Relativity and the past in writing about place
  • Daniel Juckes

The places W.G. Sebald writes about—according to cultural geographer John Wylie—are not just ‘a surface crust’, but are ‘set in restless motion’, more properly described as events which ceaselessly become ‘the past itself’. In Sebald’s work, space and time intersect, and the dead—who are not as faithfully departed as they should be—linger; they exist on the same plane as the living, so that access to a space can give uncanny access to the past. This continuance of place and persons is both a mental and physical phenomenon, reflecting the way space and time are coalesced in the universe propagated by Einstein’s Special and General theories of Relativity; it is what imbues Sebaldian landscapes with depth and significance, with spectrality and hauntedness. In my own creative work I have been exploring the continuance of place in Western Australia and West Yorkshire. Both places echo with uncomfortable pasts; they are, respectively, postcolonial and post-industrial. These pasts resonate in the present, demonstrating restless motion and turning that-which-seems solid into something uncanny. In this paper I will present a reading of the places I know, by way of Einstein and Sebald. I will consider how Relativity and restlessness can affect and reflect the ceaseless motion of the spaces we inhabit. I will dwell on how the past is sensed, often through its material remnants, and will ask how life writing might eke out what continues to come from before.

Keywords: W.G. Sebald — Albert Einstein — Spacetime — Prose — Place

 

In a pamphlet written about an expedition to track a solar eclipse, one that happened in 1922 high on the coast of Western Australia, a physicist—Alexander Ross—captured the difficulties of evoking the nature of the universe as it is described by Einstein’s theory of general relativity—a universe, for Ross, that was newly motile, shifting, and restless; uncanny in its ceaselessness. Ross struggled to articulate this new movement described by Einstein a few years before, and, in the end, gave up: it seems that he believed it only possible to make comparisons when writing, to merely describe a lack—that there is something always missing from the way things are sensed on the page, as opposed to the more dynamic world of the senses (which, it’s true, also manages to miss some of the extra-dimensionality of Einstein’s world: we cannot think in four dimensions). Ross is right, of course. This difficulty is a repeated shortcoming, and one which writers have long acknowledged (Virginia Woolf articulated something similar during the same decade Ross was writing: think of Lily Briscoe, in To the Lighthouse, reaching for her brushes in search of ‘the thing itself before it has been made anything’ (1927/1969: 219)). Ross writes:

Events are the real things in nature, and we can think of them as occurring in a four-dimensional world. To conceive their existence as merely in ordinary three-dimensional space is to rob the event of an essential quality of its being, and to substitute for the whole reality part of its attributes. The specification would be as incomplete as a blind man’s analysis of a rose, or as a totally deaf man’s description of a thunderstorm. (1923: 15)

The two dimensions of a page (or screen) are something else again. But—and with all caution thrown to something other than the wind, swirling through Einstein’s forever-agitating universe—I think it is possible to hint at what is more than drawn or written or painted, even if the sensation which results is brief. Again, to use Lily Briscoe as an example, and to snatch a quote from the last page of the book in which she appears, it seems some sort of intensity can be glimpsed:

She turned to her canvas. There it was—her picture. Yes, with all its green and blues, its lines running up and across, its attempt at something … she looked at her canvas; it was blurred. With a sudden intensity, as if she saw it clear for a second, she drew a line there, in the centre. It was done; it was finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision. (236)

I think—I hope—that that kind of vision, the full-dimensioned universe Ross aims for but admits he cannot write, can be evoked in prose. And, yes, that vision will fade, it may not resonate for each and all. But it might be glimpsed in a syphoned kind of way if the right conditions are met. Here, I’d like to suggest that the German writer W.G. Sebald—in his not-quite novels—gets as close as anyone I have read to those precise conditions: in his prose some of the flickering world is made evident, specifically in the way he articulates space and place. To make my case I’ll conduct a reading of some of Sebald’s work with Einstein’s ideas in mind, detailed alongside an experience I had while researching some of my own creative writing. I want to suggest that the intersecting of space and time which is observable in Sebald’s work reflects Einstein’s notions of the same substances. The past becomes a little more present in light of this reading (which bounces from the ways in which place can work on the senses). In Sebald’s prose and in the world it aims to reproduce the past always resonates, demonstrating restless motion and turning that-which-seems-solid into something uncanny. This has to do with how the past is sensed, often through its material remnants—whether ephemeral or something less so, like an old church or a ladies’ waiting room at a railway station.

