Another Boring Book List

It’s been a time since the last book report in October. I read, sometimes with difficulties, but nevertheless, I read. As if this would be something worth in itself, like art pour l’art. In the end, the hope that it all will fit into one large, sense filled weaving never dies. Perhaps a promise never fulfilled.

Georg Christoph LICHTENBERG : Schriften und Briefe. Dritter Band. Aufsätze, Entwürfe, Gedichte, Erklärungen der Hogarthischen Kupferstiche. Herausgegeben von Wolfgang PROMIES. Frankfurt am Main 3. Auflage 1994
I did not “read” this in the common sense of the word by starting at page one and then working through it. I read in it essays and pieces that seemed to be interesting. PROMIES (Ger.) was the LICHTENBERG specialist of the day and created the edition to use.

METTERNICH, Wolfgang : Teufel, Geister und Dämonen. Das Unheimliche in der Kunst des Mittelalters. Darmstadt 2011
METTERNICH is a learned man who took a nice tour d’horizon about what nowadays is called the “Unheimliche”, the “eerie”, in medieval art. You see the snag – “eerie” is no medieval category. But he put together a nice sample of especially Romanesque art and deals with it in an acceptable way. He knows his sources.
The book itself would have benefited from a nice and thorough proof reading, as it is the norm nowadays with most of those “easy” products.

LEITNER, Bernhard : The architecture of Ludwig WIttgenstein. A documentation. With excerpts from the Family Recollections by Hermine Wittgenstein. London 2. Auflage 1995
Yes, Ludwig (Ger., Eng., sep) was not only a philosopher, but he also built a house (Ger., Eng.), in Vienna for one of his sisters. It must have been one cold affaire in its heyday, charming like a public restroom with its dangling, single electric bulbs over black concrete floors.
Bernhard LEITNER (Ger.) did a lot to prevent this thing from being torn down. Ugliness wins.

NEUBAUER, Hans-Joachim : FAMA. Eine Geschichte des Gerüchts. Berlin 1998
I know that I read it, but I have no recollection. What a shame.

HILKENBACH, Sigurd ; KRAMER, Wolfgang : Die Straßenbahn der Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG-Ost / BVB) 1949 – 1991. Stuttgart 2. überarbeitete Auflage 1999
I do not understand why I possess books like this one. It contains photographs of trams, descriptions of  every technical aspect of running a pretty large tramway in Easter Berlin for over forty years – “this comprehensive documentation leaves barely any question unanswered”. Yes. I never asked a question about the East-Berlin tram services.
So I will put it back in the shelf to the books about buses, trucks, public transportation – I’m an idiot.

Möbius und sein Band. Der Aufstieg der Mathematik und Astronomie im Deutschland des 19. Jahrhunderts. Herausgegeben von John FAUVEL, Raymond FLOOG, Robin WILSON. Aus dem Englischen von Gisela MENZEL. Basel Boston Berlin 1994 (zuerst : Möbius and His Band, Oxford 1993)
This is not a biography of the Saxon mathematician August Ferdinand MÖBIUS (1790-1868) (Ger., Eng.) but a collection of six essays that describe different aspects of the history of mathematics as science taught and positioned in the academic institutions of Möbius’ lifetime. Very interesting and informative texts about the history of natural science, and about the history of mathematics as a science and where Möbius stands there.

SINZ, Herbert : Lexikon der Sitten und Gebräuche im Handwerk. Freiburg im Breisgau 1986 (Herderbücherei, 1263)
Exactly what the title says : A little lexicon of customs, or rites, developed in the different crafts from the late middle ages to the 19th century.

Ausonius. Herausgegeben von Manfred Joachim LOSSAU. Darmstadt 1991 (Wege der Forschung, 652)
LOSSAU (Ger.) was classicist at Trier university. Here he edits a collection of essays about Ausonius (Ger., Eng.), who may be known for his poem about the river Mosel / Moselle (Ger., Eng.) Excellent wines there.
It is a sum of the current status of research about Ausonius, who not only was a poet and rhetor, but also a man in important political positions while Trier was one of the capitals of the Roman Empire.

MEYER, Otto : Die Alte Mainbrücke zu Würzburg und ihre Heiligen. Religion und Politik um die Alte Mainbrücke. Würzburg 1972 (Sonderdruck aus dem Mainfränkischen Jahrbuch 23/71)
As you may know the Franconian capital is decorated with a bridge over the river Main, the Alte Mainbrücke (Ger.). On this bridge stand twelve figures, commonly called the “Brückenheilige”, the bridge’s Saints – while not all twelve are Saints, one or another king can be found among them.
Of course they are not haphazardly or randomly put there – Hey, ho, let’s put a statue there ! It is a program, and Otto MEYER (Ger.) explained it in a public lecture in 1968.

KRISCHKE, Traugott : Ödön von Horváth. Kind seiner Zeit. Berlin 1998 (Ullstein-Buch, 26525)
This is really a very well penned biography about the author Ödön von Horváth (Ger., Eng.). I should write a little post about him. KRISCHKEs enthusiasm really “leaps over” onto the reader. He literally follows his object’s (last) footsteps – Ödön was killed on the Champs Élysée (Ger., Eng.) in a freak accident on 1st of June 1936.

HELLER, Erich : Enterbter Geist. Essays über modernes Dichten und Denken. Frankfurt am Main 1. Auflage 1981 (suhrkamp Taschenbuch 537) (zuerst : The Disinherited Mind. Cambridge 1952)
Erich HELLER (1911-1990) (Ger., Eng.) was an English writer of  German, Bohemian and Jewish origin. His Disinherited Mind, a collection of essays about modern Writing and Thinking was an influential text in the fifties. Some essays were published again in the German speaking world in his own translation, but the German edition (1954) as a whole was not available anymore at the end of the 1970s – as HELLER describes in the foreword for this new edition.
As HELLER mentions, this strange Scot MacDIARMID (Ger., Eng.) took a lot from HELLERs article about Karl KRAUS and published it as own poem titled “And above all, Karl Kraus” (149 of 157 lines). Both, MacDIARMID and HELLER had interesting views on “borrowing”.
Another scene is remarkable. HELLERs thinking leads (automatically) from SCHOPENHAUER via NIETZSCHE to HEIDEGGER – Hannah ARENDT is one of the most important of HELLERs correspondents. So Heller visits the moustachioed “thinker” in the late 1940s and asks him “Why ?” – just to be found unworthy an answer. I never could understand why people fall over backwards for this Nazischwätzer Heidegger. In my opinion most of his “philosophy” is cheapest Wortgeklingel, verbiage, and nothing else.

Über Arthur Schopenhauer. Herausgegeben von Gerd HAFFMANNS. Zürich 3. erneut erweiterte und verbesserte Auflage 1981 (Diogenes Taschenbuch 153)
This is a direct result of reading HELLER. A collection of passages where writers point out their view on SCHOPENHAUER, a wide range from “demi god” to “brainsick blatherer”.

So far. Time to stuff ’em back. Maybe you find something interesting.

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.