Books. Again

If there is nothing else to do but cough & wheeze, I can at least put that heap of books back into the shelves.
Here is the list of books I read since the last list from end of July. If you should be interested, the earlier posts are tagged “books”, of course.

RAGON, Michel : Ästhetik der zeitgenössischen Architektur. Neuchâtel (Ch) 1968 (Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts. Edited by Marcel JORAY)
RAGON (Ger.) (born 1924) is a French intellectual whose œvre contains fiction and non-fiction, from modern architecture (exhibition) via historical social movements to a dictionary of anarchy.
The message of this book is simple and can be condensed into one sentence : Concrete is great !
He writes a hymn about LeCORBUSIER and other modernists who built white cubes : MIES van der ROHE, NEUTRA, WRIGHT, SAARINEN, NIEMEYER, CANDELA, TANGE. Some of the architecture is undeniably great, while other pieces may have stood the test of time not so well. Anyway, the b/w photographs in this book are generally very good, always a pleasure to look at.
Marcel JORAY (1910-1996) founded the publishing house Editions du Griffon in 1950 and was the editor of a series about modern art – he organised the first Swiss exhibition of abstract painting in 1957. In 1977 he edited a book about concrete in contemporary art.

Sizilien. Reisebilder aus drei Jahrhunderten. Edited by Ernst OSTERKAMP. München 1986
For the armchair traveller. From RIEDESEL’s (It.) trip (1767), a friend and scholar of WINCKELMANN, to the top of the Aetna, to Ernst JÜNGER and the Swiss author Gerold SPAETH in the 1970s – impressions of Sicily collected by Ernst OSTERKAMP. With additional material about the authors. Nicely done.

Reisen in Nippon. Berichte deutscher Forscher des 17. und 19. Jahrunderts aus Japan. Collected & introduced by Herbert SCURLA. 6. Auflage, Berlin 1990
This tome collects reports about travels in Japan by Engelbert KAEMPFFER, Georg Heinrich von LANGSDORFF and Philip Franz von SIEBOLD.
SCURLA (Ger., Eng.) lived through two German dictatorships & showed a certain ability to adapt.

Caroline de la Motte FOUQUÉ. Geschichte der Moden 1785-1829. Als Beitrag zur Geschichte der Zeit. After the original from 1829-1830 edited by Dorothea BÖCK. Berlin 1988
Caroline was the wife of the oh-so-romantic poet & writer Friedrich de la MOTTE FOUQUÉ – for both of them it was their second marriage. She was not untalented, but in a certain sense never emancipated herself as a writer from models, “prototypes”, notably her second husband, who had been a successful writer, but fell out of favour and could not re-connect to earlier success. She had to write for money and did so in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden (Ger.), a very unique source. Her history of fashion is possibly the text where she is the most at herself.
About the editor, Frau Dr. BÖCK, I could not find out more.

GERARDI, Gertrud : Bilder aus Franken. Eine Auswahl von Bildern aus der Fränkischen Sontagspost der Nürnberger Nachrichten. Nürnberg 1960
Just black/white pictures of a Franconia long gone. GERARDI (Ger.) was an important German press photographer in the 1950s and 1960s. She documented the rebuilding of Nuremberg.

GRIESINGER, Peter : Biberach an der Riss. Ein Gang durch Vergangenheit und Gegenwart einer alten Reichsstadt. Fotos von Hans Klose. Biberach/Riss 1967 (?)
Just another of those books of only local interest. Nicely done, text well researched, good photography. Found nothing about author & photographer.

SCHÄFER, Hans-Peter : Die Anfänge der fränkischen Eisenbahn. Würzburg 1985
Very well done history not only of the origins of the Franconian railway, but gives an introduction into the Bavarian travel & transport planning of the 19th century. I could not find more about SCHÄFER. He seemingly was the head of the ill-fated “Unterfränkische Verkehrmuseum” that existed between circa 1988 and 1999 in Gemünden / Main.

Klassischer Journalismus. Die Meisterwerke der Zeitung. Collected & edited by Egon Erwin KISCH. 1. Auflage, Berlin 1982
A classic by E.E. KISCH (Eng.). Here as part of the complete edition of KISCH’s works by the old Aufbau-Verlag. This is the new one.

Perhaps some of these titles are inspiring your own reading.


12 thoughts on “Books. Again

  1. Back in the early eighties those anarchonihilisticpunks wrote Schade daß Beton nicht brennt! on the concrete walls of everytown. Don’t know where the saying comes from, but I know that there was a documentary with this title.
    I think RAGON celebrates modernism – more Technik, more perfection, more beauty. It is the unstoppable development towards a new paradise LẌ, man made, correcting nature’s mistakes, controlled. And do not forget that LeCorbusier and compagnie always understood themselves as builders of a new society. Growing up in a concrete surrounding, concrete houses, concrete inner city, concrete everything punk all of a sudden does not look so bad. Better at least as the grimy greyish monotonuous concrete ribbon that forms life’s frame like a prison window …

  2. You’re far too erudite for me darling! I just received my “traveling book.” (Whenever I travel, which I will be doing shortly, I purchase a new book). And my choice? Ma’am Darling something quite blabby about Princess Margaret. I do hope it delivers.

  3. I love le Corbusier’s sofa furniture design! Architecture and travel books are awesome! And it’s fascinating how black and white fotos capture and display such astounding subjects.

    What a wonderful variety of books you’ve read! Get well soon. Good health to you.

  4. Erudite ? Nonsense. And there’s nothing better than a nice bit of saucy gossip, dear Norma.
    Travel well & safe, come back soon, darling.

    Oh yes – furniture, fittings, fixtures, even cutlery & crockery – everything was to be redesigned ! Some real classics were invented, I am sure that there is still a lot to be discovered. Some stuff is aesthetically pleasant, but absolutely impractical, especially regarding cutlery there are some stainful solutions.
    I really wonder whether my health has not received a little ding over time Eros. I think it is now utmost time for me to quit the tabacco in any form.

  5. In this respect I have absolutely no experience MsScarlet, no sisters, no brothers.

    Savannah – darling – what is the matter with you ? The hurrican is over – we are back to the normal madness. Relax. Eros showed up, wed feet but all right. No worries.

  6. Ah, concrete architecture. The mainstream stuff is a little too brutal and dystopian for me (although some of it is quite dramatic), but this sprayed concrete “gunnite” architecture by Roger Dean is just lovely! I had one of his books when I was much, much younger – Magnetic Storm, I think – which featured his gunnite “Home for Life” designs. I was smitten with it from then on, and still long to live in a sculpted gunnite tower fit for a witch!

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