And Finally, Some Books

Over the last days I finally managed to clear up my appartement. There was still some stuff lying around from the “new” kitchen that needed to be sorted & plain’n simply put away. Someone near me moved house, and while packing up he found some books belonging to me. When he gave them back I found no place to put them, because the location where I usually put books that need to be sorted in, was already overcrowded. This gives me the opportunity to torment you, venerated reader, with another boring book post. Here follows, in no particular order, a list of books I read since the last post.

AMMOSER, Hendrik : Das Buch vom Verkehr. Die faszinierende Welt von Mobilität und Logistik. Darmstadt 2014
The world of traffic – or better : mobility. There is a little bit more to it than “just” a road and a car. We now live inside a worldwide system of mobility of men & goods – just remember that ship in the Suez canal from some months ago. Keep in mind how unwanted travel guests use the system and hop from continent to continent, no real challenge for an enterprising virus.
AMMOSER (born 1976) is an ingenieur of Verkehrswesen and holds a position at the TU Dresden, sadly I could find no more information about him. He wrote a very informative overview of the historical development of transportation up to the most modern developments of the “Verkehrssystem”.

SCHENCK, Eva-Maria : Das Bilderrätsel. Hildesheim NewYork 1973
Rebus (Ger., Eng.), old as Methusalem. SCHENCK wrote the history of it, and collected examples in libraries throughout Europe. After two hundred something pages text, explanations & register, follow two hundred something pages illustrations – a large catalogue. One can only grab & enjoy or grab & throw away, and leave. Sadly I could find no more information about Ms SCHENCK.

Das große HÖRZU Buch der Erfindungen. [Redakteur Hans-Heinrich KÜMMEL] Frankfurt/M. 1987 (Originalausgabe : Le Livre Mondial des Inventions. Paris, seemingly any year since 1982]
It is large, quietschbunt (what is really not caught by “multi-coloured”), and filled with nonsense.

Cecil BEATON : War Photographs 1939-45. London 1981
Mr BEATON (1904-1980) (Ger., Eng., about) did not only photograph ladies in nice gowns, but he also went to war. This volume, foreword by Peter QUENNELL, introduction by Gail BUCKLAND, shows this part of his work. No matter what, BEATON is immortal for the photograph of Eileen Dunne in The Hospital for Sick Children, 1940 (you see it in the “about” link). Fucking huns.

SCHAROLD, Carl Gottfried : Würzburg und die umliegende Gegend, für Fremde und Einheimische kurz beschrieben. Würzburg 1805
The “Churfürstlich pfalzbaierische LandesdirectionsSecretär [sic] in Würzburg” SCHAROLD (1769-1847) (Ger., DB) describes the Franconian capital and the surrounding region. “Wein” and related matters pp 287-296.

UEDING, Gert : Wilhelm Busch. Das 19. Jahrhundert en miniature. Frankfurt/M 1986 (Suhrkamp Taschenbuch 1246) (zuerst : Frankfurt/M. 1977)
WIlhelm BUSCH (Ger., Eng.) is the Urvater of the modern “comic” strip – of the drawn, “funny”, story or narration. There is a bit more to it. His stories are not all “funny”, they are critical of a lot of things he watched and did not like, and they are pretty brutal. And anarchic. BUSCH always wanted to paint, and he did. Sadly he was under the impression that his paintings were not “good enough”, so he destroyed nearly anything he had painted, only a handful (less than ten ?) of his oil paintings survived, mostly by accident. He smashed a cheese on the wall of a Munich villa (inside, coram publico), then left society and went back home, to a godforsaken village in the Northern plains, never to leave again. What a life.
Gert UEDING (Ger.) is a Germanist, was until his retirement in 2009 the successor of Walter JENS in Tübingen.

