BD – Literature and Literary Studies
Die Zeit, Literatur-Lexikon: Autoren und Begriffe in sechs Bänden; mit dem Besten aus der ZEIT [Die Zeit: Literary Lexicon: Authors and Concepts in Six Volumes, with the Best from Die Zeit]. 6 vols. Stuttgart and Weimar: Metzler, 2008. v, 601, v, 602, v, 602, v, 649, ix, 460, v, 454 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 978-3-476-02287-5 (complete work): EUR 99.95 [08-1/2-132]
In 2004 and 2005 the esteemed Hamburg weekly newspaper Die Zeit published, in cooperation with Brockhaus, two large-scale works: (1) Die Zeit: das große Jahrbuch (see RREA 11:13) with essays selected by the newspaper’s editors, and (2) Die Zeit: das Lexikon in 20 Bänden, mit dem Besten aus der Zeit (see RREA 10:17), likewise selected by the editors.
Most of the entries in this literary lexicon under review have been lifted from seven reference works published by the publishing house Metzler (listed in volume 6, p. 454), although it is being marketed as a product of Die Zeit. (Both Die Zeit and Metzler are owned by same Stuttgart-based media conglomerate, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck.) The first four volumes cover 1,400 authors—world-wide from antiquity to the present—as well as 41 original contributions taken from Die Zeit. (Only about half of the authors covered by the original Metzler volumes have been included here. Sacrificed on the cutting floor: authors who are non-German, less well-known, and from earlier time periods, as well as bibliographic references to the secondary literature.) Volumes 5 and 6 contain 3,000 articles that address topics, genres, and literary periods. Unlike the first four volumes, the articles in the subject volumes were taken from the now-superseded 1990 edition of the Metzler Literatur Lexikon. Neither the small black-and-white illustrations, nor the 41 contributions from Die Zeit add significantly to the publication. There is no reason for libraries that already own the Metzler works to acquire this thin bit of recycling. [sh/sl]
Metzler-Lexikon literarischer Symbole [Metzler Encyclopedia of Literary Symbols]. Ed. Günter Butzer and Joachim Jacob. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2008. xxvi, 443 p. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-476-02131-1: EUR 39.95 [08-1/2-151]
This is a highly utilitarian work that every literary scholar should have in his or her reference collection, as it catalogs countless elements of practical information on the use of symbols in Western literature. The encyclopedia does not strive for comprehensive coverage, but the 412 articles certainly encompass the most important body of symbols significant for literary history. Those symbols found solely in the work of one author are not included. Yet the reach of literary genres involved does stretch from secular to religious narrative, from fairy tales and fables to popular and children’s literature. The goal is to show historical variation within each symbol, that is, not to puzzle out some “original intent,” but to trace the transformations and differentiations of nuance through time. Research into metaphors has flourished of late, which we could understand as a continuation of the ‘symbol’ discussion via other means. Here symbols are understood as “products of culturally mediated imaginative power.” Metaphors are not symbols; rather symbols are “linguistic references to a concrete item, phenomenon or activity” connected to a sense that exceeds its literal meaning. The articles themselves follow a consistent pattern, exhibiting root meanings, the development of historical variations, and relations to other symbols (cross-referenced as necessary). Specific examples from literature are given, though quotes from foreign literatures are translated into German—which can be problematic. The editors have not forgotten to make the necessary disclaimer that not everything is “symbolic,” as literary beginners are sometimes apt to assume. This work is exemplary, useful, and user-friendly. It should be in every library. [tk/rdh]
