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After the emigrant German writer WG Sebald (1944-2001) died prematurely in a road accident in his adopted English city of Norwich, his notes, photographs, postcards, jottings, newspaper cuttings and manuscripts filled 68 slate-grey, spring-clip box files when despatched by his widow to the German Literary Archive (DLA) in Marbach-am-Neckar, the birthplace of Schiller, near Stuttgart. The curators of the exhibition of Sebald's archive, which runs until the end of January 2009 under the title Wandernde Schatten (Wandering Shadows), especially mentioned the boxes' colour. Their very greyness appealed to them and somehow seemed to suit what they wished to express about the writer, or what they felt the writer wished to express about himself.

Sebald's widow also delivered the contents of his library, from which about 100 books feature alongside the notes and photos as exhibits in the two dark subterranean rooms reserved for him at the newly-built Literaturarchiv der Modernen (LiMo), which resembles a square-columned Acropolis on a hill overlooking the Neckar. Opening the exhibition, its director, Dr Ulrich Raulff, called Sebald's remarkable collection of literary texts, scientific manuals, philosophical treatises, miscellaneous reference works and antique photo albums, many of them picked up in Norfolk junk shops, "an archive within an archive". Will Self observed in his recent Norwich lecture on Sebald that literary criticism was conspicuous by its absence from the writer's library.

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Prof. Richard Sheppard
October 29th, 2008
9:10 PM
Cheap journalism, Richard. I had thought better of someone who had artistic leanings and I am deeply saddened. Who is served by such "revelations"? You know not what you do. Richard Sheppard.

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