Time to Stow These Books Away

A favoured idea among philosophers (I read it the last time it in a text by ORTEGA Y GASSET, I think BORGES uses the image too) is to describe mankind as shipwrecked. The conditio humana would then be a struggle for survival starting with zero, or the accidental debris an unforgiving sea spits at the castaway’s bare feet. To get an overview of human’s tools & generally usuable things, man needs to sort things, what reminds me of the saying “Ordnung ist das halbe Leben” / “Order is the half of live” – I think “being organised” is a fitting translation ; “half the life” means as much as “helps a lot”, pays out. Nobody ever said what life’s other half would be ?
Anyway, I have to restore order here, some books must vanish from my desk. Follows a list of titles I read since the last entry in this category.

SCHMIEDEL, Helga : Berüchtigte Duelle. 1. Aufl. Berlin, Leipzig 1992 (Enthält : GUTTANDIN, Friedhelm : Das Duell aus sozialwissenschaftlicher Sicht.)
The focus lies on German duels mainly of the 19th century, but earlier examples are also described. Mentioned are CASANOVA, PUSCHKIN and LERMONTOW – “Der Poet ist tod, er fiel als Sklave der Ehre …” / “The poet is dead, he fell a slave to honour …”, and it is a strange image of “honour” that lives in those early modern times. Nice little book.
Sadly I could find no more information about Ms SCHMIEDEL (1932-2012).

TRAXLER, Hans : Die Wahrheit über Hänsel und Gretel. Die Dokumentation des Märchens der Gebrüder Grimm. Mit Fotografien von Peter von TRESCKOW. 20. Aufl. Frankfurt / M. Februar 1988 (zuerst : Frankfurt / M. 1963)
The shocking truth about the crime that lies under the GRIMMS’ fairytale. Archaeological evidence proofs that a murderous crime was committed out of purely economical motifs. Shortly after the “witch’s” death the Nurembergian lebkuchen industry began to flourish.

Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum Mainz (Ed.) ; WEBER, WIlhelm (Red.) : Rabanus Maurus in seiner Zeit 780-1980. 1980 Mainz am Rhein (Catalogue of an exhibition shown from 13th of September to 19th of October 1980)
Nicely done little catalogue that describes the stations of Rabanus’ (Ger., Eng.) life. It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of this man for the intellectual life of 9th’s century East Franconian empire ; he played an important role in what later was called “Carolingian renaissance” – a very unfelicitous use of the word “renaissance”, it should be called educational reform – , and was called praeceptor Germaniae, Germany’s teacher, rightfully.
WEBER (1918-1999) (Ger.) was a German art historian & artist, and director of the Mittelrheinische Landesmuseum (today Landesmuseum Mainz (Ger., Eng.) from 1978-1983.

KÖRNER, Hans-Michael ; KÖRNER, Ingrid (Eds.) : Leopold Prinz von Bayern 1846-1930. Aus den Lebenserinnerungen. Regensburg 1983
Prince Leopold (Ger., Eng.) wrote a diary, at least partly through his life. He was the son of the later prince regent (Prinzregent) of Bavaria, Luitpold. His brother became the last Bavarian king Ludwig III. Leopold was married to Gisela of Austria, so the “k.u.k.” emperor, Kaiser Franz, was his father in law. The marriage seems to have been a happy one, based on real affection. Leopold was a curious man, there is a photograph of him aboard one of the early aeroplanes, a Otto (Ger., Eng.) double-decker of the Bavarian Air Corps, yeah !
Leopold was through his whole life trained as a soldier, he always kept up with new developments. He “decommissioned” shortly before the start of WWI, and was re-activated to lead the 9th army in the East. In 1916 he became “OberOst” (Ger., Eng.), and in this function he was responsible for the proceedings that lead to the treaty of Brest-Litowsk. Interesting man.
KÖRNER is a German historian, about his wife Ingrid I could find no information.

HOLLANDER, Anne : Anzug und Eros. Eine Geschichte der Modernen Kleidung. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Nele LÖW-BEER. Berlin 1995 (zuerst : Sex and Suits, NewYork 1994)
Interesting. Makes me want to read Ms’s HOLLANDERs (1930-2014) (Eng.) other books too.

