Commonsplacing

Tous les bourgeois sont des indiens — Jacques Brel, ‘L’Enfance’

‘Miss Wilkins teaching an Igorot the cakewalk.’ Missourri Historical Society, Photographer Unknown. A world on display: Photographs from the St. Louis World’s Fair, by Eric Breitbart, U of NM P, 1997, p. 56.

I saw the Comtesse de Montgomery, the Comtesse de FitzJames, Baronne d’Erlanger and the Marquise de Massa, the Rothschilds, the Deutsch de la Meurthes, the Koechlines and Bürgels, the Peugeots, the Wormses and the Hennesssys, the Isvolskys and the Orlovs, artistes of both sexes, fast women like Réjane and Reichenberg, Greek shipping tycoons, Mexican petroleum magnates and cotton planters from Louisiana. The Trouville Gazette reported that a veritable wave of the exotic [in the original German text: eine regelrechte Welle des Exotismus] had broken upon Deauville that year: des musulmans moldo-valaques, des brahmanes hindous et toutes les variétés de Cafres, de Papous, de Niam-Niams et de Bachibouzouks importés en Europe avec leurs danses simiesques et leurs instruments sauvages.

– W.G. Sebald, The Emigrants, p. 123

2 Comments


  • I cannot think of another writer whose prose i enjoy more than W.G. Sebald.

    Reply

    • I’m with you there. For a couple years I was pretty wrapped up in Sebald, it was a full blown preoccupation.

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