Revealed: the secret trauma that inspired German literary giant

WG Sebald’s writing on the Holocaust was driven by the anger and distress he felt over his father’s service in Hitler’s army

His books are saturated with despair. Over and over again, his emotionally traumatised characters are caught – inescapably – in plots that doom them to a life of anguish. Often, they kill themselves.

Now, the psychological wounds and suicidal thoughts that blighted WG Sebald’s own life and secretly inspired him to begin writing fiction are to be laid bare for the first time in a forthcoming biography.

That breakdown was crucial. It is then that he begins to write literary fiction

Related: WG Sebald’s quietly potent legacy

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Category: Mental Health