To Speak Unsatisfactorily


To memorialize a tragedy, one must inscribe unmistakable significance into reticent materials, attempting to curb the natural processes of forgetting and obsolescence.

For The Nation, Becca Rothfeld writes about W.G. Sebald, author of The Emigrants, among others, and his obsession with artistic expression as the aestheticization of truth, almost necessarily a “mangling,” when the goal is to memorialize or find deeper truth in the wake of tragedy and violence.

Kyle Williams is a student at Brooklyn College, studying creative writing and literature. You can find more from him on Tumblr at, but don't feel like you have to. More from this author →