Sebald the Illusionist

Hi all! Sorry my blog post is late! But nonetheless, here it is!

How does the use of images affect the reader?

Does it augment/heighten or decrease/contract from the imagination (of having no pictures)?

Austerlitz is a work of fiction but does the use of images create a set image that did not exist before?

Honestly I think that Sebald is manipulating the use of images so that we, as the reader, see what he wants us to see. On page 5, there is a comparison between the eyes of owls and philosophers. This may not seem like anything but I feel tricked because Sebald could easily have taken any images that could support his ideas.

It’s true that both sets of eyes indeed do look similar, but if Sebald had decided to choose a different pair of eyes, his analysis/comment would be void and quite untrue.

Also, the picture of the little boy on the cover of the novel, which is also on pg. 183 is another example of how Sebald’s use of images may affect us readers. The picture is a supposed picture of Austerlitz as a boy; thus creating the image of a serious little boy with a more than not-so-happy face. This ingrains the physical image provided Sebald and doesn’t allow us, as the audience, to imagine a face for ourselves since this novel is a work of fiction.

Although the pictures can be regarded as helpful or better, I believe that we- as the reader- have the right to imagine any images for ourselves, particularly the way Sebald’s novel is formatted because it is created in a way that seems non-fiction-like (not some illustration) but actual photographs.

Thanks for reading my post once again! Have a great day!

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