Motive der Weltliteratur: ein Lexikon dichtungsgeschichtlicher Längsschnitte [Motifs in World Literature: A Longitudinal Literary Historical Encyclopedia]. Elisabeth Frenzel. 6th rev. and updated ed. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2008. xvii, 941 p. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, 301). ISBN 978-3-520-30106-2: EUR 27.90 [08-1/2-152]
The two works of Elisabeth Frenzel about themes and motifs in world literature are not only standard works of comparative literature, but are also—measured by their many editions—bread-and-butter titles for the publishing house. Her Stoffe der Weltliteratur [Themes in World Literature] first appeared in 1962 and reached a 10th edition by 1995 with help of a co-editor. The title discussed here, Motive der Weltliteratur, first appeared in 1976, and the author—despite having reached an age beyond 90 years—took on the task of expanding and updating this 6th edition by herself. (The publishing house did assist in gathering literary material for her processing and editing.) Comparisons of this edition with the previous one indicate that the overall size has not grown, but expansion (and compensatory contraction) has occurred by inclusion of examples from the more current literature, such as that of the best-selling author Daniel Kehlmann. [sh/rdh]
Killy Literaturlexikon: Autoren und Werke des deutschsprachigen Kulturraumes [Killy Lexicon of Literature: Authors and Works from the German-Speaking Regions]. Ed. Wilhelm Kühlmann. 2d completely rev. ed. Berlin: de Gruyter. 25 cm. [08-1/2-155]
Vol. 1. A-Blu. 2008. xliv, 605 p. ISBN 978-3-11-018962-9: EUR 198
Vol. 2. Boa-Den. 2008. viii, 596 p. ISBN 978-3-11-020375-2: EUR 248
Vol. 3. Dep-Fre. 2008. viii, 585 p. ISBN 978-3-11-020376-9: EUR 248
The first edition of Walther Killy’s Literaturlexikon appeared in 15 volumes from 1988 to 1993, of which 13 volumes covered authors and works and two volumes focused on concepts, facts and methodologies. That first edition (even with the introduction of a less expensive soft-bound version) never achieved the expected level of sales for the Bertelsmann publishers. This was certainly not because of inferior quality or indifferent marketing, but perhaps due to the fact that the target audience—scholars and libraries—had begun to rely increasingly on electronic reference resources, particularly the Killy itself in CD-ROM format from 1998 on. In any case, the original publishers were ready to sell the rights for a second edition, which ended up with the de Gruyter publishing house.
The editors expressly build on the proven qualities of the first edition, as emphasized in the prefatory sections of the second edition. The most basic difference is that the latest version limits itself to authors and works, justifying the omission of concepts, facts, and methodologies with the note that de Gruyter already offers a very thorough thematic lexicon, Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft (see RREA 5:110 and 11:99). The breadth of coverage matches that of the first edition, including all Germanspeaking countries from earliest times to the present day. The author selection is broad, reaching down to secondary and tertiary ranks of writers. The new Killy positions itself centrally between the one-volume reference works with numerous, short articles and the specialized lexica—a good number of them by de Gruyter itself—that concentrate on narrow swaths of literature with more detailed entries. The original articles were either reviewed and bibliographically updated by the original compilers or more fundamentally revised for this edition, particularly for contemporary authors. The proven entry structure of the first edition remains, though a new typography makes the legibility even better than the first.
