One of the few not too arduous & diaphoretic tasks in these days of sweltering heat is putting books back into shelves. And before I cramp them back into their wooden jails I take their fingerprints and photograph … So in absolutely not special or sorted, but purely random succession follow the titles of books I read over the last two months.

MELNIKOW, Madgalena ; DUERR, Hans Peter (Eds.) : Rudolf Rocker. Aus den Memoiren eines deutschen Anarchisten. Einleitung von Augustin SOUCHY. Nachwort von Diego Abad de SANTILLÁN. 1. Auflage, Frankfurt / Main 1974 (edition suhrkamp, 711)
ROCKER (1873-1958) (Ger., Eng.) was an important figure of the German and international anarchistic movement, with an exemplary biography that led from the native Rhineland, via Paris to London (of course with internment through WWI and deportation) back to Germany in 1919, then via Spain into exile in the US. On this life journey he met nearly everyone who played a role in the very different “movement” of people who did not accept the rule of man over man. A fierce opponent to the old school social-demokratic party in the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic, a fierce critic of the communists who replaced the autocratic rule of the czar with the dictatorial regime of their own party, of course in opposition to all those nationalistic & fascists movements of his time, ROCKER seemingly never gave up on his ideals of a free & just society for all, while he lived through an æra that all too directly showed the exact opposite, that all too violent 20th century with its hecatombs of dead men and lakes of blood.
Whether the editor M. MELNIKOW is the gallery owner of the same name (1938-2017) I can not verify, but I think it is likely. Hans Peter DUERR (Ger., Eng.) is a German anthropologist ; we met Augustin SOUCHY (1892-1984) (Ger., Eng.) before on this blog, I read his autobiography ; de SANTILLÁN  (1897-1983) (Ger., Eng.) was an important figure in the Spanish speaking anarchistic movement.

VIERENGEL, Rudolf : Miltenberg. Ein kultur- und kunstgeschichtlicher Wegweiser durch die alte Stadt am Main mit Betrachtungen über Großheubach, Kloster Engelberg, Kleinheubach und Bürgstadt. Mit zahlreichen Aufnahmen von Lala AUFSBERG und Leo GUNDERMANN. Amorbach 1962
Oh so idyllic. VIERENGEL was a local newspaper man, who wrote some pretty bleak nonsense in the 1930s, a la mode. It can be nice to use such an old guide book. Not that I plan to travel to Miltenberg.

LUNARDI, Heinrich : 900 Jahre Nürnberg. 600 Jahre Nürnberger Uhren. Wien, Stuttgart 1974
It is what the title says, a catalogue of clocks and clockmakers from Nuremberg. Sadly I could find no additional biographical information about LUNARDI, but he published several titles that deal with the history of clocks or chronometers. These are simply stunning objects. If you want to see clocks, turn to the Deutsche Uhrenmuseum, or visit the Uhrenmuseum in Vienna, of course LUNARDI wrote a guide book (in 1973).

DROMMER, Günther (Ed.) : Markus WOLF : Die Kunst der Verstellung. Dokumente, Gespräche, Interviews. Berlin 1998
Texts by Mischa WOLF (1923-2006) (Ger., Eng., obit.) about his life and times. He died on a 9th of November. Doesn’t get much more German. I could not find additional information about the editor DROMMER. He seemingly lives in or around Berlin, is (possibly) in his seventies.

Gemeindeverwaltung Pfaffenhofen (Ed.) : 700 Jahre Weiler a.[n] d.[er] Z.[aber] einst und jetzt. Pfaffenhofen 1983
Weiler an der Zaber (Ger.) is a village in the rural district Heilbronn. Here absolutely nothing happened. Of course the place was burnt down several times – goodness, the usual. But that’s about it. Absolutely unspectacular. It stumbled into history because a guy called Lupold von Weiler was used as witness for a contract dated 15th of June 1279. “Weiler” is such a non-descriptive name for a “hamlet”, it really says nothing. The “Weiler” Lupold came from is definitely identified as the place at the bank of the “river” Zaber (Ger., Eng.). Nothing, really. It is fascinating.

Gemeindevorstand Bickenbach (Ed.) : 1100 Jahre bickenbach uffm sand. Chronik der Gemeinde Bickenbach 874-1974. Darmstadt 1973
They scrapped all & everything together and filled more than 400 pages – impressive. Bickenbach (Ger., Eng.) is somewhere in Hassia. When you have read through this tome, it will hold no secrets for you anymore.