Die Memoiren des Herzogs von Saint-Simon. Edited & Translated by Sigrid von MASSENBACH. 4 vol. Frankfurt/M Berlin 1991
I have not yet finished all of it, am stuck in volume IV, but it is a very interesting source for the late 17th, beginning 18th century France’ court life. Louis de ROUVROY, duc de SAINT-SIMON (1675-1755) (Ger., Eng.) is not the typical “Höfling”, courtier, in fact he is very critical of Louis’ XIV court, life, personality. He sees the later half of Ludwig’s very long reign as a national descent, not to say decline. At one point (if I remember it correctly) he says very clear that the ageing king surrounded himself with mediocre courtiers, who were not in full command of the subjects they had to deal with, be it economics, foreign policy or else. The king did this willfully to secure that he was always asked, came into a position of authority for which he was, well, not bright enough. But he was still there, for ages – and all those men who were responsible for the successfull politics and military actions before circa 1700, ministers and generals, became old, retired and died.
SAINT-SIMON is absolutely not objective in his writings, it basically started as his private diary, but at some point he writes to be read. He does not stay out of politics, he carefully analyses the different groups, their interests, and brings himself in a position where he can act. He is not successfull, but at least, he tried. SAINT-SIMON comes to the conclusion that the nation needs independent people who can work into a subject / topic, who can become experts – and who are independent, in the end, from the court, and from the king’s person. That can in the setting of his time only mean, nobility : Noble men who are economically independent, who work voluntarily for the nation, and the king as institution, not as person. This may be elitist nowadays, but for his time, at the court in Europe that invented “absolutism”, he was progressive – one of the few occasions when a real conservative becomes a progressive.
Besides all this, there is the gossip, his characterisations of people, and of course, fascinating (at least to me) insights, how a court really works : Where do you go when you want to see the king ? When is it possible to speak to the monarch ? How do you spent time in Versailles ? Who is whose lover, and is it important ?
I am sure there are shortened versions of his writings. SIgrid von MASSENBACH (1919-1984) was since 1962 the wife of the romanist and sociologist Hans NAUMANN ; besides her collaboration with her husband she translated many interesting texts into German.

HARTIG, Aglaia I. : Jean Paul MARAT. Ich bin das Auge des Volkes. Ein Portrait in Reden und Schriften. Berlin 1987
One of the Schreckensmänner of the Revolution, this MARAT (Ger., Eng.). Not necessarily one of the most likeable persons, so best to read the man himself. HARTIG (obit) was a German historian.

BORODZIEJ , Włodzimierz (Ger., EngPol.) ; GÓRNY, Maciej (Pol.) : Der vergessene Weltkrieg. Europas Osten 1912-1923, Darmstadt 2018
(zuerst : Nasza Wojna, 2016 ; The forgotten Worldwar. Europe’s East 1912-1923)
I wrote about this here. BORODZIEJ meanwhile died.

LUIDL, Philipp : Typografie. Herkunft, Aufbau, Anwendung. 2. rev. ed. Hannover 1989
You want to know yer divis from yer cicero ? Read this. Did you ever stand in a Drucksaal and cried ? I did. Widows & orphans are Hurenkinder & Schusterjungen. Did you ever try to make a Satzspiegel from scratch ? See page 99. I have no idea why printing, hence Drucksatz, typesetting (Ger., Eng.), is so damn fascinating. And no, nothing we ever did in cursed “word” comes close. First of all, because cursed “word” never was a Satzprogramm, and a “Layouter” does not get dirty hands. Of course there is no way back. But this is no excuse for bad setting / layout, texts full of idiotic mistakes, and lousy products in general, tah !

ROVAN, Joseph : Geschichte der Deutschen. Von ihren Ursprüngen bis heute. München Wien 1995 (zuerst : Histoire de l’Allemagne. Des origines à nos jours. Paris 1994)
It is important to note, and the author says it expressis verbis in his foreword for the German edition, that he wrote a history of Germany, not of the Germans.
Joseph ROVAN (1918-2004) (Ger., Eng.) was born as Joseph ROSENTHAL in Munich. This sentence alone should be able to invoke the history of Middle Europe in the bloody 20th century. His father early understood the antisemitic agenda of the Third Reich, and brought the family to France (1934 ?). Joseph did not emmigrate, joined the Resistance, went to Dachau, where he met interesting people. He later played a role as intellectual, historian, public persona in France, and can be counted among the most important people who made a Franco-German approach, reconciliation even, possible. I read his history of Germany “mit Gewinn” (“with profit” seems to be a very wrong translation), he opens interesting perspectives.

That’s it. I hope you can find something that tickles your interest – go and grab some Saint-Simon, let’s vanish in the 17th !

Books Again

Books were involved, of course. As mentioned (threatened ?) in the last post, another book list is here, so that I can take them away from my desk. After that I will have no more excuses for another task I had put off as long as possible, pushing it in front of me like a bow wave. But first books.

FREIHERR von REITZENSTEIN, Alexander : Franken. 6. Aufl., München 1976
Alexander von REITZENSTEIN (1904-1986) (Ger.) was a German art historian of Franconian descent. His name is closely connected with the “Bayerisches Armeemuseum” (Ger., Eng.), where he worked as main conservator since the thirties, and the very interesting magazine for “Waffen- und Kostümkunde” that he redacted for some years. REITZENSTEIN is a Franconian, he loves the region, and he writes an imho very charming, old fashioned style, closer to the 19th century than the twentieth. A lovely little book.