Sebald is best known for the four works of prose he crafted towards the end of the twentieth, and in the first year of the twenty-first, century. His books1 Vertigo (1999), The Emigrants (1996), The Rings of Saturn (1998), and Austerlitz (2001) are all narrated by someone quite like their author; each twists and turns around questions reverberating from the past. My focus here will be on Austerlitz.

Sebald, as a writer, is known for long sentences and longer paragraphs, and his probing of memory and memories; the writing itself is, perhaps, best described as genre-fluid—Sebald himself was reluctant to call it fiction or nonfiction. The overall effect of this unique kind of poetics is, I think, a kind of challenge: the mistiness of the writing, its provocations, encourage the reader to always wonder if what is being said is true, and to what extent, meaning that the world on the page takes on a ‘vertiginous’ kind of reality (at least, vertiginous, dream-like, epiphanic, and dizzying, according to John Wylie (2007: 178-179)). This playfulness is described in part by J.J. Long, who writes about Sebald’s more wandering way of telling the truth through an examination of the writer’s use of photographs. Long says that ‘Among archival artifacts, photography’s perceived indexical relationship to reality privileges it as a vehicle for … postmemorial reconstruction’ (2007: 118). Sebald uses photographs to give a veneer of truth to his writing, even in books which dwell in realms of speculation and coincidence. The game, in each of his books, is a meta one—of illusion and delusion—partly because of the way Sebald wraps kinds of authenticity into his prose, authenticity which bulges from his use of many similar documentary effects.

My own work is less genre-bending. It is supposed to be nonfiction, for a start—though, while I know that there are different affects at play in the mind of the reader when they encounter fiction, as opposed to nonfiction, those generic intricacies are not my concern. Simply, I want my reader to engage in the processes I do when I encounter a Sebaldian text, because his books ask the kind of questions a nonfiction text concerned with representations of the past should: questions about the frailty of memory, the power of recollection, and the need to construct an identity through history. Of course, Sebald manages to ask wider questions about the nature of experience too.

One way in which I’ve tried to use Sebald’s template in my own writing is by taking advantage of what I see as the ‘perceived indexical relationship to reality’ held by scientific theory. Rosi Braidotti suggests that ‘one of the most effective strategies developed by contemporary Humanities scholars is to actually theorize via and with science’ (2013: 157-158). The ideas of relativity—and, to a lesser extent, chaos theory and entropy—play a role in the framing of my work as nonfictional, while conjecture, confusion, and an unlocking of how the narrative has been shaped do the opposite. The work responds to objects from a rather haphazard family archive in a similar, haphazard, way, as well as describing the relationship I had with my grandmother—who kept, for many years, that archive. The writing sprung from conversations, my memories, and all the things she left behind.

My grandmother became the keeper of that archive inadvertently: things simply massed themselves in the nooks of her home. Kept, for example, were heaps of false teeth—my grandfather was a dental technician—lots of vinyl and shellac records, books, tools, jewellery, letters, postcards, clothes, reams of old betting slips, and mounds of photographs showing an entire range of banal and slightly less banal activities. I remember the first time I saw those photographs: I was entranced by them—or some of them. My parents had only been able to bring back from England to Australia a few handfuls, those of which there were multiple copies. Everything else was in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in the small house my grandmother had lived in for as long as I could remember, and where my parents had been visiting. 

When Mum and Dad got back to Perth and shared stories from their trip, Dad pulled out the drabs and dribs of all he’d managed to rescue from Grandma’s; he placed each thing in tottering piles on a rug in their lounge. Then, once the piles were built he showed me the pictures he had taken on his phone of the photographs still in Halifax.

Dad had done a little sorting there, made some kind of order, and had tried to keep all the photographs he found together. Some, he said, were now in boxes and bags, wrapped in elastic bands, and they were mostly all the same kind of sepia. It began to grow dark outside as he showed me those pictures, of pictures my grandfather and others had taken. In some of them you can see my father’s knees, on which the old, tiny photographs were rested—most of them 1/16 plates, just a few centimetres square. There were hundreds. The ones he did manage to bring back, which were miniature things and time worn, mostly showed Bradford, where he was born, and where my grandparents were born too. The pictures made a scattered sequence capturing a parade through cobbled, terraced streets, and I obsessed over them; made piles of them. I ranged and rearranged them, ordering as I thought fit, trying to plot a route I was distant from in time and space, through a town I didn’t really know, and which had changed a lot since the pictures were taken. The small pile was less than a couple of centimetres thick. Through their roughness, their oddness, the photographs affected me; the people in them, none of whom I could identify—except perhaps a man who might be my grandfather—stood head-bowed beneath a white-tiled archway and a sign advertising a performance of The Sleeping Beauty. They were all decked out in Sunday best. The pictures were strange, half-moving snapshots of children draped in white, veiled over like a tramping group of ghosts; of adults walking in a sombre kind of silence. I knew roughly where to place the parade: in Bradford, of course, around the church where my grandparents were married. But that was all. The room we were in swirled with dust.

