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., Eng. Pol.) ; 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 !