BENSON, E.F. : Miss Mapp. 1. Aufl., Frankfurt/M 1991
Well, not much to say about Miss Mapp. Nice place, Tilling.

HENNE am RHYN, Otto : Geschichte des Rittertums. Essen o.J.
In fact this is the revised re-print of the 1890 edition. HENNE am RHYN (1828-1914) (Eng.) was a Swiss historian, who worked as archivist in St.Gallen, and had different journalistic jobs through Germany before 1900. He was a kind of “Vielschreiber” using a light tone. This is an entertaining little book, nothing more. And it does not want to be more than that.

UNRUH, Karl : Langemarck. Legende und Wirklichkeit. 5. Aufl., Bonn 1997
The “battle” of Langemar(c)k, a small village in the flat nowhere of the Western front, took place in early November 1914. It was used as a German propaganda vehicle : The German youth martyrs itself in Flanders fields for Kaiser und Vaterland. That is the lie the official Heeresbericht der OHL (Ger., Eng.) sets into the world on the 11th of November 1914. This battle was a damn fiasco, a muderous, irresponsible waste of live caused by incompetent leadership on many levels. But this lie lived on, it was fed to my father thirty years later when “Führer und Vaterland” expected fourteen year olds to step out and die, and follow the example of the “heroes of Langemark”.
UNRUH (born 1913) is or was a German bookseller, who was a soldier through WWII. I sadly did not find more or actual information about him. What is clear from this book is that he was seriously miffed by propaganda lies.

CONSTANTINE, Greg : Vincent van Gogh Visits New York. 1. Aufl., NewYork 1983
As the title says, a documentation about Vinnie’s visit to NYC in the early eighties. CONSTANTINE sketched some scenes – kudos if you identify the cited works (solving at the end of the book). CONSTANTINE also accompagnied Picasso in Chicago and Lennie in LA.

SCHREINER, Stefan (Ed.u.Transl.) : Benjamin von Tudela, Petachja von Regensburg. Jüdische Reisen im Mittelalter. Köln 1998
(Sammlung Dieterich, 416)
Benjamin of Tudela (1130-1173) (Ger., Eng.) and Petachja of Regensburg (late 12th century) (Ger., Eng.) are well travelled men of the 12th century, both wrote about their voyages. SCHREINER (born 1947) is a German scholar of religious studies, who taught in Tübingen.

TRAXLER, Hans : Es war einmal ein Schwein. 1. Aufl., Frankfurt/M. 1984
Biography of a pig by Hans TRAXLER (Ger.), who is the last living member of the Neue Frankfurter Schule, and possibly a seer, because the pig’s biography ends with the verse : “Am Ende ist es Präsident / und kriegt ein Riesenmonument”, yes Mount Pigmore.

TAPPERT, Horst : Derrick und ich. Meine zwei Leben. München 1998
The German actor TAPPERT (1923-2008) (Ger., Eng.) played the “Kommissar” Derrick for more than twenty years, since the early seventies. I can hardly think of another actor (at least a German one) who was so swallowed by a role. When TAPPERT started this tv engagement he had roughly thirty years on German stages behind himself ans some good success in sixties’ tv productions. But what he will be remembered for, with what he’ll be identified, is this “Derrick”-character. Interesting little biographical sketch.

BOEHNCKE, Heiner ; BERGMANN, Klaus (Ed.) : Die Galerie der kleinen Dinge. Ein ABC mit 77 kurzen Kulturgeschichten alltäglicher Gegenstände vom Aschenbecher bis zum Zündholz. Vergrößerte Neuausgabe, Zürich 1990
This started as a series of short essays about “small”, daily things in the northern German broadcasting station, Radio Bremen I think. Over time they brought more than seventy little texts together, and here is the book. The texts are various in their intentions, some are historical oriented, some use the object to follow a train of thoughts, interesting nevertheless.

So far, so good. Maybe this list inspires your own reading, this would be fine.

Missing Books From Last List

I have to clear my desk. Here is a list of stupid books I read.