The economic risks of such an undertaking come less from shrinking library budgets than from the newest competitor in the field, especially for data on living authors: the Internet. To lessen the risk, the publishers are determined to publish the set as quickly as possible. Happily, volumes 1 through 3 appeared all at once, and volumes 4 through 6 were announced for 2009. Libraries and institutions that do not wish to expend physical shelf space can order all the volumes through de Gruyter’s ReferenceGlobal e-book and database service, though at a higher price. [sh/rdh]
Ghettoliteratur: eine Dokumentation zur deutsch-jüdischen Literaturgeschichte des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts [Ghetto Literature: A Documentation of German-Jewish Literary History of the 19th and Early 20th Century]. Gabriele von Glasenapp and Hans-Otto Horch. 2 vols. in 3. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2005. xv, 1162 p. 23 cm. (Conditio Judaica, 53 and 54). ISBN 3-484-65153-9: EUR 294 [08-1/2-156]
One decade after Gabriele von Glasenapp completed a dissertation on the topic of German-language Jewish ghetto literature of the 19th century, she and her dissertation advisor, Hans-Otto Horch, published this massive collection of materials on the topic. The first volume—in two parts—presents roughly 600 documents of literary reception in the categories of (1) general articles, (2) articles on individual authors, (3) book reviews, and (4) literary histories and reference works. The second volume consists of bio-bibliographies for 99 authors, ten women among them, and a lexicon of their works. Separate indexes guide the reader to secondary literature, individuals and literary works, locations, and topics. Yiddish works are excluded, but Germanlanguage works from many countries, including those in Eastern Europe, stretch the genre into a hybrid term, with novels and short stories, sagas and legends, and, quite rarely, dramas and poetry. The concept of “ghetto literature” appears to have only now found scholarly traction with the work of von Glasenapp and Horch. The genre began in the 1830s with Berthold Auerbach and Heinrich Heine (in particular the latter’s tale “The Rabbi of Bacherach”) and ended with the Holocaust—but for practical considerations the period after 1918 is excluded. This reference work is quite useful as a supplement to general author lexica; a sample shows that of 24 names in the alphabet range from “A-Fra,” only three authors are to be found in the matching range of the Killy Literaturlexikon (see RREA 14:81), of which Berthold Auerbach and Karl Emil Franzos have wider significance for German literature in any case, while the third author, Aron Bernstein, seems of no greater literary rank than a number of other authors that could have been chosen. [sh/rdh]
Lexikon der deutschsprachigen Literatur des Baltikums und Sankt Petersburgs: vom Mittelalter bis zu Gegenwart [Dictionary of German-Language Literature in the Baltic States and Saint Petersburg: From the Middle Ages to the Present]. Carola L. Gottzmann and Petra Hörner. 3 vols. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007. xii, 1476 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-11-019338-1: EUR 348 [08-1/2-157]
Compiled by two noted scholars of medieval literature, this monumental work presents German writers from the Baltic region (comprising the modern countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) as well as St. Petersburg, which possessed a large and burgeoning German community that had close links to the Baltic Germans. There have been numerous other works on Baltic German writers, but this one is especially ambitious in its scope.
The criteria for inclusion in the book are rather vague. Writers who were born in the region are guaranteed a place, but those who had immigrated there are included only if their work was of “lasting cultural value”. In the end, the total number of names is slightly under 12,000. The book’s definition of literature is broad enough to include occasional works and scientific publications. The length of the articles varies widely from around five pages for lesser known authors to over 30 pages for such key figures as A. von Kotzebue or J. M. R. Lenz. The biographical sections of the articles are relatively short in comparison with the voluminous lists of works that follow. These listings are organized by genre and are further subdivided into revised editions, translations, edited works, letters, adaptations, etc. In some places there are notes describing the content of the work. Also included are publications appearing in collections, such as poems. The lists of published works are not easy to use, as the titles are so crowded and squeezed-together that orientation becomes difficult. Articles close with references to secondary literature.
A short bibliography and an index of place names are included at the end of the last volume. Since the authors omitted to provide any other index, it becomes impossible to find specific categories of publications (e.g., translations) or to search the lengthy introduction.
In spite of all these shortcomings, this book can be a helpful resource for the researcher whose inconvenience in navigating it may be rewarded by locating rare and valuable information. [sh/as]
Literarisches Leben in Köln 1750-1850 [Literary Life in Cologne, 1750-1850]. Gertrud Wegener. Köln: Heimatverein Alt-Köln. ill. 22 cm. (Beiträge zur kölnischen Geschichte, Sprache und Eigenart, ... ). Vol. 3 published by the Historisches Archiv, Köln. [08-1/2-158]
Vol. 2. 1815-1840. 2005. 360 p. (... , 78). ISBN 3-937795-04-9 (Marzellen-Verlag): EUR 21.50
Vol. 3. 1840-1850. Ed. Enno Stahl. 2008. 308 p. ISBN 978-3-928907-19-4 (Historisches Archiv): EUR 21.50
The publication of volumes 2 and 3 completes this regional lexicon of literary life in Cologne from 1750 to 1850. Volume 1 appeared in 2000 (see IFB 01-2-472) and covers the years 1750 to 1814. The author Gertrud Wegener did not compete the final volume herself but gave her manuscript to the Historical Archives of the city of Cologne, and the final editing was done by the eminently qualified Enno Stahl, who has published other historical works related to the Rhineland: Literarische Nachlässe in rheinischen Archiven (see RREA 13:100) and the Kölner Autoren-Lexikon 1750-2000 (see RREA 7:319).
