Monday, November 01, 2021

Seelenwecken in Sebald's "Vertigo" for All Saints' Day

In W. G. Sebald's "Vertigo", the narrator recalls an All Saints' Day tradition in his childhood village: the baking and eating of rolls known as "Seelenwecken" ("soul rolls"). To the child, they seemed to bear a profound meaning, which once even left traces on his body: "The flour-dust that remained on my fingers after I had eaten one of these Seelenwecken seemed like a revelation." But revelation cannot be on the surface; it must be sought in the depths: "That evening, I spent a long time digging in the flour barrel in my grandparents’ bedroom with a wooden spoon, hoping to fathom the mystery which I supposed to be hidden there." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 1 November 2021)



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