books

Books Read

Or looked at, some are photograph collections only. It’s a while since the last book report, in July. Before I put them back into the shelves – maybe you find something here that is interesting for your own reading adventures.

PITTROF, Thomas (Ed.) : Christian GARVE. Über die Moden. Frankfurt / Main , 1. Auflage 1987 (insel taschenbuch 989)
Christian GARVE (1742-1798) (Ger., Eng.) was a philosopher of the late enlightenment (“Spätaufklärung”), and for reasons I can not explain, he got somehow “lost”. If he was / is mentioned he is often called, a little pejorative, a “popular philosopher” / Populärphilosoph – as if he would not necessarily deserve to be taken fully serious.
After all GARVE, seven years older than GOETHE, was a very well known author in his lifetime, had a serious public discussion with KANT, and was several times invited to meet the Prussian king Friedrich II.  So dismissing him as a “popular writer” seems not doing justice to the man in my humble opinion. Perhaps it is because he wrote essays, not “the” book to display his ideas systematically. Something he has in common with LEIBNIZ I think, who of course published (Latin) disputationes, and a monadology, but not a coherent system of his ideas. I do not believe that GARVE could or should be compared to LEIBNIZ.
Thomas PITTROF is ordinarius for Neuere Deutsche Literaturwissenschaft at the University of Eichstätt.

[Anonymous :] Am Wege. Kleines Wander-Lehrbüchlein in 47 Naturaufnahmen. Königstein im Taunus o.J. [1948] (Der eiserne Hammer)
“Publication authorized by Publications Control Branch” – this little booklet was printed while Germany was still divided into zones and Hesse was part of the American zone. It is a collection of 47 b/w photographs showing vistas and “Kleindenkmäler” like Bildstöcke (Ger., Eng.). I simply like these old black-white photographs. The booklet displays some very interesting Franconian examples. While the covers are already dark brown & weak from acid, the pages with the printed photographs are remarkably well preserved.

BOHMERT, Friedrich : Hauptsache sauber ? Vom Waschen und Reinigen im Wandel der Zeit. Würzburg 1988
This is a work sponsored by Henkel, based on the contents of the Henkel Werksarchiv und Werksbibliothek. What is not necessarily bad, and disqualifies the work in no way. It makes clear from the start that it is written by someone who works for Henkel, and focuses on the impact Henkel products had on the daily grind of washing clothes and cleaning things. While the praise of Persil is sung, also a lot of useful information about the history of washing clothes of different kind, and of cleaning all kind of things is included, presented in a well readable form with generous use of illustrations – a solid publication.
I could not find more information on Friedrich BOHMERT, he seems to have been a Henkel archivist.

SCHOTT, Rolf : Michelangelo. Der Mensch und sein Werk. Paris o.J.
I am absolutely not sure about the author Rolf SCHOTT (1891-1977) (It.). He is without a doubt a very erudite scholar, has developed a deep understanding and knowledge of Renaissance art in general, Michelangelo’s œvre in particular ; he writes elegant, draws lines, leads the reader to insights – but I can not help, it always feels a bit like SCHOTT writing about SCHOTT, as if he’d use Michelangelo (Ger., Eng.) as a starting point for  showing …  off ?
I may be absolutely wrong, I may be doing harm to this author, but after having finished the book, only two things stuck : Michelangelo very likely formed his madonnas as idealised images of his mother early lost , and SCHOTT knows a lot.
Anyway, if you can get the 1963 English version of this book, give it a chance. I hope the translation is good, because SCHOTTs admirable use of the German language may be hard to reproduce – and a lot of the charm of this text depends in my humble opinion of the author’s ability to form twisting and surprising sentences.

LINDENBERG, Christoph : Rudolf Steiner mit Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten dargestellt. Reinbek bei Hamburg, Originalausgabe 1992 (rowohlts monographien 500)
No Iron Cross here, but the strange biography of an autodidact. Whatever your thoughts are on STEINERs (Ger., Eng.) philosophy, what no one can deny is his seriousness, and his work ethic. The man literally worked himself up for the development of his “movement”, something that seemingly became an ever faster growing, in the end overwhelming task for him that took him by surprise. What I learned from this short biography, and really surprised me, was how politically active STEINER became through the revolution of 1918/1919, how he actively supported the workers’ movement.
This text gives the outline of the “outer” biography of STEINER, and does not deal deeply with his teachings, of which I know basically nothing. I “know” a little about the Waldorfschulen, but I may be wrong, simply because I never seriously digged into the whole concept.
The author LINDENBERG (1930-1999)  (Ger.) was not only a Waldorflehrer, but worked as teacher at the Seminar für Waldorfpädagogik in Stuttgart, and as historian. I will definitely look for his  book about the pre-history of nazism titled Die Technik des Bösen, Technique of Evil.