Volume 2, “Im Sog der Romantik” [The Lure of Romanticism], deals with the years of the Restoration; volume 3 treats publications and literature of the Vormärz period and the 1848 Revolution. One encounters both familiar and unfamiliar names of authors and editors. The volumes are illustrated, but often with very small photos. The Kurzbiographien [brief biographies] in both volumes are in some cases quite extensive, with lengthy bibliographies of an author’s works and of sources and secondary literature. There are some inconsistencies. The lengthy bio-bibliography for Freiligrath can be found in both volumes 2 and 3. Women are not always indexed by their full names. Still, the work includes names of authors that do not, for example, appear in the Killy Literaturlexikon (see RREA 14:81), which underscores the value of regional lexica such as this one. This work will be valuable to anyone interested in the history of Cologne and the Rhineland in the 18th and 19th centuries. [sh/akb]
Luxemburger Autorenlexikon [Luxembourg Author Lexicon]. Germaine Goetzinger and Claude D. Conter. Mersch: Centre National de Littérature, 2007. 687 p. ill. 28 cm. (Publications nationales du Ministère de la Culture, de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche). ISBN 978-2-919903-06-1: EUR 45 [08-1/2-159]
Luxembourg first became a modern state after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and its small size—combined with its status as a trilingual area (German, Letzebürgisch dialect, and French)—may explain the lack of regard for its German-language literature in general literary reference works. A sample of authors in the first three volumes of the Killy Literaturlexikon (see RREA 14:81) uncovered not a single author from the Grand Duchy. That fact is all the more reason to welcome this encyclopedia published by the Centre National de Littérature. A selection of 978 Luxembourg writers—defined as those who, prior to May 1, 2006, appeared in print in Luxembourg at least once or contributed to the literary life there—form the body of this encyclopedia. Because of the loose definition, German exile authors who lived in Luxembourg during the period after 1933 join the ranks. The definition also includes translators, since by copyright law their works qualify as “independent literary accomplishments.” As a rule, though, journalists, authors of non-fiction, and writers of scholarly monographs do not fit the criteria. The layout of the articles is typical of such lexica: name; pseudonyms if any; birth and death dates and locations; often a small black-and-white portrait; a “literary biography” of works with lists of works and secondary literature; themes and motifs; place in literary history; translations; musical or film adaptations; and any literary prizes. Only for significant authors do the articles reach a maximum of two to three pages, while numerous entries are quite short. It is to be hoped that this lexicon for Luxembourg authors will lead to at least the relatively major among them finding mention in German literary lexica in the future. [sh/rdh]
Geschichte der Literatur in Österreich: von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart [History of Literature in Austria: From Earliest Times to the Present]. Ed. Herbert Zeman. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt. 28 cm. [08-1/2-160]
Vol. 2. Die Literatur des Spätmittelalters in den Ländern Österreich, Steiermark, Kärnten, Salzburg und Tirol von 1273 bis 1439 [Literature of the Late Middle Ages in the Provinces of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, and Tyrol from 1273 to 1439]:
Vol. 2/2. Die Literatur zur Zeit der habsburgischen Herzöge von Rudolf IV. bis Albrecht V. (1358-1439) [Literature of the Time of the Habsburg Dukes, from Rudolf IV to Albrecht V (1358-1439]. Fritz Peter Knapp. 2004. 744 S. ISBN 3-201-01812-0: EUR 75, EUR 65 (series price.)
