather than the Nazi treatment of the Jews and others in the labour camps of the Third Reich. That horror is obliquely referred to in the story of Major George Wyndham Le Strange, who was among those who liberated the camp at Bergen Belsen (chapter 3). I thought it strange that this British soldier, who witnessed, and was driven mad by what he had seen, shared the initials of his name with the author, Winfried Georg Sebald, who invites us to remember his story. Here is one of the many coincidences which link Sebald to his subjects,

The circles of these, and other stories Sebald tells, drew me in deeper and deeper to the centre, where the boundaries blur and “fact and fiction are . . . hybrids . . . not alternatives”.16

Speaking about how The Rings of Saturn came to be written, Sebald told Christopher Bigsby,

I had just finished The Emigrants and I thought I will go and make a little excursion and then I will write something very neat and tiny about it – ten little essays about these topics – an ergonomic exercise, the product of which I can then have set in large letters and sell for nearly the same price as a 400 page book. But of course these things have the habit of getting the better of you and no sooner did I try to keep to that small format than I realised that there was much more to some of these topics than I had bargained for. My curiosity as a reader was awakened and the project proliferated until it reached its full-scale proportions.17

There are ten chapters, but they are hardly little essays, either in the importance of their subjects, or in their length. Sebald’s narrative weaves a web combining his own carefully selected and edited autobiographical story, biographies of the people he meets or remembers as he walks and accounts of the larger disasters of war and inhuman exploitation of peoples and resources which come into his mind. The autobiographical element of the book can be read in a relatively simple way. It begins in August 1993 with Sebald lying in bed in hospital in Norwich following surgery for a back injury, which he tells Christopher Bigsby was caused by damage done to his spine during his long walk southward down the coast of East Anglia a year previously in 1992.18 He recounts conversations overheard from his hospital bed, the view from the window of his room, the lives of two friends – Michael Parkinson and Janine Dakyns both of whom had died by the time he was writing (1994) but were still living as he lay in hospital (1993). We are able to verify the facts. Parkinson and Dakyns taught at UEA and were his colleagues; the journey from Norwich, by train to Somerleyton and then on foot through Lowestoft and down the Suffolk coast can be traced on an Ordnance Survey map.19 We can stay at the Crown Hotel or visit the Sailors’ Reading Room in Southwold; visit Somerleyton Hall or take a boat across to Orford Ness. Michael Hamburger (the major part of Chapter 7 is taken up with his story and the visit Sebald makes to his Suffolk house) was the translator of Sebald’s earlier long prose poem After Nature and they had a close working relationship over a long period.

Throughout The Rings of Saturn, motifs and stories circle one another, as melodic lines do within a musical fugue. Wrapped within this account of his walk are the life stories of people he meets or remembers; a gardener, an isolated Irish family, Chateaubriand, Edward Fizgerald, the farmer Thomas Abrams and so on. Sometimes these stories run in parallel with the basic narrative, but at other times they are nested one within another, like concentric rings. So in Chapter 5, we read the story of Franz Kafka’s uncle’s career in the Congo, nested within a brief life of Joseph Conrad, which is in its own turn nested within a story about Roger Casement’s tragic life. Repeated motifs link to, and re-awaken, memories of earlier sections of the text. There is the created yew maze at Somerleyton Hall where he must “draw a line with the heel of [his] boot across the white sand of every hedged passage that had been proved to be a dead end”;20 and the natural maze of Dunwich Heath, which reappears in his dream as a labyrinth, “which I was convinced had been created solely for me . . . [and] which I knew in my dream, with absolute certainty, represented a cross-section of my brain.”21 

In literature, where there are mazes the reader might expect silken threads, and might dread the appearance of  monsters at the very heart of the labyrinth,22 and indeed there is a thread of silk throughout the book which the reader is seduced into following. 