BOHNE, Friedrich (Hg.) : WIlhelm BUSCH : Balduin Bählamm. Maler Klecksel. Zürich 1974
BUSCH (Ger., Eng.) (1832-1908) is the “father of the comic strip”, at least all those who are seriosuly interested in the history of the drawn, comic story sooner of later come back to him. GULBRANSSON, UNGERER, I think even Mr CRUMP, and surely a lot of other artists, have mentioned him, or had some kind of reference to his work included in their own. I think in the Deutsche Museum für Karikatur und Zeichenkunst (Ger., Eng.) in Hanover, run by the Wilhelm-Busch-Gesellschaft, anything related to this artist is documented.
Sadly I could find no article dedicated to Herr BOHNE, who was (is ?) a very prolific editor of BUSCHs œvre.

EBERLE, Raimund : Was früher in Bayern alles Recht war. Aus den Anmerkungen des Wiguläus Aloysius Xaverius Freiherrn von KREITTMAYR zum Codex Maximilianus Bavaricus Civilis. Rosenheim o.J. (1976)
There is no fun in ius. But there is the text of the law, and there are the elucidationes, the notes that are as important as the text itself. KREITTMAYR (1705-1790) (Ger., Eng.) is the father of the Bavarian law, civil, criminal, and (civil) procedure, all children of the enlightened 18th century. And he was not shy of explaining the law in terms even a layman could understand. So his language is, sometimes, quite, well, colourful.
EBERLE says in his introduction that he, as a young Assessor (lowest rank in the juridical pecking order) had to draft a decision on a “Wegerecht”, right of way, or right of tresspass. The articles always pointed back, always adopted older regulations – until he finally reached the Codex Civilis (CMBC, Ger., Eng.) of 1756 (!). So he read KREITTMAYRs notes, and finally published a florilegium, a Blütenlese, of these characterful explanations.
Sadly I could find no more information on Herr EBERLE.

ANDRESEN, Carl ; DENZLER, Georg (Hg.) : Wörterbuch der Kirchengeschichte. 2. überarb. Aufl. München 1984
It may look strange to find a Wörterbuch, a dictionaty or better glossary, of church history (or anything else) in this list. Who reads a dictionary ? I do. Not always, not any, but now & then I like to look in dictionaries, and it is especially nice when one follows the references, links so to say. ANDRESEN (1909-1985) (Ger.) and DENZLER (*1930) (Ger.) know what they are dealing with, so this little Wörterbuch is a usable source.

HASTINGS, Selina : Nancy Mitford. Eine Biographie. Deutsch von Reinhard KAISER. Hamburg 1994 (zuerst : Nancy Mitford. London 1985)
Nancy (1904-1973) (Ger., Eng.) is the oldest of the Mitford sisters, Deborah was the youngest, she died in 2014. Selina HASTINGS (*1945) (Eng.) is a British writer. Interesting biography.

HEYDEN, A. v. : Die Tracht der Kulturvölker Europas vom Zeitalter Homers bis zum Beginne des XIX. Jahrhunderts. Reprint der Originalausgabe Berlin 1889
August Jakob Theodor von Heyden-Nerfken (1827-1897) (Ger.) was a (Prussian) painter and poet. Today we avoid the word “Tracht” because of its ideological implications, usually we talk about “Kostümkunde”, including not only clothing, but also hair-styles, makeup / maquillage, accessories including jewellery, I think perfume too. Especially the last would be of interest, I am not firm on this. HEYDEN is, frankly, exhaustng the subject – I have to confess that anything with fabric, the details of it, goes over my head. I can see a dress, and can kind of classify it, but the second seam from behind – no. I was confronted with the whole subject when I tried to learn how to date photographs of persons – so you have to look at what they wear, especially accessoires. But I have absolutely no idea of making a dress, of how to handle fabrics, textiles in the broadest sense. HEYDENs book can be used as a kind of reference book, I know that there are better ones. But the “222 illustrations, partly drawn by the author” do help a bit.

KRETSCHMANN, WInfried : Worauf wir uns verlassen wollen. Für eine neue Idee des Konservativen. Frankfurt / Main 2018
Very good. KRETSCHMANN (*1948) (Ger., Eng.) is a founding member of the Green Party, it’s roots lie in the German South-West. The Green Party is a wertkonservative party, I am not sure whether the translation my dictionary offers (“social conservative”) really fits. The man is actually head (“Ministerpräsident”) of Baden-Württemberg (vulgo : Suebia) in a coalition with the conservative party as such in Germany, the CDU. He asks what “conservative” means nowadays, and I like his answers. The man shows a good way forward. This little tome, just around 150 pages in duodecimo, are really worth a read and some thoughts. Never thought that I’d say this about a conservative theorist, but this may show & illustrate how much all and anything changed after 1989.