HAGENOW, Gerd : Aus dem Weingarten der Antike. Der Wein in Dichtung, Brauchtum und Alltag. Mainz 1982 (Kulturgeschichte der antiken Welt, 12)
Finally a title that deals with an important cultural issue – wine in the ancient world. HAGENOW deals with the different aspects of wine and wine drinking, of the role in daily life, for symposia, in poetics and philosophy – and also speaks in a lengthy chapter about wine-growing. As some of the ancients said – the Muses have the pleasant scent of wine already in the morning … cheerio.

GRÜMBKE, Johann Jacob : Streifzüge durch das Rügenland. Herausgegeben von Albert Burkhardt. Leipzig, 2.Auflage 1991
GRÜMBKE (1771-1849) (Ger.) was born in Bergen auf Rügen. He became the founder of the local historiography. His “Streifzüge” (I think it’s best given as “wanderings”) were published for the first time in 1805, the little book can be considered to be a classic of the genre “travel literature”. GRÜMBKE lived as independent scholar, I think he found his vocation in describing the nature & the history of his native homeland, and simply (and hopefully, happily) followed the call. The university of Greifswald gave him a doctor honoris causa for his lifetime achievement.

WIPPLINGER, Eva : Fayencen deutscher Manufakturen aus der Staatlichen Galerie Moritzburg in Halle / Saale. Leipzig, 3. verbesserte Auflage 1990 (Die Schatzkammer, 16)
Fayence, faience, (Ger., Eng.) after the Italian town Faenca, is pottery with a tin glaze. I lack the knowledge of the special words to describe what ungesinterte Irdenware is. I think that is not necessary to know, as long as one understands that it is by no means porcellaine – what is made from a totally different earth.
Eva WIPPLINGER is the grande dame of German numismatics. She had her 90th birthday end of March 2018, seemingly in good health, celebrated of course in Moritzburg. A nice little booklet with good photographies – that shockingly do explain and illustrate what is mentioned in the text !

WASSERMANN, Charles : Unter polnischer Verwaltung. Tagebuch 1957. Gütersloh 1957
Charles WASSERMANN (and his wife Jacqueline !) travel through the former German areas in the East that after WWII are “under Polish administration”. WASSERMANN does not get tired to describe how awful and bleak life seems to be in Ostpreussen, Danzig, Ostpommern, Ostbrandenburg, and of course, Silesia. I am not quiet sure what to make of this text.
WASSERMANN (1924-1978) (about) was the son of the writers Jacob WASSSERMANN (Ger., Eng.) and Marta KARLWEIS (Ger.). Jacob may be known nowadays for Der Fall Maurizius / The Maurizius Case (1928). Marta wrote her own stuff, and was largely forgotten after 1933, Jacob’s books were burnt of course. The son Charles followed his mother into emigration, for him first England, Swiss for her, later together Canada.
He became a citizen there and worked as journalist, among other contracts, as correspondent for Eastern Europe for the CBC (from 1953). WASSERMANN suffered from severe diabetes, it turned him blind, he finally died in 1978, his wife survived him for 17 years.

BÖCKELMANN, Frank ; LEUBE, Dietrich : Das Katastrophenalbum. Folge 1, Nr. 1-58 : An einem Tag wie jedem anderen und Menetekel. Nördlingen 1985
A collection of catastrophies, strange, sometimes terrifying things that happened on a “normal day”. I really wonder if the editors did a second volume. BÖCKELMANN (Ger.) is a German author and cultural scientist, LEUBE a journalist about whom I could not find more..

This is it so far. Perhaps you find something interesting for you.


Not Tonight, Darling

It’s a beautiful evening, clear blue sky with high thin clouds, ein Wolkengespinst, not too hot, not too chilly.
And I feel old. Tired to the bone. It was the last drive of the week, even for this month, two weeks off for Pentecost, the wonderful feast of the Holy Ghost. Would be nice if he could drop by … wonder if she/he/it can manage this time, but I doubt. I guess we’ll have to soldier on. Sorry if this sounds a little hopeless, I do not want to drag you down, venerated reader, it’s just me, who feels a little worn.
I just want to sleep, undisturbed, and long enough. I want to wake up and feel relaxed and strengthened, not knackered and as exhausted as six hours before.
It is not the work, what is surely not overwhelming. I felt some anger over the last few days, on several occasions things I can not change happened to me, none of it a major disaster, each and single one something to forget, but it adds up a bit, and makes me feel irritated. And the little wheel in the head keeps on spinning, what leads to a disturbed sleep, and more irritability.
On the other hand the boys had some good time when I drove them, we were happily chatting, joking and even singing, a big difference from older times, when there was mostly silence while we drove with my first co-driver (the matriarch) on this route. Co-drivers came and went for some time, until the actual one came along. She’s accepted now, but overly protective, and comes over as a bit harsh sometimes ; but she relaxes, slowly.
I should take care of my kitchen sink, the water flows down only veryvery slowly, so there is some blockage in the tubes. But I really do not want to spent this evening crawling on all four under the sink handling some greenish fatty glob. As exciting as this may be for a non-handy-man like me with all that instant satisfying success, not tonight, darling. Also I should screw my bicycle back together after I repaired the tube of the front wheel – again, as rewarding this may be, not tonight : I just want to have a glass of wine or two, and relax & unwind.
Finally a project I can manage, after all.