In the first chapter, we are told that Sir Thomas Browne, who was born in London in 1605 but lived most of his life in Norwich, was the son of a silk merchant.23 The narrator reveals something of his own reading history with an account of Thomas Browne’s Urne Burial of 1658. He includes within his own text the obscure and indirect quotation “That purple piece of silk he refers to, then, in the urn of Patroclus – what does it mean?”.24 Richard Holmes said that writing biography was a mixture of detective work and psychoanalysis, and I find those skills equally appropriate to my reading of Sebald. The apparent non-sequitur about the piece of purple silk sent me scurrying to the library to find a copy of Urne Buriall or a brief discourse of the sepulchral urnes lately found in Norfolk and diving down the rabbit hole which Sebald has, apparently casually, left in his text to lead me to Browne’s writing. What I found, when I came to page 24 of the edition I had in front of me was a discussion about the coverings of the burial urns which had been found in the mid-seventeenth century at Walsingham in Norfolk; the coverings varied apparently, from flints, tiles, clay, bricks and in one case so Browne tells us “. . . in the Homericall Urne of Patroclus, whatever was the solid Tegument, we find the immediate covering to be a purple peece of silk.”25 Not much more enlightened than before I could only re-iterate the question “What does it mean?” and move on, hoping that later in my reading of either Browne of Sebald I would find an answer.

Alert now, to images of silk, we read about the silk industry in China in the 19th century (page 151), where the Dowager Empress who had ruled over a country where countless millions of her subjects had died in rebellions and droughts, nurtures her silk worms which,

would presently give their lives for the fine thread they were spinning, she saw [them] as her true loyal followers. To her they seemed the ideal subjects, diligent in service, ready to die, capable of multiplying vastly within a short span of time, and fixed on their one sole preordained aim, wholly unlike human beings, on whom there was basically no relying, neither on the nameless masses in the empire nor on those who constituted the innermost circle about her.26

There are many allusions to silk-like substances or effects; “It is as if I were seeing everything through flowing white veils” says Frederick Farrar on page 48; describing the “curious air of hyper-reality” of his dreams; the narrator writes on page 80 “there is something else as well, something nebulous, gauze-like, through which everything one sees in a dream becomes paradoxically, much clearer”; and Michael Hamburger describing his hallucinations and dreams about his Berlin childhood tells the narrator on page 181, “This is Myslowitz, a place somewhere in Poland, I hear my father say, and as I turn I see the white vapour that had carried his words lingering in the ice-cold air.”

In the final chapter a history of the silk industry in France, Italy, Germany and England is illustrated with a powerful drawing of a silk weaver at his loom (page 282). Sebald describes the weavers, “With their wretched bodies strapped to looms made of wooden frames and rails hung with weights, and reminiscent of instruments of torture or cages”.27 I turn back the pages to re-read the section where the narrator visits Somerleyton Hall, and sees the “solitary Chinese quail, evidently in a state of dementia, running to and fro along the edge of the cage and shaking its head every time it was about to turn, as if it could not understand how it had got into this hopeless fix”;28 the backwards and forwards, limited and fixed movement of the bird, seemed reminiscent of the movements of the silk weaver strapped to his loom. 

In the final chapter Sebald brings the circle of stories about silk back to himself, including a story about a possible ancestor,29

a master dyer by the name of Seybolt, who according to a file in the Munich state library was employed for nine years at a salary of three hundred and fifty florins in the silk factory run by the previous government as Keeper of the Silkworms and Superintendent of Cording and Filature.30

The motif of fire occurs almost as often, though not in such detail as that of silk. Sebald writes about the burning of the rain-forests (pages 169-70), of the Royal Palace in Peking (page 145), the burning by the Republicans in Ireland of the great country houses in the Irish Civil war (pages 215-16) and the fire bombing of German cities by the allies in the last great war. This last comes closest to the centre of Sebald’s maze. During his visit to Somerleyton Hall, the narrator falls into conversation with William Hazell, one of the estate gardeners. Hazell tells how, during the war, he ”. . . watched the bombers flying out of East Anglia on their raids over Germany, and pored over maps to trace their routes and identify the cities they were attacking. As he did so he,

pictured the German Reich as a medieval and vastly enigmatic land . . . Time and again I studied the various regions on the map . . . and spelled out the names of the cities the destruction of which had just been announced . . . In that way I got to know the whole country by heart; you might almost say it was burned into me. 31

