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by Austerlitz (or occasionally only by the narrator) and whose appearance – and often disappearance – is described in metaphors based explicitly on photographic processes and technologies. Just as Sebald is interested in ‘the non-static, ontological moments of photography’ (Patt 2007: 72), so too he focuses on the experience of moments at which memories both become and recede.2 Most prominent among the places where these momentary images are revealed are the book’s four major railway stations. It is in Sebald’s metaphoric darkrooms, dark zones of transition between

in A literature of restitution

exhume this hidden rationale of colonial governance: Secunderabad, we are told, is a railway hub and a garrison town, and key episodes take place in or around railway stations. Ghosh’s work suggests that tragically the legacy of colonial governmentality continues in the rationale of the post-colonial state. It is therefore no coincidence that his critique of colonial and post-colonial governmentality focuses on elusive identities, or moments when identity becomes a problem for the state. The narrator of In an Antique Land discovers that his identity is suspect in the

in Amitav Ghosh
Abstract only

account of their honeymoon trip in Europe, in the course of which the couple visited the English branch of the Norr family (whose spelling of the name was ‘Noar’). Jacob’s oldest brother, Joseph, had emigrated to England in 1886, and worked as a tailor in Manchester. Israel, Eli, Dora and Maurice – mentioned in Henry’s diary – were four of Joseph’s seven children. Maurice Noar was my ­maternal grandfather. He came to England as an infant, and would have been about twenty-four when he met his American cousin at the railway station in 1909. It was Henry’s son, David Norr

in Writing otherwise

speaker connected in some way with the sub-continent, enabling us to deduce that the poem may describe the experience of a father who is an emigrant to Britain from the Indian sub-continent. At the third stage of the process we look for patterns and breaks in patterning. The most obvious pattern is the way the three lines of each stanza suggest a shape which resembles the platforms of Barry.indb 84 9/6/2013 8:43:40 AM Close and distant reading  85 a railway station, as seen in a bird’s eye view from above, with the separated words on the right seeming to be in the

in Reading poetry
Abstract only
W. G. Sebald and the writing of the negative

niemandem mehr gutzumachen’, the exception to the rule that there are certain forms of ‘Unglück’ for which no restitution can be made? The words ‘Unglück’ and ‘unglücklich’ occur considerably more often in 62 4003 Baxter-A literature:Layout 1 9/9/13 13:02 Page 63 W. G. Sebald and the writing of the negative Austerlitz than in any of Sebald’s earlier works, supporting Richard Sheppard’s claim for a distinct trajectory in Sebald’s oeuvre (see Sheppard 2005: 441). There is space here for only a few key examples. Austerlitz considers the railway stations of Paris to be

in A literature of restitution
Kipling’s North Indian travels

family holiday in the ‘Hills’ and a few short trips. But in November 1887, he was moved by his employers 900 miles south to their principal newspaper the Pioneer in Allahabad (Prayag), and shortly afterwards sent to travel through ‘Rajputana’ (Rajasthan). He zig-zagged from Agra eastwards by rail to Jaipur, then southwest by tonga-carriage to Udaipur, east by tonga and elephant to Chitor and on to Chitor Station, northwest by rail to Ajmir, west to Jodhpur by rail and horseback, east by rail to Ajmir again, southeast by tonga-carriage to Boondi (Bundi), and back to

in In Time’s eye

, with fixed ghastly eyes, in some corner of the chamber. (NS: 196) The gothic horror of this imagery recalls Freud’s definition of the uncanny as the heimlich/unheimlich; the familiar which has been repressed (Jackson: 65–6). Margaret cannot allow the knowledge of her sexuality to come into consciousness; her frantic shame is the effort at repression, her nightmare imagery the threatened return of the repressed. Her denial of a personal motive in defending Thornton is an unacknowledged lie. Her real lie at the railway station, however, becomes the focus for

in Elizabeth Gaskell

designed by a committee of vegans’ rather than a supra-dome. Margins and meridians The Dome is what the French anthropologist Marc Augé has called a ‘non-place’ produced by the contemporary conditions of ‘Supermodernity’. For Augé, ‘place’ is infused by the patterning and ritual that provides a relationship between people and their environment: ‘place [. . .] can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity’.31 Non-place, in opposition, involves a kind of dislocation in space, and is particularly located in ‘airports and railway stations, hotel chains

in Iain Sinclair

convicts being marched in chains from Lahore railway station to the Jail, their route taking them through the Civil Lines. Another possibility is that prisoners were brought out from the jail in chain-gangs and put to work – along the Mall, let’s say – and that Kipling used his clout as a sahib and newspaper man to talk to them before rushing back to Bikaner House to write his eighteen lines, of which I quote the last fourteen: Ere the sad dust of the marshalled feet of the chain-gang swallowed him, Observing him nobly at ease, I alighted and followed him. Thus we had

in In Time’s eye
Samuel Beckett’s Murphy and Watt

different in content (one about Mr Knott’s house, the other nothing to do with it) both these grow out of all proportion. The second type is that found in the opening and closing sequences of the book: the conversation between Hackett and the Nixons and the railway station finale, which appear to be narrated from an eccentric but omniscient point of view. There may be some logic to their similarity in style in the statement, reminiscent of the narrator of Murphy’s claims for his section 6, which begins Watt’s fourth section: ‘As Watt told the beginning of his story, not

in Reading the graphic surface