Books ! Away With Them !

Perhaps I should create a new category “books”, it would be easier for me to find the last reading list.
Here is what I read over the last few months, time to sort them back in.

SIEBER, Helmut : Oberlausitz. Frankfurt/Main 1968
Where (or what) is the Oberlausitz (Ger., Eng.), you may ask – and I would have asked the same question before I read this little book. It is the Eastern part of Saxony, main towns there are Görlitz and Bautzen. The latter is known (at least for people of a certain age) for the jail, Bautzen II (Ger.). Notable inmates were the writers Walter KEMPOWSKI (Ger., Eng.) and Erich LOEST (Ger., Eng.). Can’t say much about LOEST, all I remember is “realism” and painful honesty. KEMPOWSKI wrote a fictive family history in two (or three) volumes. His last project was called Das Echolot (Ger.). He collages from a wide range of sources and concentrates on various dates, June-December 1941, January/February 1943, January/February 1945 and the end of the war in Germany. Both authors worked their fingers to the bone on this oh-so-German history.
SIEBERs little tome gives a good historical description of the region and brings some nice b/w photographs.

BRANDT, Rüdiger : Konrad von Würzburg. Darmstadt 1987 (Erträge der Forschung, 249)
Konrad (Ger., Eng.) is born in Würzburg between 1220 and 1230. He is one of the twelve masters of minnesang, his œvre includes nearly all literary genres of his age. He lived and died in Basel.
BRANDT gives a concise overview about the history of scholarship dealing with Konrad – of course this book is now thirty years old, but what BRANDT had to say about his predecessors is still valuable and noteworthy.

WUNDERLI, Peter (Ed.) : Reisen in reale and mythische Ferne. Reiseliteratur in Mittelalter und Renaissance. Düsseldorf 1993 (Studia Humaniora, 22)
The university of Düsseldorf had a lecture series (“Ringvorlesung”) in winter semester 1990/91. The chosen topic was “travelling”, travel literature of Medieval and Renaissance times. Very informative. Subjects are maps, the Sinai as entrance to the other world, Brendan’s (Ger., Eng.) navigatio, Marco Polo, Afanasij Nikitin (Ger., Eng.), Herberstein, Kolumbus. Good lectures intended for a mixed audience, well readable and informative.
WUNDERLI (Ger.) is a Swiss romanist.

WIECZOREK, Ulrich : Bayern im Blick früher Flieger und Ballonfahrer. Dachau 1994
As the title says, subject of the small volume is the early ærial image of Bavaria. Major cities, landscape, and natural environments still intact are shown. Additionally the technical development of  ærial photography is explained.
WIECZOREK (died 2010) was professor for didactics of geography at the Augsburg university.

DEROLEZ, R.L.M. : Götter und Mythen der Germanen. Wiesbaden 1976 (originaly : De Godsdienst der Germanen, Roermond 1959)
René Lodewijk Maurits DEROLEZ (1921-2005) (Ger.) was a Belgian Germanic medievalist and runologist. Both his major works, his 1954 habilitation about runes, and this text about Germanic Gods and Myths, are still worth to be read, usable and citable. Good translation by Julie von WATTENWYL.

VANDENBERG, Philipp : Das Geheimnis der Orakel. München 1979
Yes, when a title starts with “The Secrets of …” a little preoccupation may set in, the concoction may be a little sensational. Despite its subtitle on the front page (“Archaeologists decipher the best-kept secret of the ancient world”) this is a well-done piece of travel journalism. VANDENBERG actually visited places like Dodona, Didyma, Klaros, Delphi, Oropos, Epidauros, Lebadeia, interviewed archeologists, used historical sources, and modern literature. I think this is what could be called popular science, the tome even has a register.
VADENBERG (born Klaus Dieter HARTEL, Ger.) writes non-fiction, historical novels and crime.

KOLLER, Liselotte : Wohnkultur mit Serienmöbeln. München 1969
Of course there must be a book about ameublement. This picture book shows how the rooms in an appartement were tastefully furnished at the end of the Sixties. From living room and dining table, via sleeping room to balcony and garden, it is all there. Even children’s room, garderobe and “Our Unterhaltungsgeräte as furnishing problem” are treated. The Unterhaltungsgeräte in question are tv-sets (with blinds !) radios and lp-players, together with the fitting relaxing chairs, floor-standing ashtrays included. Oh dear, some images look all too familiar.
Ms KOLLER, about whom I could find no more information, seemingly specialised in the topic of interior design in the Sixties, I saw at least two other titles by her from the late Sixties.

