books

Books ! Away With Them !

Perhaps I should create a new category “books”, it would be easier for me to find the last reading list.
Here is what I read over the last few months, time to sort them back in.

SIEBER, Helmut : Oberlausitz. Frankfurt/Main 1968
Where (or what) is the Oberlausitz (Ger., Eng.), you may ask – and I would have asked the same question before I read this little book. It is the Eastern part of Saxony, main towns there are Görlitz and Bautzen. The latter is known (at least for people of a certain age) for the jail, Bautzen II (Ger.). Notable inmates were the writers Walter KEMPOWSKI (Ger., Eng.) and Erich LOEST (Ger., Eng.). Can’t say much about LOEST, all I remember is “realism” and painful honesty. KEMPOWSKI wrote a fictive family history in two (or three) volumes. His last project was called Das Echolot (Ger.). He collages from a wide range of sources and concentrates on various dates, June-December 1941, January/February 1943, January/February 1945 and the end of the war in Germany. Both authors worked their fingers to the bone on this oh-so-German history.
SIEBERs little tome gives a good historical description of the region and brings some nice b/w photographs.

BRANDT, Rüdiger : Konrad von Würzburg. Darmstadt 1987 (Erträge der Forschung, 249)
Konrad (Ger., Eng.) is born in Würzburg between 1220 and 1230. He is one of the twelve masters of minnesang, his œvre includes nearly all literary genres of his age. He lived and died in Basel.
BRANDT gives a concise overview about the history of scholarship dealing with Konrad – of course this book is now thirty years old, but what BRANDT had to say about his predecessors is still valuable and noteworthy.

WUNDERLI, Peter (Ed.) : Reisen in reale and mythische Ferne. Reiseliteratur in Mittelalter und Renaissance. Düsseldorf 1993 (Studia Humaniora, 22)
The university of Düsseldorf had a lecture series (“Ringvorlesung”) in winter semester 1990/91. The chosen topic was “travelling”, travel literature of Medieval and Renaissance times. Very informative. Subjects are maps, the Sinai as entrance to the other world, Brendan’s (Ger., Eng.) navigatio, Marco Polo, Afanasij Nikitin (Ger., Eng.), Herberstein, Kolumbus. Good lectures intended for a mixed audience, well readable and informative.
WUNDERLI (Ger.) is a Swiss romanist.

WIECZOREK, Ulrich : Bayern im Blick früher Flieger und Ballonfahrer. Dachau 1994
As the title says, subject of the small volume is the early ærial image of Bavaria. Major cities, landscape, and natural environments still intact are shown. Additionally the technical development of  ærial photography is explained.
WIECZOREK (died 2010) was professor for didactics of geography at the Augsburg university.

DEROLEZ, R.L.M. : Götter und Mythen der Germanen. Wiesbaden 1976 (originaly : De Godsdienst der Germanen, Roermond 1959)
René Lodewijk Maurits DEROLEZ (1921-2005) (Ger.) was a Belgian Germanic medievalist and runologist. Both his major works, his 1954 habilitation about runes, and this text about Germanic Gods and Myths, are still worth to be read, usable and citable. Good translation by Julie von WATTENWYL.

VANDENBERG, Philipp : Das Geheimnis der Orakel. München 1979
Yes, when a title starts with “The Secrets of …” a little preoccupation may set in, the concoction may be a little sensational. Despite its subtitle on the front page (“Archaeologists decipher the best-kept secret of the ancient world”) this is a well-done piece of travel journalism. VANDENBERG actually visited places like Dodona, Didyma, Klaros, Delphi, Oropos, Epidauros, Lebadeia, interviewed archeologists, used historical sources, and modern literature. I think this is what could be called popular science, the tome even has a register.
VADENBERG (born Klaus Dieter HARTEL, Ger.) writes non-fiction, historical novels and crime.

KOLLER, Liselotte : Wohnkultur mit Serienmöbeln. München 1969
Of course there must be a book about ameublement. This picture book shows how the rooms in an appartement were tastefully furnished at the end of the Sixties. From living room and dining table, via sleeping room to balcony and garden, it is all there. Even children’s room, garderobe and “Our Unterhaltungsgeräte as furnishing problem” are treated. The Unterhaltungsgeräte in question are tv-sets (with blinds !) radios and lp-players, together with the fitting relaxing chairs, floor-standing ashtrays included. Oh dear, some images look all too familiar.
Ms KOLLER, about whom I could find no more information, seemingly specialised in the topic of interior design in the Sixties, I saw at least two other titles by her from the late Sixties.

