Books in Autumn, 2

WUNDERLICH, Werner (Ed.) : Deutsche Schwankliteratur. Band II : Vom 17. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart. Frankfurt/M. 1992
Only right now, when I note down the title, I realise that there is a first volume. As far as I can recall I do not possess it. Schwänke are anecdotes or farces of very diverse quality, some are as comical as a broken leg, while others are witty. Here examples are presented from the 17th, 18th and 19th century up to products of 20th century’s authors. WUNDERLICH (born 1944) was Professor for German Language and Literature at the University of St.Gallen, sadly I could not find more information on him.

MÄLZER, Gottfried : Joahnn Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864) und die Bibliotheca Schoenleiniana. Ausstellung in der UB Am Hubland 3.3.-21.5.1994. Würzburg 1994 (Kleine Drucke aus der Universitätsbibliothek Würzburg, 15)
J.L.SCHÖNLEIN (Ger., Eng.) was one of the most important medical professors of this university, and counts among the most important German medical doctors of the 19th century. MÄLZER (born 1935) was head of the library from 1979 until 1998.

BACHMANN, Erich (Bearb.) : Plassenburg ob Kulmbach. Amtlicher Führer. München 1962
If I can not go to places, I can at least read about them. And I like these black-white photographs very much. One can barely miss the Plassenburg (Ger., Eng.) when visiting Kulmbach. There is not much to say about the town, they brew beer. BACHMANN (1910-1991) was an art historian, and member of Ahnenerbe and HIMMLERs personal cadre. Nevertheless he held an important position in the Bavarian administration of castles etc in the early 1970s. Oh yeah, and of course he became professor in Munich in the 1950s. Nothing to see here, bog standard, move on …

ERBENTRAUT, Regina : Der Genueser Maler Bernardo Castello. 1557? – 1629. Leben und Ölgemälde. Freren 1989 (Wissenschaft und Forschung, 3)
CASTELLO (Ger., Eng.) is a painter of so called mannerism (“Manierismus”) leaning over to baroque style. I think ERBENTRAUTs work is the first (and still only) biography of the man. I do not remember the details, but read it happily. She made me even look at the reproductions for details and comparisons. I could not find more on Frau ERBENTRAUT, sorry.

HERBERS, Klaus : Geschichte des Papsttums im Mittelalter. Darmstadt 2012
From the beginnings to Leo X. (1513-1521). Gives a real “Über-Blick”, over view, along the important lines through the centuries, so that even me can follow. I think it is a markedly well done account.HERBERS (born 1951) (Ger.) was until 2019 professor in Nürnberg-Erlangen, specialised in history of early Spain and (of course) history of the papacy. If there may ever be a translation, I recommend the text.

FINKIELKRAUT, Alain : Ich schweige nicht. Philosophische Anmerkungen zur Zeit. Aus dem Französischen von Rainer von SAVIGNY. München 2021 (first : À la Premiere Personne. Paris 2019)
FINKIELKRAUT (born 1949) (Ger., Eng.) is a not undisputed French intellectual, who shies not away from confrontations. In this autobiographical sketch he depicts his intellectual development. What I never ever will be able to understand is the fascination of Heidegger. For me he is just a jerk, a windbag of gigantic emptiness. But that’s seemingly just me.

SCHINDLER, Herbert (Ed.) : Bayern in Europa. München 1970 (Unbekanntes Bayern, 10)
This is a collection of radio programs on the topic of Bavarian history. The single contributions are authored by leading experts of the day. The whole thing is old fashioned, and highly entertaining. I should look for the other (at least) nine volumes. SCHINDLER (1923-2007) was an art historian, and from 1957 to 1973 editor at the Bavarian Broadcasting Company.

FORSTHUBER, Sabine : Moderne Raumkunst. Wiener Ausstellungsbauten von 1898 bis 1914. Wien 1991
Exhibitions bring their own problems regarding presentation, ameublement etc. How to use space ? This book depicts solutions found for these problems around 1900 in Vienna – top notch modern. This publication is based on FORSTHUBERs (born 1959) dissertation of the same title. She is lecturer for art history at the university of Vienna.

So far. All books back in the shelves.
I have nothing to read.


Books in Autumn, 1

It is a good half a year since the last book related post. Time to clear the space and sort them back in. So follows a list, in no particular order, of books I read over the last six months. Maybe you find something of interest that helps to your own lecture.