The past as it happens is edgeless. But our memories finish, like a map stopped abruptly by the ends of a page, or perhaps by what’s unknown ground. We need ways to rub the two together: that is, what finishes and what does not. Sebald suggests, in Austerlitz, that,

All of us, even when we think we have noted every tiny detail, resort to set pieces which have already been staged often enough by others. We try to reproduce the reality, but the harder we try, the more we find the pictures that make up the stock-in-trade of the spectacle of history forcing themselves upon us … Our concern with history … is a concern with preformed images already imprinted on our brains, images at which we keep staring while the truth lies elsewhere, away from it all, somewhere as yet undiscovered. (2001/2011: 71-72)

This fading of the past is an unfortunate effect of memory, or, of repeated, conscious remembering. It discounts the impact a place can have upon the senses.

The world seen through a train window blurs, at least for a time—when the engine is moving fast the line between one thing and another is difficult to decipher. From my window seat, on the way to Bradford on the trail of those pictures, I followed a black telegraph wire with my eyes as it dipped and raised, dipped and raised, sagging at each of its midpoints. And when the countryside flashed into towns and villages, even when the darkness of a tunnel swapped itself for daylight, the moment of cleavage was impossible to pick. I was still, I think, a little unused to England after so many years away, but I knew I needed to see for myself those things in my grandmother’s home and the places in which she had lived.

Lynn Wolff, in a book called W.G. Sebald’s Hybrid Poetics, acknowledges that ‘Sebald conceptualizes time in such a way that it dissolves linear progression and allows for the simultaneity of past, present, and future’ (2014: 64). In Austerlitz, Sebald articulates this simultaneity:

It does not seem to me, Austerlitz added, that we understand the laws governing the return of the past, but I feel more and more as if time did not exist at all, only various spaces interlocking according to the rules of a higher form of stereometry, between which the living and the dead can move back and forth as they like, and the longer I think about it the more it seems to me that we who are still alive are unreal in the eyes of the dead, that only occasionally, in certain lights and atmospheric conditions, do we appear in their field of vision. (185)

It is strangely comforting to know that we—along with everything seen and thought—might be hallucinations too, visions of the dead. But that is perhaps a little off topic, and veering into something slightly more personal than this is meant to be. The point I want to make is that Sebald understood that memories and the past, despite the way they might seem to finish or the way it may seem to linger, are interlocked, ruled by complex forces, and that what is gone can be dredged up again. Another articulation of this sensation, again from Austerlitz, says as much:

If I am walking through [a] city and looking into one of those quiet courtyards where nothing has changed for decades, I feel, almost physically, the current of time slowing down in the gravitational field of oblivion. It seems to me then as if all the moments of our life occupy the same space, as if future events already existed and were only waiting for us to find our way to them. (257-258)

While the concept may seem a little absurd, a similar sense permeates some of the evocations of Einstein’s universe I used to try to understand a little of what relativity might imply:

Note that the space-time concept does not necessarily imply that the future is already set, because we must add to this vision a crucial quantum physics principle that states that randomness is at work in the universe. This randomness is at play as events unfold, but no more once they have occurred. Therefore, ‘ahead’ of our present, space-time is undefined, blurred: the future is not set. But ‘behind’, since the events have taken place, the past is not blurred and space-time is clearly set. (‘What is Space-Time?’, 2014)

There were, though, slight discrepancies among the videos and papers and things I crawled through at next-to-snail’s pace. Some were barely believable, and most barely comprehensible:

Objects consist, not of 3D entities enduring in time, but as 4D world lines existing and extended from the big bang to the big crunch. For example, the earth is not a spheroid circling the sun, but a stationary hyperhelix wound around the world lines of the sun. Thus the buildings of imperial Rome still stand—it is just that we cannot see them any more. The buildings of future cities already exist—but we cannot see them yet. It should be noted, however, that there is no more a distinguished present in Newtonian physics than there is in special relativity, so all times must be treated symmetrically in regard to the distribution of matter. (Smythies 2003: 52-53)