SCHWAMMBERGER, Adolf (Hg.) : Aus des Herrn de Blainville Reisen durch Holland, Deutschland, die Schweiz und Italien die Kapitel FRANKEN. Würzburg 1975 (Jahresgabe der Bibliohilengesellschaft)
de BLAINVILLE was a sharp tongued kind of gossiper, I think. I could not find a biographical article about him, sorry. He was “secretary to the Embassy of the States-General in Spain” at one point. In this position he kept a lot of notes, and sadly send all of his papers together with the corpse of the ambassador back to the Netherlands. The ship sunk. He then resurfaces in London. And here accepts the offer to accompagnie some young folks on their cavalier tour through Europe, also keeping note busily. The manuscript was not publsihed through his lifetime (I think it was in French ?), but only 1743/45, circa ten years after his death. He describes Europe around 1705. I would very much like to read the English edition. What we have here is the German translation from 1764 – so it is like a xerox of the n-th generation. But still stinging. Oh LOrd, send me money, so I can read all those books.

That’s it. A little distraction from aweful neighbours, a little space on the desk saved, auf zu neuen Ufern !

A Book Catalogue

REICKE, Emil : Magister und Scholaren. Illustrierte Geschichte des Unterrichtswesens. 3. Nachdruckauflage 1979 (zuerst : Leipzig 1901)
A learned history of education through the centuries in Europe. REICkE (1865-1950) (Dt.Bio.) came from an intellectual home in Königsberg, his father was a historian and acknowledged Kant researcher. One brother was chief librarian in Göttingen, while Emil worked and lived in Nürnberg as historian & archivist. Nicely done book, well illustrated.

KOLLNIG, Karl : Kurpfalz. Ereignisse und Gestalten. Heidelberg 1986
This not an extensive history of the Kurpfalz (Ger., Eng.), but a collection of small articles by the historian etc. KOLLNIG (1910-2003) (about). Interesting too for the history of my field, Volkskunde, strange to see what survives.

GERNHARDT, Robert : Die Magadaskar-Reise. Ein Bericht. 1. Auflage Oktober 1980
Even GERNHARDTs (1937-2006) (Ger., Eng.) bored scribble is worth to be collected, printed, and published. People like me buy it then.

KUHLMANN-HODICK, Petra ; VALTER, Claudia (Hgg.) : “… ein Land der Verheißung”. Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld zeichnet Italien. Dresden 2001
Excellent catalogue of the drawings Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872) (Ger., Eng.) made in Italy. They were shown Mai to August 2000 in Munich, and January to April 2001 in Dresden.
Aside : It is terrible when authors or editors start the title of a book with three points, Auslassungszeichen or ellipsis (Ger., Eng.), or with Anführungszeichen or quotation marks (Ger., Eng.). It should qualify for capital punishment when both are combined.

BILL BRANDT : Behind The Camera. Photographs 1928-1983. Introduction by Mark HAWORTH-BOOTH, essay by David MELLOR. NewYork 1985
Another catalogue, Philadelphia 1985. BRANDT (1904-1983) (moma, Ger., Eng.) is a master, I do like the rich, even very hard contrast in his pictures.

LINDNER, Manfred (Hg.) : PETRA und das Königreich der Nabatäer. Lebensraum, Geschichte und Kultur eines arabischen Volkes der Antike. 3. erweiterte und verbesserte Auflage, München 1980
I think this is the first modern history of the Nabatæans (Ger., Eng.), at least in German. The Petra in the title is not our Danish friend, but a place in Jordan (Ger., Eng.). LINDNER (1918-2007) (Ger. only) is a neurologist by profession, not an archeologist. Nevertheless he started to research Petra in the early 1960s, and brought together the very first exhibition about this place and the Nabatæan kingdom in 1970. Interesting tome with various esays about different aspects, among others the goods that were merchandised there like incense, myrrh, balsam.

MRUSEK, Hans-Joachim : Romanik. 4. erweiterte Auflage, Leipzig 1991
Informative essay with circa 200 high quality pictures of buildings, good print. MRUSEK (1920-1994) (Ger. only) was since 1963 professor and director of the institute for art history at the university Halle. He was especially interested in medieval secular buildings.

I feel too tired, and a bit bored, to go on. How does the reader feel ? I am sorry to put your loyalty under such stress, last remaining visitor, but there are seven titles left & I will write that list tomorrow. Now I need a round of bubble-shooter or something similar exciting !