WOLTERING, Herbert : Die Reichsstadt Rothenburg ob der Tauber und ihre Herrschaft über die Landwehr. Diss. Jur. 1965
Reichsstädte, free imperial towns (Ger., Eng.), come in different sizes, and forms. It reaches from economical powerhouses like Nuremberg, Frankfurt/M. or Augsburg to tiny dots on the map like Bopfingen. Some end at their own wall, and literally the next tree outside belongs to someone else. Very few of these towns were in possession of a large “Umgriff”, possess the land around them, like Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Ger., Eng.) did.
WOLTERING discusses the administration of the very Rothenburgian speciality, the Landwehr. (Ger.), and in doing so gives a good and informative overview of the administration of the town as a whole. He does this lege artis, hope he got a summa cum laude.

WASSON, Gordon R. ; HOFMANN, Albert ; RUCK, Carl A.P. : Der Weg nach Eleusis. Das Geheimnis der Mysterien. Aus dem Amerikanischen übertragen von Adrian LINDER. 1. Aufl. Frankfurt/M. 1984 (first : The Road to Eleusis. Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, NewYork 1978)
WASSON (Ger., Eng.) and his wife went deep into mushroom world. HOFMANN (Ger., Eng.) did the lab work, and Carl RUCK (Eng.) is still at it. Very readable little tome. Don’t try it at home. Could find no information about the translator.

STIERLE, Karlheinz : Petrarca. Fragmente eines Selbstentwurfs. Essay. München Wien 1998
As the title says, not a biography of Petrarc (1304-1374) (Ger., Eng.), but an essay about his self-styling, about how Petrarc construed his public persona. Hint : He did this very well. Petrarc was not “only” a poet, but a pretty important politician and public persona of his age. STIERLE (b. 1936) (Ger.) is a not unimportant German Romanist.

WITTKOWER, Rudolf : Allegorie und der Wandel der Symbole in der Antike und Renaissance. Übersetzt von Benjamin SCHWARZ. Köln 2002 (first : Allegory and the Migration of Symbols, Boulder & London, 1977)
WITTKOWER (1901-1971) (Ger., Eng.) is a British art historian, a friend of PANOFSKY (Ger., Eng.), and belongs to the WARBURG school. This tome was first published 1977 as the third volume of his collected essays. The quality of the illustrations is (at least partly) not good. It is a common saying that “symbols” were taken from the ancient world and “re-vived” at the end of the middle ages in Europe – but how was it actually done ? WITTKOWER shows.
In connection with his other titles it is important to mention his wife Margot, née HOLTZMANN (1902-1995) (Ger., Eng.). SCHWARZ (born 1937) is a translator in Berlin.

DUBY, Georges : Wirklichkeit und höfischer Traum. Zur Kultur des Mittelalters. Aus dem Französischen von Grete OSTERWALD. Berlin 1986
A collection of essays dealing with ideas & models of culture in the high middle ages. These texts originated in the course of developing larger works, namely Le Dimanche de Bouvines (1973) and Les Trois Ordres (1978). Not much I could say about G. DUBY (1919-1996) (Ger., Eng.).
OSTERWALD (born 1947) is a free translator in Frankfurt/M.

WEIGEL, Helmut : Epochen der Geschichte Frankens. Würzburg 1953
(Sonderdruck aus : Mainfränkisches Jahrbuch für Geschichte und Kunst 5(1953)
A lecture held either 1953 or 1952. WEIGEL is a not unproblematic historian, so this is basically only interesting for a historian of historiography. A discipline always consists of its own history too, especially humanities.

KASPER, Josef : Belichtung und Wahrheit. Bildreportage von der Gartenlaube bis zum Stern. Frankfurt/M. NewYork 1979
A history of the picture story / photo reportage from 19th century’s Gartenlaube (Ger., Eng.) to post-war publications in Western Germany. Could find no more information about Josef KASPER.

HAFFNER, Sebastian : Geschichte eines Deutschen. Die Erinnerungen 1914-1933. Mit einer Vorbemerkung zur Taschenbuchausgabe und einem Nachwort zur Editionsgeschichte von Oliver PRETZEL. München 2002
HAFFNER (1907-1999) (Ger., Eng.), born Raimund PRETZEL, is a German-British journalist and historian. He studied jus, and his experiences as junior lawyer (“Rechtsreferendar”) at the Kammergericht (Ger., Eng.) in Berlin taught him about what to expect. I think there is an English edition available, worth a look.

Enough now. I am tired. Part 2 will follow in the next days.


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.