While serving in the army of occupation, Hazell learns German,

So that I could read what the Germans themselves had said about the bombings and their lives in the ruined cities. To my astonishment, however I soon found the search for such accounts invariably proved fruitless. No one at the time seemed to have written about their experiences or afterwards recorded their memories. Even if you asked people directly, it was as if everything had been erased from their minds.32

In his reading of modern German literature about the war, Sebald had been shocked to find that there were no accounts of how life had been for a German citizen enduring the attacks. He delivered the lecture which was to form the basis of the main essay in The Natural History of Destruction in Switzerland, and was astonished by the evidence of trauma shown by people who wrote to him afterwards; many who, up until then, had kept silent and repressed their memories of those times, living apparently normal lives, were revealed to be deeply traumatised.33 Sebald spoke frequently about the need to approach his subject obliquely and in this case, Hazell’s astonishment mirrors Sebald’s own views so closely that the reader must wonder whether he has created Hazell in order to be able to ventriloquise his own position.

Wanting to find out more about the bombing, I turned to my father’s memoir, where he writes,

While at Stade [in 1945] I went twice I think to Hamburg. I saw something of the results of the bombing, mainly by RAF Lancasters. There seemed to be miles of streets with the shells of buildings and mounds of rubble on either side where the debris had been cleared to make a passage for vehicles. I wondered whether all this horror and the loss of so many aircrew had been necessary to win the war.34

That reminded me of Sebald’s own account of his first experiences of German cities,

I had considered, for instance, for a very long time that the destruction which was wrought on German cities and which, in the form of huge piles of rubbish, was still much in evidence in the 1950s when you went to cities such as Munich or Augsburg, was a quasi-natural condition of city life. It did not occur to me that this was a consequence of war.35

And I remembered my own experience of moving to London from Cairo in 1950. Though the destruction was nothing like so bad, I revelled (as an nine-year old) in playing on the cleared bombed-sites, where once there had been homes and where now rose-bay willow herb flourished, prettily pink in the north-London sunshine. The little pre-fab houses which had been put up to house those who had lost their homes seemed to me a half way stage between dolls-houses and real houses, and for that reason very desirable. For me, as for Sebald, this was a “quasi-natural condition of city life”.

We have already noted the fugue-like structure of Sebald’s text, but there is a second, little noticed definition of ‘fugue’ in the Oxford English Dictionary. It occurs in the Appendix of later usages, and seems to describe what is happening to the people involved in these and other episodes of forgetting or losing one’s self. A ‘fugue-state’ is “a state or period of loss of awareness of one's identity, often coupled with flight from one's usual environment, associated with certain forms of hysteria and epilepsy.” This seems to me to describe the more problematic motif which occurs in all Sebald’s prose fiction and which I touched on page 3 of this essay –  forgetfulness or amnesia in the face of remembering. Often the narrator, or one of his subjects, experiences some sort of crisis in which he loses his sense of where he is or how he came to be in that place. For example, Michael Hamburger, revisiting the Berlin of his childhood tells us, “I returned to my native city for the first time to search for traces of the life I had lost. For a few days I went about like a sleepwalker . . . I walked and walked aimlessly . . . I can no longer say where”.36 Later in the book, the narrator is staying as a paying guest with an impoverished Anglo-Irish family in their run-down country house. He tells us, 