In Austria, as in Switzerland, the danger of the native literatures being marginalized by their large and richly productive neighbor Germany has been ever present. This multivolume history of literature in Austria can be seen as a preventive measure against such marginalization, as it continues the efforts begun in the 18th century, from Maria Theresa onwards, to promote a consciousness of Austrian cultural traditions. The second half-volume of volume two investigates Austrian literature of the late Middle Ages—a time marked by the takeover of the imperial crown by the House of Habsburg. An introduction presents the overall historical context, which is welcome and helpful for an understanding of the literary milieu.
Five chapters divide the presentation into distinct regions: (1) the duchy of Austria— approximately today’s Upper and Lower Austria—including its high Viennese productivity of religious writings, chronicles, bourgeois and courtly rhymes and plays, commentaries on the Psalms, and legends in verse and prose; (2) the duchy of Styria, manifesting itself literarily in historiography, doctrinal teachings, and legends; (3) the duchy of Carinthia with an emphasis on religious plays; (4) the arch-religious province of Salzburg, which, given its educational development, remained relatively mute on the literary front—though exhibiting besides its obligatory religious lyrics some secular lyrics and historiography; and (5) the county of Tyrol—extending as far south as some regions of current Northern Italy—for which tales in rhymed couplets, historical literature, and translated prose formed the literary mainstream.
For Tyrol the beginnings of passion plays and Easter plays were also evident, and the most famous German-language literary figure of the late Middle Ages was Tyrolean: Oswald von Wolkenstein, with his bold metaphors and literary eroticism. A short supplement even investigates the Hebrew literature of this time period. Helpful visualizations appear throughout, including a political map, portrait reproductions, manuscript facsimiles, frescos, paintings, and architecture. Indexes abound. Over broad stretches, this work carries out pioneering scholarship; it represents an essential aid to understanding the literary history of the time. [hjb/rdh]
Chronik der deutschen Literatur: Daten, Texte, Kontexte [Chronicle of German Literature: Facts, Texts, Contexts]. Peter Stein and Hartmut Stein. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2008. 992 p. 22 cm. ISBN 978-3-520-84201-5: EUR 39.90 [08-1/2-161]
This chronologically organized guide, whose articles offer summaries and brief analyses of the major works of German literature, competes directly with Volker Meid’s Metzler-Literatur Chronik (see RREA 12:111), the third edition of which was published in 2006. In a point-by-point comparison, Meid covers 1,230 titles, Stein & Stein 890 titles; Meid covers from the beginnings of German literature to 2005, Stein & Stein to 2007.
The Stein & Stein work gives greater attention to women writers than does Meid. Its authors also make a point of including previously marginalized areas such as German-Jewish literature, popular and young people’s literature, and modern media. Title-by-title coverage is very similar for earlier periods, but not for contemporary literature, where, given the absence of an “objective” consensus, they vary considerably.
The primary advantages of Meid’s work are its more extensive coverage and the length and depth of its articles. The Stein & Stein volume, on the other hand, includes approximately 130 “boxed texts” (with their own index) on epochs, genres, media, literary culture, the connections between literature and history, etc. The contextual information given in these overviews provides a very useful background to the works discussed in the main body of the volume. [hjb/sl]
Neuere deutsche Literaturgeschichte: eine Einführung [History of Modern German Literature: An Introduction]. Benedikt Jeßing. Tübingen: Narr, 2008. 252 p. ill. 23 cm. (Bachelor-Wissen). ISBN 978-3-8233-6392-7: EUR 14.90 [08-1/2-162]
The fairly recent restructuring of higher education in Germany, creating bachelor’s and master’s degrees analogous to those familiar to Americans, prompted the Narr publishing house to issue a series of textbooks intended to provide sufficient preparation for entry into either a master’s degree program or professional work in the humanities.