This Sebaldian concept of a place containing its own past and more is an evocation of the past as not-quite-past: as persisting, and well-within the present tense. Specifically, the places Sebald writes about—according to Wylie—are not stationary. They are not the ‘surface crust’ they sometimes seem to be, but are ‘set in restless motion’, more properly described as events which ceaselessly become ‘the past itself’ (2007: 176. Emphasis in original). I think this conception—Sebald’s manifestation of place on the page—both evokes, and helps a reader conceive of, something like Einstein’s spacetime (which is the interrelated fabric of the cosmos in a relative universe). In Sebald’s work, then, the dead linger, existing on the same plane as the living, activated by the spaces in which Sebald’s narrator finds himself. In this way, Sebald manages to reach beyond a stationary notion of perception, and demonstrates the ceaseless motion of the unconsciousness. Just as in Einstein’s theorising, there is a messiness regarding what is past and what is future, and the sensation which results is—at least, for me—both validation of and access to the way place can manipulate, and be manipulated by, what continues to come from before. This is haunting in an almost literal sense. In a conversation with Arthur Lubow, Sebald is explicit on the concept. He says that the ‘borders between the dead and the living are not hermetically sealed … There is some form of travel or gray zone. If there is a feeling, especially among unhappy people, that there is such a thing as living death, then it is possible that the revers is also true’ (160). The corollary of this is that time itself—that crippling thing which shapes and is shaped by pending, occurring disintegration—is an illusion:

Time, said Austerlitz in the observation room in Greenwich, was by far the most artificial of all our inventions, and in being bound to the planet turning on its own axis was no less arbitrary than would be, say, a calculation based on the growth of trees or the duration required for a piece of limestone to disintegrate, quite apart from the fact that the solar day which we take as our guideline does not provide any precise measurement, so that in order to reckon time we have to devise an imaginary, average sun which has an invariable speed of movement and does not incline towards the equator in its orbit. (100)

This imaginary sun is a difficult thing to think through. But it’s important, because without it the real sun—the thing which burns in the sky—would be less useful. Here, imagined, it is necessary in order to capture something of the way the world spins. The narrator, and Austerlitz, continues:

If Newton thought, said Austerlitz, pointing through the window and down to the curve of the water around the Isle of Dogs glistening in the last of the daylight, if Newton really thought that time was a river like the Thames, then where is its source and into what sea does it finally flow? Every river, as we know, must have banks on both sides, so where, seen in those terms, where are the banks of time? What would be this river’s qualities, qualities perhaps corresponding to those of water, which is fluid, rather heavy, and translucent? In what way do objects immersed in time differ from those left untouched by it? Why do we show the hours of light and darkness in the same circle? Why does time stand eternally still and motionless in one place, and rush headlong by in another? Could we not claim, said Austerlitz, that time itself has been nonconcurrent over the centuries and the millennia? (Ibid.)

In both worldviews, then, time is nonconcurrent, and objects can be immersed in the stuff of it. Sebald sees place as partaking in, and producing, this co-mingling of living and dead; place as an arbiter in the nonconcurrency of time. To quote John Wylie in full,

The spectrometric places Sebald’s narrator voyages through are … not points of access to past lives and events, nor a surface crust which memories and histories sometimes pierce. Measured by ghosts, and activated within an irreducible and originary wandering, these places are the past itself, the ceaseless becoming-past of the present in all its inescapable revenance. (176)

Austerlitz is an uncanny book, set among post-industrial ruins and in the wake of the Holocaust (which was one of Sebald’s recurring concerns as a writer). In it, the narrator is used by a sometimes-acquaintance, Jacques Austerlitz, as a receptacle for Austerlitz’s life story: of how a man named after a battle, a child-refugee of the Holocaust, tried to find his own past.

An example from Austerlitz which demonstrates the conjoining of past and place occurs inside a ladies’ waiting room at Liverpool Street Station—the station at which a young Austerlitz first arrived in England, as part of the kindertransport evacuation from Hitler’s Germany. After following a porter through a doorway in a builders’ fence, Austerlitz ends up in a disused waiting room. There the perceived natural order of things breaks down: the space between memory and the present fractures and the light which shines through high-up windows performs strange eddies, ‘curious trajectories which violated the laws of physics’ (135). That is, I think, physics before Einstein.

