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 !

What Time Is It ?

Usually I know, or at lest have a vague idea, where the book I find here, comes from. Did I buy it, when, was something connected with it, like a certain idea I was following back then or something else ? But the book I read right now does not ring a bell, it may have been a gift, but I would not know from whom ?
The book in question is by Frederic VESTER (1925-2003 ) (Ger., Eng.), titled Neuland des Denkens. Vom technokratischen zum kybernetischen Zeitalter. A paperback, first edition published in January 1984. The third edition from July 1985 was “durchgesehen und ergänzt”, revised & supplemented. What lies before me is the 12th edition of July 2002, but it is on the stand of 1984. I checked his footnotes and found no literature cited newer than 1982, and this in only marginal doses. I emphasise this, that the status of information is early 1980s, because I found some things that surprised me.
He mentions in the chapter about “Traffic” that the development of hybrid propulsion (“Hybridantriebe”) or electric fuel cell cars (“Elektroautos mit Brennstoffzellen”) was not pushed, or better hindered, because decisions that lead to the domination of the fuel burning engine – and what all hangs on this – were made earlier, and seem to be irreversible.
He mentions “wie überdimensionale Litfaßsäulen aussehende Pariser “Staubsaugertürme” (… ), welche die Straßenluft unten ansaugen und oben wieder gefiltert abgeben”. This would be vacuum cleaners in the form of advertising pillars in Paris – that escaped me ! I never have heard about such installations in Paris, or elsewhere.
So I asked Mr Gargle & friends, and all I could find was a project by a Dutch artist who wanted to install such towers in smog plagued cities like Mumbay in circa 2017 (?). Some years ago a French environmental company published their project of air cleaners in the form of advertising pillars that would use algæ, but I have no idea what came out of this.
I have no idea when the first hybrid cars were offered in Europe or elsewhere (around 2010 ?), or if VESTERs cleaning towers were ever built, but obviously things he mentions as given, are mentioned & sold forty years later as brand new, happened just five or six years ago.
He mentions and cites writers & thinkers, among them Nobel laureates, a tradition dating back to the 19th century, I simply do not know about. I need to look up a few persons.
And when I put this book down, and looked into another one (about Stalin’s foreign forces) just out of curiosity, I saw the following photograph :


There you have it : He is either immortal or a time traveller, or both.


Time(s) is strange.

Stuff Read Too

SARKOWICZ, Hans ; CRONE, Michael (Eds.) : Der Kampf um die Ätherwellen. Feindpropaganda im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Frankfurt/M. 1990 (Sammlung historica, Tondokumente)
This comes in a little plastic box with six CCs (Ger., Eng.) – yes kids, compact cassettes, also known as music~, audio~ or tape cassette. You need a cassette recorder to play them, sadly I have none.
The little booklet describes the known (Western) allied, German speaking, propaganda broadcasting stations through WWII. They did not all quit in May 1945. BTW I still find that someone took the blueprint of the British “Soldatensender Calais” and used it for that “Q”-hoax.
Hans SARKOWICZ (*1955) (Ger.) is a German journalist and works for the Hassian broadcasting service. As for Michael CRONE I am not sure, I think he was temporary head of the Deutsche Rundfunkarchiv ten years ago. Informative little booklet.

RUTSCHKY, Michael : Auf Reisen. Ein Fotoalbum. Erstausgabe Frankfurt / M. 1986 (suhrkamp taschenbuch 1268)
RUTSCHKY (1943-2018) (Ger., Eng.) was a German sociologist and journalist. Not uncontroversial. This is a photographic album ; every page shows a black/white photograph with a two line caption underneath. Absolutely unspectacular photographs taken in 1980s Germany.

DEFFARGE, Marie-Claude ; TROELLER, Gordian : Die Herren. Ein Pamphlet gegen die Männerherrschaft. 1. Auflage Frankfurt/M. Juli 1985
More necessary than ever, a pamphlet against the rule of men. Wir waren schon ‘mal weiter ! DEFFARGE (1924-1984) and TROELLER (1917-2003) (website German only, that English-button did nothing for me) were a restlessly travelling journalistic couple. They did many documentaries together, among them “Frauen der Welt” / “Women of the World” (1979-1983). The pamphlet is a part of this effort.

ARNOLD, Hans Ludwig (Ed.) : Die Gruppe 47. Ein kritischer Grundriß. München 1980 (TEXT + KRITIK Sonderband)
About the German writers, who came together after WWII, and invented literature anew. Of course they did not. In fact it was a gang of cocks. But this is only my own uninformed opinion.
ARNOLD (1940-2011) (Ger.) was an important figure in the West-German literary scene, founder of an influential magazine, critic etc.

KING, Graham : Say “CHEESE” ! Looking at Snapshots in a New Way. NewYork 1984
Today it is not uncommon that snapshots themselves, or the aesthetics of snaps, are in some way used in artistic photographic work. All this seems nowadays to be categorized under “Found Photography”. But the snapshot needed to be discovered. And I think KINGs book is one of the earliest collections. I may be wrong. Sadly I found nothing about “Graham KING”.