For the German undergraduate, Neuere deutsche Literaturgeschichte: eine Einführung offers a solid introduction to the nature and issues of literary history in general, and each of the chapters devoted to the major periods of the “modern era” provides a useful socio-historical analysis. However, each of those periods (17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries) receives only 40 to 50 pages of coverage; consequently, the treatment of individual authors is unavoidably and unacceptably thin, even for an undergraduate survey. Indeed, at least seven books used in secondary school (Gymnasium) courses offer more extensive coverage, and they include medieval literature as well! If nothing else, the book would have benefitted from reducing 17th-century coverage and adding a few more pages to the other periods. [hjb/gw]
Das Buch der verbrannten Bücher [The Book of Burned Books]. Volker Weidermann. Köln: Kiepenhauer & Witsch, 2008. 253 p. 23 cm. ISBN 978-3-462-03962-7: EUR 18.95 [08-1/2-166]
Aimed at a broad, general audience, this volume treats 106 authors in 23 sections, all of whom were included in the Nazi blacklist of 131 authors compiled by the librarian Wolfgang Herrmann. Weidermann’s emphasis is on lesser-known, German-language authors. His sound familiarity with the authors’ works is to be praised. The volume ends with a report on the 12,500-volume collection of editions of banned authors brought together by the book collector Georg P. Salzmann, previously unknown to researchers. The collection is housed in the Augsburg University Library and can be searched through the library’s on-line catalog. Start at http://www.bibliothek.uni-augsburg.de/de/sondersammlungen/salzmann-info.html.[wub/cjm]
Orte der Bücherverbrennungen in Deutschland 1933 [Sites of Book Burnings in Germany in 1933]. Ed. Julius H. Schoeps, and Werner Treß. Hildesheim: Olms, 2008. 848 p. ill. maps. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-487-13660-8: EUR 24.80 [08-1/2-167]
A central tenet of this volume is that book burnings in Nazi Germany of 1933 were not isolated occurrences, but were in fact widespread. The volume gives details of 93 separate instances in 62 different locations. In his introduction, Werner Tress identifies three distinct phases of book burnings in 1933, emphasizing the role played by Nazi youth organizations in each. In the rest of the volume, 60 authors report on book burnings in towns across Germany in articles ranging from five to 20 pages in length. The volume confines itself strictly to events of 1933. A bibliography lists more than 250 related books and articles.
Published in connection with a project funded by the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung [Fritz Thyssen Foundation], this competitively-priced volume is likely to be broadly purchased. A list of the authors and titles of the books burned is available at the projects’s website: http://www.verbrannte-buecher.de (see also RREA 14:91). [wub/cjm]
Bibliothek verbrannter Bücher: eine Auswahl der von den Nationalsozialisten verfemten und verbotenen Literatur [The Library of Burned Books: A Selection of the Literature Ostracised and Banned by the Nazis]. Ed. Julius H. Schoeps and Werner Tress. Hildesheim: Olms, 2008. 120 vols. ISBN: 9783487136080 (1st set of 10 vols. in slip case): EUR 98 (http://www.verbrannte-buecher.de)
An RREA Original Review by Gordon B. Anderson (University of Minnesota)
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Nazi book burnings of 1933, the Moses Mendelssohn Center launched the project Bibliothek verbrannter Bücher. Under Julius Schoeps’s editorial direction, the Georg Olms publishing house has begun issuing facsimile first-edition reprints of 120 books from among those the Nazis burned. The first ten to appear are:
The Bibliothek verbrannter Bücher contains not only literary authors like Leon Feuchtwanger, Anna Seghers, Joseph Roth, or Upton Sincair, but also many authors, poets, scholars, and journalists, such as the playwright Paul Kornfeld and novelists Rahel Sanzara and Christa Anita Brück who have largely been forgotten.
The carefully organized and systematically populated website (http://www.verbrannte-buecher.de) gives an array of information about the project, including background information to the May 1933 book burnings, links to digital files of photographs, posters, documents, and other primary sources; scholarly essays on the book burnings; and separate author and title indexes. These indexes further serve as a bibliography of the 120 authors covered in the project and include further links to biographies and scholarly essays on the works and their authors.
The exact number of censored authors and their burned books has been hard to reconstruct. Werner Tress and Wolfgang Herrmann have been working to analyze “black” and “brown” lists compiled between 1933 and 1935 that have been uncovered in several state archives. The project aims to provide clickable links to further biographical information on each author and a summary of the work cited, and already a significant number of these links have been established.