Austerlitz sees strange things in that waiting room: rows of pillars, vaults, great stone structures crossing and criss-crossing, all peopled by tiny figures. He feels the room he’s in expand and then turn back on itself; he can’t quite work out if it is a ruin, or in the process of being built. Then he glimpses a sequence of interlocked, interconnected memories, ‘Memories behind and within which many things much further back in the past seemed to lie, all interlocking like the labyrinthine vaults … in the dusty gray light, and which seemed to go on and on for ever’ (136). The Ladies’ Waiting Room at Liverpool Street Station disrupts binary notions of space and time, and—when the two are fused—Austerlitz gains access to his past:

In fact I felt, said Austerlitz, that the waiting room where I stood as if dazzled contained all the hours of my past life, all the suppressed and extinguished fears and wishes I had ever entertained, as if the black and white diamond pattern of the stone slabs beneath my feet were the board on which the endgame would be played, and it covered the entire plane of time. (136-137)

I will confess that I was not quite so sure of Sebald’s conceptions before I went to Bradford.

I found Undercliffe Cemetery almost by instinct, though perhaps that was instinct tempered by time spent pouring over maps. It was silent and sunlit in the cemetery, and I understood why my grandmother’s father liked to walk there: inside the walls all the noise of the city dulled, became other-worldly, broken only by the odd siren, or sometimes close voices from the other side of its thick brick walls. Dandelions and bumblebees got on with things at cemetery time.

Then I found Tennyson Place, where Grandma was born and first lived. But I didn’t stop—couldn’t. The eyes of the houses on Tennyson Place opened right onto the street and the ruins that were left did not appear as I felt they should. I tried to work out where Exeter Street would have been—and the house in which my grandparents had lived together—but the best I could figure was a patch of tarmac and grass, covered in shattered glass and pieces of pavement.

I headed back through Bradford to St. Mary’s, the church which, once, had kept all those streets running. Its doors were locked and barred, and its windows were split with star-shaped holes. The statue of Mary outside was crawling with ivy. But I had been inside once, for Grandad’s funeral. That was the first time I can remember being in Bradford. There were black cars milling around, and a coffin sat in the middle of the church by the altar. That day was the first on which I remember seeing my parents cry, and I can remember the gilt-edged frames of paintings in the church, the gold-coloured candelabras, the statues and altar, the stained-glass windows lit up from outside, and the names and names written on every wall.

I wished its doors would open. Traffic wrapped the church; the roads close to it were being torn up and remade. People passed without looking. The building felt not quite empty, certainly no shell: it was solid and brutish. But what was in there? Why did it not feel what it was? I walked around it, took photos of a sign that said ‘To Let’, and walked around again. The door had on it a washed-out sign on which mass times were still visible. I thought of all the life in me pushed off from that pile of tacked-together bricks.

And then, underneath the white, tiled archway of a building stuck to the side of the church, in which I could see kitchen implements pushed up against a dusty window, I saw—suddenly—the place where a sign had run years before, advertising a showing of The Sleeping Beauty. I felt, then, what Wayne Price calls the ‘luminous immediacy’ of the past (2017); and I realised I was stood on the spot where my grandfather had perhaps stood, shown in the pile of photographs I had kept (and made) of that mystic parade through Bradford. I was stood on the unsteady crust of the present, and it was uncomfortable to be so obvious and in colour there, when the version of this world I knew so well had always been black and white. I did not want to go near the archway or the flaking blue roller-door underneath it (which I could not see in that first picture, covered as it was with crowds of people who were not there now). Time had begun to misbehave—or perhaps it was the place which was acting up.

Another consideration, for Braidotti, about where exactly the best work of the Humanities might be done, is in the gaps between binaries (2013). This in-between space might be what Lynne Wolff refers to when she describes how the Sebaldian imagination works: she says that, ‘The presence of … alogical connections can … be located in the space between sensate perception and cognition, a space that can be bridged by imagination’ (160. Emphasis is my own).

When past and present dissolve, perhaps when binaries do, Sebald provokes the reader into the kinds of questions about memory and the past he considers productive. He is able to make a reader reflect on the oddness of their place in time and space, and the mood is uncanny. Ironically, he does this by evoking something close to Einstein’s theories about the physical reality of the universe: the theory of relativity also closes off seeming-binaries; an understanding of it changes how we might consider ourselves in space and time.

