Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Old German Books

Really, I don't pay enough attention here to German books that aren't exactly new. But that's OK, because there are plenty of other people who do.

Today, for example, you can read two Robert Walser texts on A Journey Round My Skull, posted by a man who also runs a whole blog on Hans Henny Jahnn. Or find out about Neil Tennant and Stefan Zweig at the NYRB Classics blog. Or why not join in the discussion on Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus at the World Literature Forum? Or skip back to Walser at Words Without Borders. Lizzy Siddal, who must read a hell of a lot, looks at Kleist, Böll, Koeppen and others. And A Common Reader, another frequent reader, has reviewed books by Thomas Mann, Robert Musil and Stefan Zweig in the past and has a useful list of authors for finding the right posts.

All of the above is good solid stuff, and of course most of these sites also feature newer writers, in German and other languages. It's great that readers of English can discover German classics, thanks to the work of many dedicated translators and publishers - and bloggers too. But I must say the proliferation of "dead white men" (John E. Woods) in the English-language reception of German-language literature is astounding. So I really feel it's alright for me to continue to focus on contemporary German-language writing, seeing as no one else seems to be doing so - and I'm not exactly an expert on the old stuff.

On that note, tune your satellite dishes to 3sat for the Bachmann Prize, starting tomorrow at 21 hundred hours, CET. I'm sure the new, slimmed-down format has nothing to do with EURO 2008. Honest, guv. Let's just hope the much-anticipated translations of all the texts are better than the rather clumsy English of parts of the website.


kjd said...

Incidentally, I found out yesterday that the translations will indeed be good.

Lizzy Siddal said...

Thanks for the link and for your contemporary focus even if you're not helping my book-buying embargo . Nevertheless, carry on!

kjd said...

Ha ha! Do you know that song...

Jetzt wird wieder in die Hände gespuckt/wir steigern das Bruttosozialprodukt..?

That's my objective - to boldly break book-buying embargoes no blogger has broken before. Surely someone should be paying me for this service to global publishing?