Whatever, it's in keeping with a theme I noticed so many years ago when I wrote something to welcome I See a Darkness into the world: he writes songs of the human animal. The LP covers, at least until Joya, tended to feature an animal on the way to becoming human. But then there was last year's slightly disappointing Superwolf collaboration too.
This is something to be investigated further. The relation between the formal feeling of being human and the great pain of being animal might be said to be the dynamic behind so much art (that is, art has to outlive the animal yet also seeks to return). Eric Santner certainly seems to think so. His new book On Creaturely Life looks at Rilke, Walter Benjamin and, perhaps most intriguingly, WG Sebald. Santner argues:
Sebald’s entire oeuvre can be seen as an archive of creaturely life. For Sebald, the work on such an archive was inseparable from his understanding of what it means to engage ethically with another person’s history and pain, an engagement that transforms us from indifferent individuals into neighbors.This last point is one I tried to make in my own essay on Sebald - one that I felt was missing from the reviews of his Airwar book, mainly because many of the reviewers used it for special pleading on behalf of bombing our neighbours in Iraq.