This chapter introduces the reader to Sebald’s poem, Vertigo. Another fragmented epic, it opens with a short biography of Stendhal (the French writer Marie Henri Beyle) which Schütte relates to Sebald’s preoccupation with memory. The second part is an unnamed narrator’s travelogue of two Alpine journeys, whilst the third is a semi-fictional reconstruction of Franz Kafka’s stay in an Italian sanatorium. The fourth is a recounting of a homecoming, mirroring Sebald’s own return to Germany and the repressed fears of his childhood. Schütte presents Vertigo as an example of Sebald’s ability to blur the dividing line between the authentic and the fake, manipulating sensations of memory and dizziness as suggested in the poem’s title.
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