VALLIER, Dora : Henrie ROUSSEAU, der Zöllner. Eine Akte.  Bindlach 1994 (zuerst : Vaduz 1991) (Meister der modernen Kunst)
ROUSSEAU (Ger., Eng.) was an outsider, always. The traditionalists, the modernists, all looked at his paintings and basically said the same : Naw … Is he a tragic figure ? Is he a happy fool ? I do not know. This is a nice book about a strange man by an interesting woman (Ger., Fr., about).

ALBRECHT, Herbert : Worpswede. Kunst in der Landschaft. Fischerhude 1981
This is a collection of short essays about the people who lived in Worpswede and formed, more or less, the artists’ colony through the twentieth century. ALBRECHT, about whom I could find sadly no more information on the web, is an opinioned critic, who was involved in the region’s cultural politics since the 1950s, and knew since this time the people he writes about personally. He seems to have been working as journalist for diverse German publications.

GOLDSWORTHY, Andy : Mauer. Storm King Art Center. Mit einem Essay von Kenneth BAKER. Frankfurt / Main, 1. Aufl. 2000
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Ger., Eng.) has a wall built by other people and Mr Baker (a now retired American art critic) writes an essay about it. Nice photographs.

Heilbronn anno dazumal. Mit sämtlichen Stadtteilen. Fotos von 1858-1944. Heilbronn 1974 (Kleine Schriftenreihe des Archivs der Stadt Heilbronn, 6)
It is the catalogue of an exhibition held in autumn 1974 in the local Kunsthalle. This is only interesting for people who have a connection, however shallow, to the places shown. I lived there for some years. Now & then I travel through this town by train, but have no urge to get out and visit, this simply was.

Staatsklugheit und Frömmigkeit. Herzog Julius zu Braunschweig-Lüneburg, ein norddeutscher Landesherr des 16. Jahrhunderts. Wölfenbüttel 1989 (Ausstellungskatalog der Herzog August Bibliothek, 61)
As you may have noticed, venerated reader, I always come back to this magical place called Herzog August Bibliothek. They had an exhibition about Duke Julius (Ger., Eng.) there in 1989/1990, and this is the catalogue. It contains some learned essays about different aspects of the duke’s reign, his personality and hence the state he was running. Julius is a strong personality, important for the history of his house, and always fighting against his father. An interesting man who was accidentally confronted with the task to reign (his older brothers both died in another stupid war), he solved the given task with merit.

KENGEL, Rainer (O.S.B.) : Die Benediktinerabtei Münsterschwarzach. Münsterschwarzach 1952
Good readable short history of the abbey Münsterschwarzach (Ger., Eng.) in Lower Franconia. Nice place.

DETTELBACHER, Werner : Denk- und merkwürdige Kriminalfälle wie sie sich zugetragen in fränkischen Landen. Würzburg 1982
A popular written collection of historical crimes in Franconia, collected from the sources by the teacher and local historian DETTELBACHER (1926-2007), a prolific author of Franconica. He covers the span from the late 15th to the early 20th century.

DRECZKO, Werner : Teppiche Europas. Recklinghausen 1962
Expert DRECZKO explains how a rug is made, what one has to watch for when buying a European rug – very practical, a real good manual for anyone who wants to learn something about European rugs. He published a book about Oriental rugs too, and a lady with the same family name wrote a dissertation about rugs in the eighties.  A family business.

This is it. Looks more than it actually was, most of these “books” are “booklets”. Perhaps you find something inspirational, motivating for own reading among these titles.

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6 thoughts on “Books Read

  1. I’d be happy if I could form a coherent sentence let alone a coherent system of ideas.
    Anyhow, I have a couple of Andy Goldsworthy books!!! I’m kind of thrilled that I recognise anything on your list – although I’m totally with you on Schott.
    Sx

  2. Coherence is over-estimated, dearest MsScarlet – Let’s be happily incoherent !
    GOLDSWORTHY had some books published shortly after each other on the German market circa twenty years ago. I remember some images with leaves.

  3. Like Ms Scarlet, I am thrilled to recognise something from your list. In my case, it is the subject of a book rather than the author: Henri Rousseau. I remember him from my days at art school (or possibly before that, from sixth form).
    I didn’t like his work back then. It seemed so childish – all those funny looking animals hidden in the jungle (sometimes eating people). I have more of an appreciation for it now, but still think it looks like something one would find on a pair of curtains or bed cover at a weird aunt’s house.

  4. Teehee, interesting that you said this about ROUSSEAU, dear IDV. In fifth or sixth grade we should choose a picture – there were small(ish) prints of paintings from somewhere, maybe a catalogue, I do not know – choose a picture I say and “carry it on”, or prolong it over the painting’s edge. So I had ROUSSEAU’s jungle growing, a friend “prolonged” a road out of an image etc. Only many years later I learned that I had used a painting by ROUSSEAU. It was an interesting excercise.
    Some figures of R., especially children, look pretty creepy.

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