In Bradford that day I thought of Alexander Ross, the physicist who tried to describe the motions of the universe as predicted by Einstein. In the pamphlet in which he considers it difficult—near impossible—to describe a thunderstorm to a deaf man, there is another attempt to depict the four-dimensional world of spacetime, where space and time literally intertwine as a fourth dimension. To describe that union, he gives a metaphor:

A cinematograph film of a street procession shows … how the advance of the procession took place in space and time. Suppose the film were cut up into separate pictures and these piled in order one on top of the other. We have then a celluloid block an inch long, three-quarters of an inch wide, and of a height depending on the length of time the procession took to pass. A pin passed vertically down through the block might transfix all the representations of a street lamp or other stationary objects. To transfix the various representations of the head of a man in the procession the pin must be pushed in obliquely. The history of fixed and of uniformly moving objects is therefore indicated by direct and oblique straight lines respectively. So in the four dimensional world in which we may picture events, certain lines called ‘world-lines’ show the life history of all material things. In ordinary three-dimensional space a so-called ‘stationary’ particle is represented by an uninteresting point: in the four-dimensional world we have a continuous line which shows the progress of the stationary particle in respect to time. (18-19)

A continuous line like, perhaps, one of Sebald’s sentences. And there, on the street next to the church in Bradford, I thought of the pictures of parades I’d made into piles back home. And I thought about how, in effect, time stands still and we fall through it on world lines, affected only by forces which always bullock us; how we are like objects immersed in time. That being in the ceaseless, moving river it sometimes feels like the present is, is—more than anything else—a sensation of falling disguised. It was uncanny, frightening, and certainly vertiginous. I felt an odd kind of sensation: I felt all the past inside me, inside that bordered and shuttered building; I realised that this closed-down church was the site of some of the most important events of my life. And I was able, for a moment or two, to push my world lines further backwards, to times before I was born. This felt heady: my grandparents had been christened there, married, and had put on plays for the church’s amateur dramatic society behind that white-tiled archway, all before Grandad was eulogised. This is what Gaston Bachelard meant when he said, in The Poetics of Space, that his oldest memories were older than he had ever been. He knew, for example, that his ‘grandfather got lost in a certain wood’, one hundred years before Bachelard himself was born (188). It felt like a glimpse of the kind of eternity Woolf gives to Lily Briscoe, and like the way the world spins, dream-like, on Sebald’s pages.

When I got back to Grandma’s that night—I was staying with her—I fumbled through the trove of things we had decided to keep. I found a pile of postcards, one I knew was there because I had seen them photographed on my father’s knees. Together they show the inside of St. Mary’s around 1910. I know what it looked like then, even if I do not know exactly what it looks like now. But those black-and-white impressions were in colour once, a moment before the camera clicked and set them into place.

 

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Notes:

  1. Dates represent the first publication of English editions.

 

 

Works cited: 

 

Bachelard, G 1964/1994 The poetics of space Maria Jolas (Trans.), Boston: Beacon Press

Braidotti, R 2013 The posthuman ProQuest Ebook Central: Wiley

Long, J J 2007 W.G. Sebald: image, archive, modernity, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Lubow, A 2007 ‘Crossing boundaries’, in LS Schwartz (ed) The emergence of memory: conversations with W.G. Sebald, New York: Seven Stories Press, 159-173

Price, W 25 October 2017 ‘Time as material in creative practice’ Looking Forward/Looking Back: A China Australia Writing Centre Symposium (The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle)

Ross, A D 1923 A popular introduction to Einstein's theory of relativity with an account of the tests made by the Wallal solar eclipse expedition, Perth: E.S. Wigg & Son Ltd

Sebald W G 2001/2011 Austerlitz Anthea Bell (Trans.), New York: Modern Library

Smythies, J 2003 ‘Space, time and consciousness’ Journal of consciousness studies 10: 3, at  https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2aba/9778d09534ac352e152614021f7ad4deea3a.pdf
(accessed 16 December 2016)

‘What is Space-Time?’ 7 August 2014 YouTube, Uploaded by DiSTI — Édouard-Montpetit, at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sryrZwYguRQ (accessed 10 January 2017)

Wolff, L 2014 W.G. Sebald’s hybrid poetics: literature as historiography, Berlin: de Gruyter

Woolf, W 1927/1969 To the lighthouse, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books