Tag: books

Buch, Buch und nochmal Buch …

Time to clean up and tidy the appartement. But it is soo damn humid that even walking from the desk to the fridge leaves me dripping from sweat. I hear rumble in the distance, hopefully a little thunder & lightning will clean the atmosphere. No action with the vacuum cleaner, tomorrow is another day.
But the heap of books – this can be done without any suffering. So here is a little list of books I’ve read since the last one from end of May.

PÜTTER, Conrad : Deutsche Emigranten und britische Propaganda. Zur Tätigkeit deutscher Emigranten bei britischen Geheimsendern. In : Exil in Großbritannien. Zur Emigration aus dem nationalsozialistischen Deutschland. Edited by Gerhard HIRSCHFELD (Publications of the German Historical Institute London, 14), 1. Aufl., Stuttgart 1983, 106-137
Very informative. Gives an interesting glimpse into the organisation of the British secret radio operations during WWII, be it white, grey or black propaganda. PÜTTER, about whom I could find no additional information, specialised in the topic. He edited a handbook about German-speaking radio activities through WWII (Rundfunk gegen das „Dritte Reich“. Deutschsprachige Rundfunkaktivitäten im Exil 1933–1945. Ein Handbuch (Rundfunkstudien, 3), München u. a. 1986) and contributed to other on-topic publications.

CASSOU, Jean : Picasso. (Aus dem Französischen von Ute GARROTE), Paris 1958
Jean CASSOU (1897-1986) (Ger., Eng., Fr.) had something like the archetypical life of a French intellectual in the 20th century. After WWII he became the first director of the newly found Musée National d’Art Moderne (Ger., Eng.) (until 1965), and he should have something to say about Picasso. He had, he did, the result is this little essay.

SWIFT, Jonathan : Satiren. Mit einem Essay von Martin WALSER (insel taschenbuch, 131), 1. Aufl., Frankfurt / Main 1975
Should read the original, really.

Mittelalterezeption. Texte zur Aufnahme altdeutscher Litertaur in der Romantik. Herausgegeben, eingeleitet und mit einer weiterführenden Bibliographie versehen von Gerard KOZIELEK (Deutsche Texte, 47), 1. Aufl., Tübingen 1977
As we know, the idea, the image of the “Middle Ages”, is a product of romanticism, as are the “sciences” “History” and “Germanistik” / “Germanistic studies” (and in between them, their wayward bastard, Deutsche Volkskunde). But who received or adapted what ? This little volume collects the most important texts by TIECK, SCHLEGEL, von ARNIM, GÖRRES, W. & J. GRIMM, and UHLAND, from 1803 to 1831.
About KOZIELEK I could not find much information. He is a “Germanist”, born in Breslau perhaps in 1928. At least he received a “Festschrift” for his 65th birthday in 1993, but I could not find a biographical article online.
I should have read this twenty-five years earlier.

BRÜHL, Georg : Vertiko und Chaiselongue. Deutsche Möbel der Gründerzeit. Leipzig 1992
This little volume collects designs for ameublement chosen & collected from a “Musterbuch” (Ger.) of the 19th century. These designs belong to what is called “Historismus” (Ger., Eng.). The little book reproduces drafts and gives a little text about each. Nice. What is depicted is all that stuff the next generation (those “Lebensreformers” and “Wandervögel” of 1900) will happily throw out ; the next generation that will venerate clear rectangular forms, clear colours, filigree designs preferably from metal and abhors dark wooden monster pieces, windows covered in thick curtains, everything pseudo-folksy – you get the idea.
BRÜHL (Ger.) was an important art historian, museologist and collector in the GDR.

HAFFMANNS, Gerd (Ed.) : Über William Faulkner (Diogenes Taschenbuch, 14), Zürich 1973
Material collection about FAULKNER. What had writers to say about his work, and about single texts. Contains his Nobel speech, a lengthy interview from 1957, timetable. Interesting to see what colleagues had to say about him, what he had to say about writing.

STEVENSON, Robert Louis : Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes and An Inland Voyage. Köln 1997
Grab a small bag, and march off. Avoid to sleep under cork oaks, there are rats. Remember, the Cevennen (Ger., Eng.) can be rough. If you want to follow Mr STEVENSON, look here.

That’s it. Perhaps a title is an invitation for you for further exploration.


Another Boring Book List

It is been a bit since the last book list, it appeared here in early March I think.
These posts are tagged with “books”, perhaps I should categorise them under “Books”. Now follow in no particular order, just as they come from the heap, books I read since March.

