Longreads excerpt: Werner Herzog Walks to Paris
Long out of print, then in print in only a difficult-to-find small press edition, Herzog’s brilliant, strange jewel of travel writing has been reissued this spring. It is excerpted here courtesy of the University of Minnesota Press in the U.S. and Vintage in the U.K.
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At the end of November 1974, a friend from Paris called and told me that Lotte Eisner was seriously ill and would probably die. I said that this must not be, not at this time, German cinema could not do without her now, we would not permit her death. I took a jacket, a compass, and a duffel bag with the necessities. My boots were so solid and new that I had confidence in them. I set off on the most direct route to Paris, in full faith, believing that she would stay alive if I came on foot. Besides, I wanted to be alone with myself. What I wrote along the way was not intended for readers. Now, four years later, upon looking at the little notebook once again, I have been strangely touched, and the desire to show this text to others unknown to me outweighs the dread, the timidity to open the door so wide for unfamiliar eyes. Only a few private remarks have been omitted.
W.H. Delft, Holland, 24 May 1978