CLINE, Eric H. : Armageddon. Auf der Suche nach der biblischen Stadt Salomons. Aus dem Englischen von Cornelius HARTZ. Darmstadt 2021 (zuerst : Digging up Armageddon. The Search for the Lost City of Salomon. Princeton (USA), Woodstock (UK) 2020)
Oh dear. It is about the inner workings of the whole archaelogical endeavour from 1920 to 1940 : All the nasty infight, warts and all, properly archived – and finally analysed and retold by archaeologist Eric CLINE (Ger., Eng.) – makes me throw away books about archaeological endeavours once and for all. Armageddon, yeah !

MANN, Frido : Democracy Will Win. Bekenntnisse eines Weltbürgers. Darmstadt 2022
Frido (born 1940) (Ger.) is the grandson of Thomas. The inducement for this text is that the German state bought the house of the Mann family in Pacific Palisades (Ger., Eng.), and established a place for transatlantic dialogue.
I am not that sure that democracy will win, and generally mean that Frido’s “confessions” would have gained from a little reworking. But Frido says so.

MOSSE, George L. : Die Geschichte des Rassismus in Europa. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Elfriede BURAU und Hans Günther Holl. Revised and supplemented by the author, Frankfurt / M. October 1990
George L. MOSSE (1918-1999) (Ger., Eng.) : Read it, discuss it, understand it.

BODDICE, Rob : Die Geschichte der Gefühle von der Antike bis heute. Aus dem Englischen von Mirjam STIEGEL. Darmstadt 2020 (zuerst : A History of Feelings, London 2019)
Goodness, how does this guy manage his sources ? Erudite, original, ambitious.

GOSZTONY, Peter : Stalins Fremde Heere. Das Schicksal der nichtsowjetischen Truppen im Rahmen der Roten Armee 1941-1945. Bonn 1981
Who says Anders must say Berling too – sorry, a bad joke, understandable only when you know the names, and what they stand for. Both are Polish soldiers, but that may be the only thing they have in common, them generals.
Peter GOSZTONYI (1931-1999) (Ger.) is, as far as I can see, the first, and possibly still the only one, who wrote a history of the non-russian units in the red army during WWII. Very informative. I only hope that he archived his materials correctly, most of it may be ir-replacable.

Maybe you found something interesting that makes you read for yourself – that would justify this list, this futile try to bring order to the debris – ach, ach, und nochmal : Ach !

6 thoughts on “Time to Stow These Books Away

  1. WOW! You’re right about this list as I did find one that truly interested me. Sadly, I couldn’t find an English translation of Hans Traxler’s book, but I did find one about the same subject written by Maria Tatar, “The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales” I’ll pick it up at the library! xoxo

  2. Why does a witch have to die in order for the men (in the collective sense) to succeed? Are they not able to accomplish things without throwing some “othered” person under the proverbial bus in order to make it appear they’ve improved the communities position?

  3. Ms TATAR’s approach is soo damn scientific, while Mr TRAXLER follows his genius, dear Savannah

    The number of “malefici”, male witches, was low, Melanie. In the end the explanation lies in the nature of woman (“fe-mina”), Isidor Hispalensis explains that in his ethymologiae.

  4. That’s a lot of books!
    So we should spend half our lives knee deep in organisational tasks and the other half benefitting from the organisation?
    A History of Feelings – I’ll take that one, it sounds curious.

  5. Another ‘vote’ here for Hans Traxler’s Die Wahrheit über Hänsel und Gretel, but Helga Schmiedel’s Berüchtigte Duelle caught my eye, too. Only, however, for “Der Poet ist tod, er fiel als Sklave der Ehre …” / “The poet is dead, he fell a slave to honour …” because that is how Thomas Thorne (“The greatest poet England has ever seen” – his own, deluded words) met his end in my favourite TV show, Ghosts.

  6. I spent half of my life knee deep in dispo, dear MsScarlet
    This book by BODDICE is a kind of follow up of a larger work about the topic, I’d grab the first, more exhaustive text.

    Poor sod, I read about him. He really was a victim of evil machinations (and his own naivitee). PUSHKIN and LERMONTOW are also pretty tragic – if I remember it right, the latter wrote a poem containing this verse about PUSHKINs death, and even vowed not to do a duell himself. He died as a young man (26), ah it’s all so roamntic when the guts spill over the snow …

Comments are closed.