OPPERMANN, Hans : Julius Caesar in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. Reinbek 1968 (rowohlts monographien, ed. by Kurt KUSENBERG, 135)
I have to admit that this is the first time I read a coherent biography of Julius. The depiction of Julius’ life is broad, not limited on one or two aspects, The author likes his subject, but does not idolize his hero. All the more I was astounded when I learned from the biographical wikipedia article about OPPERMANN (here) that he was a fervent national socialist who worked on a ns-conform classic philology while he was professor at the university of Freiburg until 1944. After the war he was not allowed back in the (west-)German university, but still good enough for teaching at Hamburgian Gymnasien. Given the common tendency in German academia after 1945 to forget & forgive, where after a few years the same old blockheads showed up, and saw to continuity, who were already shouting ex cathedra before 1939, I think it is remarkable to see that this man was shunt off into school teaching – he really was not acceptable any more. Nevertheless, old nazi or not, this biography of Julius is informative, well written, and well readable even after nearly fifty years.

BONER, Georg : Laupersdorf. Unsere Heimat im Wandel der Zeit.
Erster Teil 1968 : Von der Frühzeit bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters
Zweiter Teil 1973 : Vom frühen 16. bis zum ausgehenden 18. Jahrhundert
Dritter Teil [1986] : Von der Revolution von 1798 bis an die Schwelle des 20. Jahrhunderts
A work of love. Laupersdorf (Ger., Eng.) is a small village in Kanton Solothurn. It is mostly Roman-Catholic, belongs to the diocese of Solothurn. The author (1908-1991) (Ger. only) was a Swiss historian and archivist, a prolific writer, long-time collaborator of the Aargauer Staatsarchiv. The community expressed its wish to have a history of the village, and they turned to the man who was best suited to write it. So this “simple” “Dorfgeschichte”, village history, is written lege artis – and well readable too. If you are interested in small Swiss villages …

FABRICIUS, Klaus ; SAUNDERS, Red (editors) : 24 Hours in the Life of Los Angeles. First print, New York June 1984
Another village, another approach : Not the history, but the Now – and this as full as possible. So they sent out a lot of photographers into the “Olympic City ’84”, and out came a portrait of this strange place, fascinating after 33 years.
I could not find more about Mr FABRICIUS, perhaps he is behind this photo blog.

SCHMIDT-Eppendorf, Peter : Sylt. Memoiren einer Insel. Dokumente, Chroniken, Berichte aus 1001 Jahren. Husum 1977
Now I know anything about Keytum, Morsum, Arxum, Westerlant & Rantum what is there to know. Monsignore (Ger., Eng.) SCHMIDT-Eppendorf seems to be a colourful character. Interesting book about a landscape that is totally alien to me : Imagine sand dunes wandering over villages !

HERBERSTEIN, Sigmund v. : Das alte Rußland. Übertragen von Wolfram von den STEINEN. Mit einem Nachwort von Walter LEITSCH. 2. Auflage, Zürich 1985
I wrote about this book and its author already here.

WUNDERLICH, Dieter : Sprachen der Welt. Warum sie so verschieden sind und sich doch alle gleichen. Darmstadt 2015
I doubt that I understood it. WUNDERLICH gives an introduction into the world of “language”, the system to classify & organise this wonderful cosmos, answers a lot of questions around “language”. But finally I have no clue why they are so different. This is surely not the fault of the author Dieter WUNDERLICH (Ger.), who thankfully writes clearly and describes complicated issues in a way that even I can get my buckethead around it.

GÜNTHER, Sonja : Design der Macht. Möbel für Repräsentanten des “Dritten Reiches”. Mit einem Vorwort von Wolfgang Fritz HAUG. Stuttgart 1992
GÜNTHER describes how the “Vereinigte Werkstätten” (Ger.) became the main production place for ameublement the heads of the Third Reich finally had in their representative rooms. Interesting pictures, so you know what not to put into your salon.

PRIESNER, Claus : Chemie. Eine illustrierte Geschichte. Darmstadt 2015
Finally a history of this terrible subject “chemistry” I have a chance to understand. With a lot of colourful pictures too. PRIESNER (Ger.) is a noted historian of science, together with Karin FIGALLA he edited a lexicon of alchemy. Even something so dreadful as “chemistry” can have an interesting history !


Books Lists

It’s early March, towards the end of my week off, and I feel miserable. The headaches returned, not strong and hammering, but easily ever present and hence nerve wrecking.
Nevertheless I read some books since the last book related update. Here follows a list, perhaps you may find it interesting and inspiring for your own reading. It all falls in the category “Non Fiction”.

BENZENHÖFER, Udo (Hg.) : Paracelsus. Darmstadt 1993
It is a collection of essays by various authors about Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von HOHENHEIM, called Paracelsus (Ger., Eng.) (1493-1541). The authors are all profound authorities in the history of alchemy, the history of medicine and specialists for Paracelus’ biography and teachings. This collection provides a good overview over different aspects of Paracelsus’ life, work, and how the image of the subject changed over time, from late 19th century towards the end of the 20th century.
BENZENHÖFER (Ger., website) is a leading Medizinhistoriker in Germany, another focus of his research is the history of medicine through the “Third Reich”.