. . . my consciousness began to dissolve at the edges, so that at times I could hardly have said how I had got there or indeed where I was. Repeatedly I felt as if I were lying in a traumatic fever in some kind of field hospital. From outside I heard the cries of the peacocks, which went right through me, but what I saw in my minds eye was not the yard in which they were perched . . . but a battlefield in Lombardy over which the vultures circled, and all around a country laid waste by war.37

There are many other examples throughout the Rings of Saturn, perhaps most notably in the episode where the narrator, lost on Dunwich Heath, speaks of his confusion and disorientation. The stories he had been told at Somerleyton Hall about the fire-bombing of German cities, the horrific stories about the Taiping rebellion and the destruction of the garden of Yuan Ming Yuan (which he has revived in bearing witness to them), are coupled with his personal memory of mild panic in the Somerleyton yew maze. The horror is too much, and he escapes into an amnesiac state, “In the end,” he says, “I was overcome by a feeling of panic, . . I cannot say how long I walked about in that state of mind, or how I found a way out.”38 Later, in his dream, he sees himself once more on Dunwich Heath, but this time with a raised vantage point which shows him the labyrinth in which he is lost, “which I knew in my dream with absolute certainty, represented a cross-section of my own brain.39 

According to Juliet Mitchell, writing in Mad Men and Medusas, hysteria (and therefore a possibility of escape into a fugue state) is a possible response to trauma; though it occurs more usually in the person who has been personally damaged, it can also found in those who were not present, and have no personal memory of the event itself, yet are conscious of it and so somehow feel guilt or shame for their own lack of suffering. Mitchell, basing her theory on Freud’s printator theory about the structure of memory, perception and consciousness, describes how trauma is created when there is a breach between memories, which have been recorded in the past, and some event taking place in the present moment.40

In his interview with Boyd Tonkin, Sebald describes his childhood in rural Bavaria, and they consider a quotation from Milan Kundera (a writer whom Sebald much admired) “the struggle of memory against forgetting”; but they do not extend the quotation to include the first few words of that sentence “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”. It is when they lose that struggle and realize their own powerlessness in the face of the past, that Sebald or his characters lapse into forgetfulness and fugue. So one might assume that for Hamburger, standing once again in the hallway of the Berlin flat where he had lived as a child, the disjunction between past and present was enough to induce that breach and bring about the fugue-state in which he becomes not just physically but also psychically lost and withdrawn, so that he says, “I left the building with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and walked and walked aimlessly and without being able to grasp even the simplest thought . . . I can no longer say where”.41

In his essay ‘Bearing Witness or the Vicissitudes of Listening’, Dori Laub, writing primarily about the trauma survivor and his or her listener, describes an unwillingness to bear witness and the preference for silence; the witness fears both being listened to and listening.42 Sebald’s repeated use of the fugue-state recalls Laub’s suggestion that witnesses “close off” in order to protect themselves; his subjects demonstrate the conflict they undergo between remembering and forgetting, and between desiring to be heard and remaining silent about that which they feel must be told.

Sebald, writing as both witness and listener, delves into the heap of wreckage piled at the feet of Benjamin’s “angel of history”,43 and circles the monster at the heart of the German maze. “The dark centre behind it all,” he said in an interview in Holland with Michael Zeëman,44 “is the German past between 1925 and 1950 which I came out of . . . And it seems to me that the swirling movement of history moved towards that point and that somehow we have to acknowledge this”. This, I would argue, is the melancholy planet at the heart of The Rings of Saturn. Though Sebald cannot bear to look directly on Germany’s past, it is too painful; his narrative lines swirl around and between each other and towards that dark centre. He writes instead about earlier atrocities “what the past is about, even if you look at it in its most gruesome form, is a kind of haven of safety. Because it’s already happened – the pain is already past.”45 Elias Canetti had already taken a similar stance in Kafka’s Other Trial where he writes, “In the face of life’s horror – there is only one comfort; its alignment with the horror experienced by previous witnesses.”46

