W.G. Sebald The Rings of
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Sebald's writing in an uncanny sort of way (he was as will be shown an extraordinary writer) is highly relevant to the design of websites, to post-Internet writing, to the current trend of blurring the distinctions between fact and fiction, and was obviously a closet railway enthusiast. One of his other great works Austerlitz has a title resonant of a great station and the text makes frequent returns to railway locations, including London Liverpool Street. The Rings of Saturn begins:
It was on a grey, overcast day in August 1992 that I travelled down to the coast in one of the old diesel trains, grimed with oil and soot up to the windows, which ran from Norwich to Lowestoft at that time. The few passengers that there were sat in the half-light on the threadbare seats, all of them facing the engine and as far away from each other as they could be, and so silent, r that not a word might have passed their lips in the whole of their lives. Most of the time the carriage, pitching about unsteadily on the track, was merely coasting along, since there is an almost unbroken gentle decline towards the sea; at intervals, though, when the gears engaged with a jolt that rocked the entire framework, the grinding of cog wheels could be heard for a while, till, with a more even pounding, the onward roll resumed, past the back gardens, allotments, rubbish dumps and factory yards to the east of the city and out into the marshes beyond. Through Brundall, Buckenham and Cantley, where, at the end of a straight roadway, a sugar-beet refinery with a belching smokestack sits in a green field like a steamer at a wharf, the line follows the River
Later in his journey through East Anglia he makes use of the bridge over the River Blyth at Southwold and casually notes that the Southwold Railway had been intended for the Imperial Chinese Emperor, but records that he could not support this claim and even suggested that dragons were painted on the side of the rolling stock. Interestingly, David St. John Thomas makes the same assertion in Journey through Britain. (page 481)
It is noteworthy that Sebald basks in that remarkable biographical dustbin of the ODNB in spite of his German ancestry and only an indirect contribution to English literature whereas Charles Beyer whose products contributed greatly to the development of British engineering and trade and enriched the English language (in the sense of Ford) is still excluded.