HILDEBRANDT, Dieter : Lessing. Eine Biographie. Reinbek 1990 (first : Lessing. Biographie einer Emanzipation. München Wien 1979)
This is what I am actually reading, after some tries. HILDEBRANDT (Ger.) is a promoted literary scholar who made his living by writing critiques and essays, in short with journalistic work. His biography of LESSING is refreshing, still after nearly forty years, because of his view on the man, his live work & thinking, without the philological, scientific point of view. He shows the oh so great LESSING (I say this in true admiration without any irony !) as human being, shoving him from the piedestal where too learned veneration installed him over time. It is a witty, learned, insightful text that comes close to the person LESSING – who, btw, was born in Kamenz (Ger., Eng.), a town in (you guessed it !) the Oberlausitz : The circle is completed.

Perhaps some of these texts can be a little prod for your own further reading.

mago, Persons

Dumbness at Work

Political blah ahead, just skip it if you like.

In his predictable ignorance the little fuehrer announced to “pull out of the deal”.
At first I was angry, but only for a short time ; in the end it was all too expectable. This idiot is seriously working on making the world a dangerous place.
I said it before, I just mention it again : This is no effing “deal” ! A “deal” is what you do down at the corner with Nick the Greek. We are talking about a multi-national treaty. Signed by “Europe” (France, UK, Germany), Russia and China.
What this move of the little fuehrer shows & illustrates is exactly what the German Chancellor remarked some months ago : The US are no reliable partner anymore. It makes no difference, if an American president signs or spits on a contract, it is always just “as is” and “for the time being”. A basic line, an axiom of law, is “pacta sunt servanda”, what means nothing else but you fulfill a treaty. Of course, if the basics of the treaty change, the presuppositions, things can (and should) be changed – but this is not the case here : For absolutely frivolous & indecent reasons this lousy prick kills anything that is still left of international American reliability & credibility : “Die USA sind kein verläßlicher Partner mehr.”
This puts the Iranian leadership under much more internal strain as already available, it is a gift to the falcons. It helps the warmongering of Israel’s PM, who is all too ready to send out some bombers. The risk of another war in the region called the “Middle East” is significantly increased. Only that this time it may be a big one to come that possibly may not be contained. And it is en passant an absolutely avoidable affront against all those involved, the EU, Russia, and China. Makes Amerga great again, really.
I can not get this picture out of my head from some months ago, I think it was taken in Istanbul. It showed the Iranian, of course the Turkish leader, and Mr Putin, shaking hands and enjoying each other’s company. I think they announced some economical treaty or something. There you have the regional powers, under the smiling benevolent guidance of Moscow. The US are out, and rightly so. The next we’ll see is the announcement of a Saudi-Arabian “good bomb”.
De-escalation, a policy of peace, or something similar silly humanist, looks different to me. And what caps it all : Of course the little fuehrer has nothing to offer, what would “make” a “better” “deal” : Does this brain dead worm really think someone will sit down now and negotiate a new treaty ?
Is btw anyone with two brain cells to rub against each other left in charge of USAmerican foreign politics right now ?
I doubt.
Anyway, I find consolation in the fact that finally people are investigating the little fuehrer‘s business actions from ten years ago, when he bought stuff by cash, tons of cash. It all comes down to what Bannon (does anyone remember Bannon ?!) said : “It is all about money laundering.” The little fuehrer took all that cash from the big laundering machine called Bank of Cyprus (run then and today by Deutsche Bank, headed now by this cool guy Ackermann), a relais station between those criminal (and Putin connected) families in the East where Manafort was involved and different addresses in the West : On one side you pour in worthless rubles, on the other side you have squeaky clean dollares, and the engineer makes his cut, preferably in cash, siphoning – Meyer Lansky would be proud.
Btw, it just pops up in my head : Who actually pays the little fuehrer’s lawyers ? I mean, oh so brilliant heads like the former major of NewYork do cost a little bit. Are Rudy and friends’ pockets stuffed with tax dollares ? It surely is insignificant & unimportant, it makes absolutely no difference who pays these guys. Because under the little fuehrer the state is nothing else but a self-service-outlet, and who does not cash in, is understood to be dumb : Sod on values, valuables is right ; morals is for the weak.
It is nothing else but apres nous le déluge, just without style.

Okay, this was it. Sorry for the inconvenience.