In addressing my own memory and willingness to recall and to bear witness for my children and grandchildren I am drawn to Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem.47 “One day somebody in the crowd identified me. Standing behind me was a woman, with lips blue from the cold, who had of course, never heard me called by name before. Now she started out of the torpor common to us all then and asked me in a whisper (everyone whispered there)” so she says in ‘Instead of a Preface’, as she stands in line outside the Leningrad prison, waiting for permission to visit her son in April 1957. “Can you describe this?” – her answer, “I can.” Then she writes, “Something like a smile passed fleetingly over what had once been her face.” Akhmatova and Sebald are both committed to that promise to “describe this”. My responsibility, as reader of their texts, is to listen, to learn and to pass on what I have learnt lest it be forgotten again.


1. Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’, p.260.
2. Dennis Walder ed., Literature in the Modern World: Critical Essays and Documents, ‘Commitment’ by Theordor Adorno, p. 96
3. Juliet Mitchell, Mad Men and Medusas, p.283
4. Lynn R Wilkinson, Between Storytelling and Theory, quoting Hannah Arendt on Isak Dinesen. Comparative Literature, Vol. 56, No 1 (Winter 2004), pp77-98.
5. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘fugue’: a polyphonic composition constructed on one or more short subjects or themes which are harmonised according to the laws of counterpoint, and introduced from time to time with various contrapuntal devices.
6. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘continuo’an accompanying part that includes a bass line and harmonies, typically played on a keyboard instrument, and with other instruments such as cello or bass viol or theorbo.
7. W G Sebald in an interview with Boyd Tonkin 1999.
8. W G Sebald in an interview with Toby Green 1999.
9. Christopher Bigsby, Writers in Conversation (Vol.II) pp. 139-65.
10. Ibid pp. 142-43.
11. Ibid p147.
12. Ibid p147.
13. Writers in Conversation.
14. Ibid p. 146.
15. Ibid p. 152.
16. Ibid p. 153.
17. Ibid, p.162.
18. Ibid, p.158.
19. Ordnance Survey Landranger Series, sheets 134 and 156 Saxmundham and Aldeburgh.
20. The Rings of Saturn, p. 38.
21. Ibid, p.173.
22. Theseus having been sent to Crete as part of the annual sacrificial tribute of young men and virgins, falls in love with Ariadne (the daughter of King Agamemnon), and uses the silken thread she gives him to guide him out of the maze at Knossos after he has killed the Minotaur.
23. The Rings of Saturn, p.10.
24. Ibid, p.26.
25. The Urne Burial and the Garden of Cyrus, Sir Thomas Browne, p.24.
26. The Rings of Saturn, p. 151.
27. Ibid, p. 282.
28. Ibid, p. 36.
29. Another example of linking the author and the narrator by name occurs on pp. 86-8 with a description of his visit to the tomb of his patron saint, St. Sebaldus.
30. The Rings of Saturn, p. 287.
31. Ibid, p. 39.
32. Ibid, p. 39.
33. W G Sebald in an interview with Boyd Tonkin 1999.
34. Victor Noble, From Salford to Wymeswold: the long way round. Private memoir.
35. Writers in Conversation, p. 142.
36. The Rings of Saturn, p. 178.
37. Ibid, p. 210.
38. Ibid, p. 172.
39. Ibid, p. 173.
40. Mad Men and Medusas, pp288-89 for a fuller description of Mitchell's and Freud's theories of memory and trauma.
41. The Rings of Saturn, p.179.
42. Dori Laub, ‘Bearing Witness or the Vicissitudes of Listening’ in Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. ed Shoshana Feldman, pp. 57-65.
43. Walter Benjamin, ‘Theses on the philosophy of history’
44. W G Sebald, History - Memory - Trauma. ‘Transcript of an interview given by Sebald.’ pp. 27-8 45. W G Sebald in an interview with Toby Green
46. Testimony, p. 2.
47. The Poems of Anna Akhmatova