HILDEBRANDT, Dieter : Lessing. Eine Biographie. Reinbek 1990 (first : Lessing. Biographie einer Emanzipation. München Wien 1979)
This is what I am actually reading, after some tries. HILDEBRANDT (Ger.) is a promoted literary scholar who made his living by writing critiques and essays, in short with journalistic work. His biography of LESSING is refreshing, still after nearly forty years, because of his view on the man, his live work & thinking, without the philological, scientific point of view. He shows the oh so great LESSING (I say this in true admiration without any irony !) as human being, shoving him from the piedestal where too learned veneration installed him over time. It is a witty, learned, insightful text that comes close to the person LESSING – who, btw, was born in Kamenz (Ger., Eng.), a town in (you guessed it !) the Oberlausitz : The circle is completed.

Perhaps some of these texts can be a little prod for your own further reading.

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7 thoughts on “Books ! Away With Them !

  1. As always, yet another impressive selection of reading topics!

    I am curious were you find most of the books you read. I know of that little book store in town. Perhaps also the town/university library?

  2. What a fascinating group of books you’ve read. The two that made me excited are the ones about the travelling literature of the Medieval and Renaissance and the secrets of the ancient world. I love travel and history. And I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Delphi. It is a huge, grand site that radiates power, and it sits on top of a magnificent and mystical mountain. I would love to go back and spend days and nights just being there, taking it all in and exploring the vast site and ancient structures.

    And because I love picture books, I would love to see interior designs from the sixties, the era of my favorite design style, Midcentury Modern! Basically, the set of Mad Men!

  3. A television with blinds?!! I remember a fad for keeping tvs in cabinet. Back in the day everything had to have its own cabinet – tvs, drinks, globes, rabbits. We seem to like things to be on display these days.
    Sx

    And no, I have read nothing!

  4. All the books I have mentioned here are in my possession LẌ – I most often have forgotten that I have them.
    Usually I stand in the middle of my living room wringing hands mourning the lack of reading stuff like a junkie down to the last hit. Than I man up and crawl around on the floor to look into the lower shelves. And somewhere in the dark dodo I’ll find my next book !
    I have a (long) list of titles I want to get via the UB and inter library loan, I neglected this. I have to structure this list first. It is stuff that crossed my path somehow, really do not know. I am sure that a lot can be skipped, simply because I do not know why I noticed it, and what I was looking for – I simply forgot the context. Other titles are new, got good reviews, and it is simply a topic I am interested in.
    The last book I bought – that is some months ago, and nowadays something extra-ordinary ; really, it is the first time in years. In the end I work through my supplies.

    Travel books are great – going places without the mosquitoes !
    I never was in Greece, Eroswings, only in Crete and Cyprus. I would very much like to spent some hours in Delphi, and at other places there. And a kind of Sehnsuchtsort, a place of desire, is Eleusis since I read a book about the mysteries (Eng.) as a student in the early eighties. The Road to Eleusis, with Mr Albert HOFMANN as co-author. Must have been a hell of a trip.

    Absolutely MsScarlet – your observation is all correct : When you look at some interiors in the mentioned book you notice closed spaces, cabinets that contain tvs, Unterhaltungsgeräte, drinks, not sure about the rabbits. Modern times are clearly more exhibitionist. And mind you – no floor-standing ashtray in sight these days !

    Out of pure laziness I created a new category aptly named “books” that is now displayed in the line under the header (Persons, Places etc.).
    Also the category of a post is shown on the left directly over the post’s title, it is clickable. Like clicking on the category in the header, a click on the category’s name at the start of a post will give you a historical list (sorted by date) of posts in this category. All this went remarkably smooth, I was expecting drama and vanishing posts etc., but no, the buttons simply did what is written on them : Suspicious !

  5. Ms Scarlet has beaten me to the “television with blinds” comment – I should have got here earlier.
    SP did once buy a pair of floor standing ashtrays, but I threw a strop and made him take the ghastly things back!

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