HILLER, Ludwig (Bearb.) : Tausendjähriges Langenzenn. Ein Heimatbuch. Langenzenn 1954
This is one of those small books in the category “Heimatbuch”. Usually a history of the settlement / village / town is published in celebration of an anniversary, like five hundred years insert-name. Langenzenn (Ger., Eng. website) is a town in Middle Franconia. The thousand years in the title of the little tome refer to the first evident appearance of the settling in history, when in the year 954 king (later emperor) Otto I. held a “Reichstag” at this place. As with other books of this kind that I have mentioned before, there is no “need” for me to read them. I just like to look into those books, read  a chapter e.g. about the fire brigade, or something that is special about this place, and have a look at the advertisements of the day. This one is nicely designed and brings wood carvings depicting views in and around the village.

FIEDLER, Wilhelm : Das Fachwerkhaus in Deutschland, Frankreich und England. Reprint of the original edition Berlin 1903, Leipzig o.J.
Originally a dissertation (Referent Cornelius GURLITT). A comparative collection of half-timber-houses in Germany, France and the UK with very interesting depictions of details. I just like old houses.

GELLERMANN, Günther W. : Die Armee Wenck – Hitlers letzte Hoffnung. Aufstellung, Einsatz und Ende der 12. deutschen Armee im Frühjahr 1945. 3. Auflage, Bonn 1997
I have mentioned GELLERMANN earlier here, but I forgot where and – sorry – I will not look now. This book tells along the sources the history of the last “army” the Wehrmacht scratched together. The word “army” is a bit misleading, in the end WENCK (Ger., Eng.) (1900-1982) had not more than four divisions of dubious fighting capacity, and found himself in a real lousy position. He made the best out of it when he refused to attack Berlin that was almost entirely circled by Soviet forces, and instead reached out eastwards to collect the remnants of the 9th army and lots of civilian refugees, retreating in Western direction towards the Elbe and in doing so bringing these people into the American sector.

SCHULZ, Joachim Christoph Friedrich : Reise nach Warschau. Eine Schilderung aus den Jahren 1791-1793. (Bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Klaus ZERNACK), 1. Auflage 1982
SCHULZ (about, DB, 1762-1798) gives a very livid and good readable description of Varsovia, of Polish life & politics in his age, at the end of the eighteenth century. ZERNACK (Ger.) writes a very instructive postscript introducing in SCHULZENS life and times. Interesting read.

KYTZLER, Bernhard (Hg.) : Geister,  Gräber und Gespenster. Antike Spukgeschichten. Leipzig 1989
From Herodot via Plinius senior & iunior to Augustinus, and all stops in between. Stories about daemons, haunting, haunted houses, doppelgaengers – the ancients already knew about this, here are the originals. KYTZLER (Ger.) is a classicist, so he knows the sources. Nice little tome.

NEULEN, Hans Werner : Feldgrau in Jerusalem. Das Levantekorps des kaiserlichen Deutschland. München 1991
I did not know that something like a “Levantekorps” (Ger., Eng.) existed before I took up this book. It is also known as “Asien-Korps”. The unit’s job was to support the army of the Ottoman Empire in various theatres of war during WWI. All in all a difficult task, successfully solved only in parts, while other engagements ended in plain disaster. I can not say something about the author, I simply did not find enough about his biography.

BÄUMER, Angelica (Red.) : Die Anderen. Fotografien von Harry Weber. Nach einer Idee von Margit Münster. Wien 1994 (Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, 189. Sonderausstellung, 14. April bis 28. Mai 1994)
WEBER (Ger.) (1921-2007) was an Austrian photographer. The photographs of this exhibition show people on the streets of Vienna, outsiders, foreigners, poor people. I confess that I am not interested in WEBERs social message – he simply makes very good black-white photographs, worked in colour too. Here the nearly twenty thousand pictures he left to the ÖNB.

Maybe you can find something interesting.

For Your Viewing Pleasure …

or, perhaps better, to satisfy my exhibitionistic needs, follow some pictures of bookshelves that surround me. Because it is not enough to show a “Book on a Chair” anymore, no, it needs to be a complete bookshelf nowadays ! This craze was started by Mr DeVice (complete list here).

Picture 1 is taken from the place where I sit, and shows the bookshelf to the left behind me (crumbled white t-shirt included).



Behind me to the left
Behind me to the left


Picture 2 shows the view to the left through the door into the room where I sleep (socks included).


View into another room
View into another room


Picture 3 shows that bookshelf to the left in front of me (cap included).


Books to the left of me
Books to the left of me


Picture 4 & 5 are just for fun, to add something artsy ‘n stuff.


Stuff on a shelve
Stuff on a shelve




Picture 6 is a shaky attempt on a self-portrait, sadly failed, sorry.




There is no need to show other walls, they all do look the same anyway. Really, how can one live his time out in such a boring surrounding ? It’s paper ! And before you ask, the abomination on the ceiling is a makeshift I got from a neighbour who threw the thing out (seventies, with original dead flies), accidentally when I needed a light to guide me out of the darkness …  Normally I do not like these ceiling lamps, but it works and is not standing in my way – you see I’m easy on interior design.