BUCHNER, Edmund : Die Sonnenuhr des Augustus.Nachdruck aus RM 1976 und 1980 und Nachwort über die Ausgrabung 1980/81. Mainz 1982 (Kulturgeschichte der Antiken Welt, Sonderband)
The author published two articles in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaeologischen Institutes, Roemische Abteilung (= Römische Mitteilungen, or RM). In those articles he explained his research regarding “Augustus’ sundial”, known as solarium or horologium Augusti (Ger., Eng.). BUCHNER came to the conclusion that it was in fact a sundial – an opinion that is not shared among scholars nowadays. Undisputed is the location of the instrument and its connection to the ara pacis (Ger., Eng.) and the mausoleum Augusti (Ger., Eng.) as BUCHNER described it. In the end, another excavation should take place, but these Romans must built their houses anywhere.
BUCHNER (1923-2011) (Ger., Eng.) was a German historian, he held various important positions in scientific organisations.

AKERMANN, Manfred : Die Staufer. Ein europäisches Herrschergeschlecht. Darmstadt 2003
Good readable, modern description of the Staufer dynasty, earlier called Hohenstaufen (Ger., Eng.). From the Alb into the world, from the stupor mundi Friedrich II. (Ger., Eng.) (1220) to the bloody finale of little Konrad’s beheading in Naples (Ger., Eng.) (1268), the poor sod became only sixteen.
AKERMANN (1931-2018) was a Suebian archivist.

Maybe you find something interesting, encouraging own studium & further reading. I am glad that I can put away these books and tidy up. But I know that it is an unequal, and, in the end, vain fight. They will conquer that chair again, I just know it.

Stuff Read

What a waste of time, energy, and resources books are. Then they sit there, using precious space, collecting and miraculously producing dust (and new books – I swear I find now & then a book here I never saw before !), grinning. Smirking.
Now it is the time to charge their fortress, to expel them from the area they usurped, they have to leave this chair in the end – ha ! Back in the confinement of the bookshelf, where you belong ! It’s three months since the last post in this category.

CARPENTER, Humphrey : J.R.R.Tolkien. Eine Biographie. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Wolfgang KREGE. Stuttgart 1979. First edition London 1977
CARPENTER (1946-2005) (Ger., Eng.) not only wrote the biography of TOLKIEN (1892-1973) (Ger., Eng.) (whom he met as a student), but also of fellow inkling C.S.LEWIS, and other interesting people. As I understand his text about TOLKIEN is accepted, undisputed.
KREGE (1939-2005) (Ger., Eng.) did not only translate the biography, but also the main œuvre of TOLKIEN, The Lord of the Rings. This did not go undisputed.

ROTHER, Rainer (Ed.) : Bilder schreiben Geschichte. Der Historiker im Kino. Berlin 1991 (Wagenbach Taschenbuch 193)
A collection of essays about the historian and his relation to the medium film. I was mostly interested in the articles by Marc FERRO (1924-2021) (Ger., Eng.) and Nathalie ZEMON DAVIS (*1928) (Ger., Eng.). The English wikipedia article about FERRO is a shame. Rainer ROTHER (*1956) (Ger.) is deeply involved in media studies.

DAMEROW, Peter ; LEFÈVRE, Wolfgang (Eds.) : George ADAMS. Geometrische und graphische Versuche oder Beschreibung der mathematischen Instrumente, deren man sich in der Geometrie, der Zivil- und Militär-Vermessung, beim Nivellieren und ind der Perspektive bedient. Nach der deutschen Ausgabe von 1795. Darmstadt 1985
Mankind started to survey, to measure the world seriously in the 18th century. What tools did they use ? Look into this book and you learn about instruments and practices. The author George ADAMS junior (1750-1795) (Ger., Eng.) was a mathematical instruments’ maker following the tradition of his father George ADAMS senior. DAMEROW (1939-2011) (Ger.) was a German science historian, a studied mathematician, LEFÈVRE (*1941) (Ger.) is a sociologist, actually at the MPI für Wissenschaftsgeschichte.

WITTKOP, Justus F.: Unter der schwarzen Fahne. Aktionen und Gestalten des Anarchismus. Frankfurt/Main 1973
A good readable historical essay about the outer history of anarchism in Europe. WITTKOP does not discuss the theoretical & ideological variants. It is a well written, still readable kind of overview. Sadly WITTKOP (1899-1986) has no wikipedia article, and I did not find him in biographical works of reference. He was married to Gabrielle WITTKOP (1920-2002) (Ger., Eng., obit.), a “marriage of convenience” for both of them.

SIEVERS, Leo : Deutsche und Russen. Tausend Jahre gemeinsame Geschichte – von Otto dem Großen bis Gorbatschow. Hamburg 1991
Originally a series of articles in a magazine, later collected, revised, and published as coherent text. A journalistic work, well written, good readable. SIEVERS (1917-2009) (Ger.) was originally a learned architect, but somehow slid into the German feuilleton of the 1950s. He was a successful writer, and specialised in historical reportage.

To be continued. I am too tired now to go on. And if this catalogue shall still have a chance to be a little interesting for one of you, venerated readers, then the list should not be too long, and boring. The second installment may follow on Monday.