The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald


“They say it is rare for any of the fishermen to establish contact with his neighbour, for, although they all look eastward and see both the dusk and the dawn coming up over the horizon, and although they are all moved, I imagine, by the same unfathomable feelings, each of them is nonetheless quite alone and dependent on no one but on himself and on the few items of equipment he has with him, such as the penknife, a thermos flask, or the little transistor radio that gives forth a scarcely audible, scratchy sound, as if the pebbles being dragged back by the waves were talking to each other.”

“An idiosyncrasy peculiar to the herring is that, when dead, it begins to glow; this property, which resembles phosphorescence and is yet altogether different, peaks a few days after death and then ebbs away as the fish decays.”

“I suppose it is submerged memories that give to dreams their curious air of hyper-reality.”

“The shadow of night is drawn like a black veil across the earth, and since almost all creatures, from one meridian to the next, lie down after the sun has set, so, he continues, one might, in following the setting sun, see on our globe nothing but prone bodies, row upon row, as if leveled by the scythe of Saturn.”

some quotes I loved from Rings of Saturn

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe


“I was about to break off; for no argument makes me lose my composure more quickly than the introduction of some vacuous commonplace when I am speaking from the bottom of my heart.”

“I’ve made all sorts of acquaintances but as yet I have not found any real companionship. I do not know what it is about me that attracts others; so many of them like me and attach themselves to me, and then it hurts me when we walk only a short way together.”

“At night I resolve to enjoy the sunrise, and I do not get out of bed; during the day I hope to enjoy the moonlight, and I stay in my room. I do not really know why I get up and why I go to bed.”

“Certainly, since we are so constituted as to compare everything with ourselves and ourselves with everything, our happiness or misery lies in the objects with which we are associated, and so there’s nothing more dangerous than solitude.”

“When we are inadequate in ourselves, everything seems inadequate to us.”

“…my heart is undermined by the destructive force that is concealed in the totality of nature; which has never created a thing that has not destroyed its neighbor or itself. And so I stagger about in fear! heaven and earth and their interweaving forces around me: I see nothing but an eternally devouring, eternally regurgitating monster.”

“I have been drunk more than once, my passions were never far from madness, and I regret neither: for in my own measure I have learned to grasp how all extraordinary men who have achieved something great, something seemingly impossible, have inevitably been derided as drunkards or madmen.”

some quotes I found dramatic from The Sorrows of Young Werther

The Trumpets of Jericho by Unica Zurn


“For the whole land is flooded with a large and powerful wave of the deepest melancholy, and wherever anyone goes or stands, they think here of violent death.”

“If she couldn’t scatter misfortune somewhere, the maid would die.”

“The cows could make themselves small like a fist in order to creep back into the cheese made from their milk. It was a complicated process and they could do nothing about it.”

“Happiness is a stupidity; happiness teaches me nothing, but just makes me empty. Unhappiness fills me with clean, drunken notes like a concert. Deafening and shattering, like a long song of summer-children.”

“If he stays that high up, maybe I can give birth to him through my mouth. I have an uncle who gave birth to his daughter through his ear at the age of sixty-six. (Such artful tricks are an idiosyncrasy of our family).”

“One sunny day a lonely but not quite hopeless man named Falada turned to his doctor with the following words: How should I set myself up to conceive a daughter through my nose and give birth to her through my ear, since I love scents and beautiful sounds?”

some quotes I found disorienting from The Trumpets of Jericho by Unica Zurn

Berlin Stories by Robert Walser


“The most beautiful thing is when you seem not to be conscious of the beauty and merely exist as do other things as well.”

“Strange, the way we look into each other’s eyes on a Sunday afternoon like this, as if we had something to say to one another, but we have nothing at all to say, we say to ourselves.”

“In the spring, it seems, men and manly deeds suddenly become so superfluous, so foolish. No deeds now! Listen, linger, remain rooted to the spot. Be divinely touched by something slight. Gaze into this blissfully sweet, childhood-like green.”

“To show by one’s gaze and gestures that one is finding things a bit tedious fill a person with a quite peculiar pleasure.”

“…a full ten fables more fabulous…”

“It is a place of deep inhalations and mighty exhalations, as if life itself felt disagreeably constricted by its own pace and course.”

feuilletonist = one who writes for thepart of a European newspaper devoted to light literature, fiction,criticism, etc.

“How they squander their time and the light, golden, fluid worth of their existence by passing hours on end in places where they exhaust their ears and minds speaking about things that a a sensible, hardworking person would give a swift thought to, soon reaching a conclusion.”

“When a child cries, this is immediately comprehensible, but when old people are induced or compelled to weep despite their advanced years, this reveals to the one hearing and seeing this the world’s wretchedness and untenability, and such a person cannot escape the oppressive, devastating thought that everything–everything–that moves upon this unfortunate earth is weak, shaky, and questionable, the quarry and haphazard plaything of an insufficiency that has entwined itself about all that exists.”

some quotes & info I found satisfying, from Berlin Stories by Robert Walser