A4 -- Biographies by Themes

Who’s Who im Comic [Who’s Who in the Comics]. Ed. Jürgen Kagelmann. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1997. 326 p. ill. 19 cm. (dtv, 32531). ISBN 3-423-32531-3: EUR 9 [99-B09-061]

Who’s who im Comic is the latest volume in the Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag series about literary figures; earlier volumes dealt with figures from the Bible, mythology, Shakespeare, and fairy tales. The work covers comics characters and their predecessors, including Max und Moritz, from their beginnings in the 19th century. It focuses on German-language comics and well-known comics characters from other countries. Included are also lesser-known German comics characters, and characters, such as the Addams Family, whose origins in comics have largely been forgotten.

The 316 short individual entries are illustrated and arranged alphabetically. As no indexes exist for authors or comics series, this alphabetical arrangement detracts from the work’s value as a reference tool. For instance, the cast of characters from Asterix are spread all throughout the alphabet with no cohesion. [sh/ldb]

Who’s Who bei Goethe [Who’s Who in Goethe]. Ed. Michael Lösch. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1998. 226 p. 18 cm. (dtv, 32535). ISBN 3-423-32535-6: EUR 10 [99-B09-064]

The author, Michael Lösch, whose career as a high-school teacher turned well-known disc jockey will draw curious readers, has created an excellent practical guide to the characters in Goethe’s dramatic and narrative writings. This book’s most appealing feature is that the author introduces the characters with excerpts from the texts themselves. For example, the reader learns about Faust by taking a small tour through the Faust drama. In its goal to attract and introduce new readers to Goethe’s world and his writings, this book is a good antidote to the sometimes pretentious prating that accompanied the official celebration of the “Year of Goethe” in 1999, which marked his 250th birthday. [hak/ldb]

Lexikon berühmter Tiere: 1200 Tiere aus Geschichte, Film, Märchen, Literatur und Mythologie [Dictionary of Famous Animals: 1,200 Animals in History, Film, Fairy Tales, Literature, and Mythology]. Karen Duve and Thies Völker. Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 1997. 670 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-8218-0505-6 (pbk.): DM 44 [99-B09-068]

This is a German-language dictionary of famous-name animals drawn from a variety of categories, including advertising, history, film, fairy tales, mythology, comics, political symbols, and animal-related expressions (such as “bookworm”). Each entry includes the origin and significance of the animal with one or two literary sources; some include illustrations. Although reading and browsing in this volume are fun, the complete lack of indexes is a real drawback and will prove disappointing for people looking for, say, famous dogs and horses, or which national flags bear an eagle. [sh/hh]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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