Thursday, 2 April 2009

Literary Philately (German)

I still send invoices out on paper, and I still prefer actually licking stamps to the new-fangled self-adhesive kind. And I like to choose stamps by the pictures on them, so I occasionally go to the special philately counter at my local post office. Today I bought 5 Franz Kafkas and 5 Klaus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg and Helmuth James Graf von Moltke. The man at the counter told me, incidentally, that someone asked for "the Tom Cruise stamp" the other day.

The Kafka stamp is illustrated with a sketch by the author, which seems to show someone in a state of despair at a desk. The writing is vertical, just to make you feel slightly unsure which way round to stick it. I stuck it vertically, which seemed appropriately incorrect.

There's nothing like an official Deutsche Post stamp to show a writer has entered the canon. Over the past few years, they've philatelised Adalbert Stifter, Hermann Hesse, Astrid Lindgren, Joachim Ringelnatz and now also Golo Mann. And the organisation Aktion Patenschaften für verbrannte Bücher has a list of authors whose books were burned by the Nazis, which also tells you which of them have been stampified. It seems Deutsche Post is trying to make amends for Goebbels' crimes by putting as many of these writers on stamps as possible: Brecht, Kafka (twice), Kästner, Kisch, Kolb, Lasker-Schüler, Thomas Mann (twice), Werfel and Zuckmayer.


David said...

Also some who cheered the book-burning have been honored with stamps. I have a Gottfried Benn Briefmarke from 1986.

But a Ringelnatz stamp is most appropriate since he wrote one of the best ditties on the subject:

"Die Briefmarke

Ein männlicher Briefmark erlebte
was Schönes, bevor a klebte.
Er war von einer Prinzessin beleckt
Da war die Liebe in ihm erweckt.

Er wollte sie wiederküssen
Doch hat er verrreisen müssen
So liebte er sie vergebens
Das ist die Tragic des Lebens."

Tom C said...

I like the Kafka's! I've never thought of collection literary stamps - sounds a great idea

kjd said...

I think they should do a Clemens Meyer stamp with a picture of a bruised boxer on it.

Or a Katja-Lange Müller showing someone shooting up.

Or a Selim Özdogan with someone wanking on a beach.

Karl-Marx-Straße said...

I buy my stamps - by post ! - as I can looka nd click on the deutschepost website and get them as i want from all those that are available. This began after the post office at Alexanderplatz once told me off for wanting to buy a real stamp on a Saturday. "We have a machine outside, or we´ll sell you a sticky label, if you want to send the letter now. We only sell real stamps at the business counter, which is only open during the week". Except that they said that in a much more impolite, snarling tone. Since then, I´ve noticed post office staff fiddle with strange philatelic envelopes, of the kind that used to come from Brandon Street, Edinburgh, with various different gummed labels, for those (like myself) who don´t want to buy 10 pre-sorted stamps at a time....