Mitchell and Sebald.

On the connections between Joni Mitchell and W.G. Sebald (excerpt):

Mitchell and Sebald both project a persona that is perpetually on
the road, although not exactly for the same reasons.When she is “porous
with travel fever” the road for Joni Mitchell usually serves as the
transition between past and future lovers. It provides the physical and
temporal space for reflection and wild hopes.

A thunderhead of judgment was
Gathering in my gaze
And it made most people nervous
They just didn’t want to know
What I was seeing in the refuge of the roads

(from Refuge of the Roads)

For Sebald, the road provides the transition between projects and a release from periods that sound vaguely like depression.

In October 1980 I travelled from England, where I
had then been living for nearly twenty-five years in a country which
was almost always under grey skies, to Vienna, hoping that a change of
place would help me get over a particularly difficult period in my life
.  [All’estero, Vertigo]

In August 1992, when the dog days were drawing to an
end, I set off to walk the county of Suffolk, in the hope of dispelling
the emptiness that takes hold of me whenever I have completed a long
stint of work
.  [The Rings of Saturn]


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