On the eve of the 10 May 2008 commemoration, a press conference was held at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, in which the Mendelssohn Foundation and the Olms-Verlag announced that 4,000 copies of the first ten titles would be donated to secondary schools as a reminder of the events 75 years ago. At that ceremony, the 98-year-old author, physician, and psychiatrist Hans Keilson, whose first novel Das Leben geht Weiter [Life Goes On] had been banned by the Nazis, gave the first boxed sets of these ten titles to students at Berlin’s Hoepfner Gymnasium and Potsdam’s Einstein Gymnasium. The speeches by Keilson, Schoeps, Tress, Georg Olms, and Germanist Professor Magrid Bircken, a member of the advisory council and selector of titles for the project, can be downloaded from the website.
The website is available free of charge, except for the discussion forum (Forum), which requires the participant to establish an account with log-in and password. The “Links” section of the website provides more information about the sponsors and related sites. Of particular interest is the link to the University of Arizona Library’s 2001 exhibit When Books Burn (http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/burnedbooks), which featured over 200 books, photographs, and newspaper clippings from May 1933 and includes an extensive bibliography of sources consulted.
The Bibliothek verbrannter Bücher project includes the distribution of these 120 volumes to over 4,000 schools in Germany. While it is primarily intended for teachers and students in secondary education, it is also of significant value for more advanced students (“Studierende”) and the interested lay public. As such, North American educators and students will also find this website and the project an important resource for the teaching and cultivation of German language and culture at the college level.
Vernichtung, “Giftschrank,” Zweifelhafte Fälle: Vorgeschichte und Folgen der Bücherverbrennung für jüdische Autoren, Verleger, Buchhändler und Bibliothekare [Destruction, “Poison Cabinet,” Doubtful Cases: Causes and Effects of the Book Burnings on Jewish Authors, Publishers, Booksellers, and Librarians]. Stefanie Endlich for the Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin, Centrum Judaicum. Teetz; Berlin: Hentrich & Hentrich, 2007. 94 p. ill. 16 cm. (Gegen Vergessen und Verdrängen, 3). ISBN 978-3-938485-48-4: EUR 7.80 [08-1/2-168]
In her preface the author states that this book does not report any new findings, nor does the book intend to compete with the many treatises, dissertations, and essays on the topic. Rather, Stefanie Endlich of the Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin, Centrum Judaicum wants to combat any forgetting or repression of this and other Nazi crimes. In concise but vivid detail, she discusses German history, anti-Semitism, and nationalistracist thinking before the year 1933 and the ominous chain of events after Hitler came into power, including the book burnings in 1933 and subsequent retaliations against Jewish authors, booksellers, and librarians. Many “Aryan” scholars and associations played an inglorious role in these events. After the 1939 “Crystal Night” the terror culminated in the “Final Solution”—the systematic killing of all Jews.
The book burnings of 1933—the major topic of this work—evoked a harsh response from people in foreign countries. In Paris, a “Library of Burned Books” was opened, subsequently becoming the “German Freedom Library,” which collected and promoted books that were banned in Germany. In libraries across the United States, events were held in 1943 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the book burnings. After 1945, Germany had a slow and difficult time with developing a “culture of remembrance.” Only during the anniversary years of 1983, 1993 and especially 2008 did the inglorious events of 1933 become a subject of interest. In Berlin the memorial “Bibliothek” was built by the Israeli artist Micha Ullman. The Bibliothek verbrannter Bücher (see RREA 14:91) is a project of significant importance. It makes new editions of about 300 books banned during the Third Reich available to schools. Stephanie Endlich’s work is an important contribution to this political education and remembrance of Jewish culture in Germany. It is a worthy addition to her many other works on this subject. [mk/mr]
Literarischer Führer Deutschland [Literary Guide to Germany]. Fred Oberhauser and Axel Kahrs. Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 2008. 1469 cols. ill. map. ISBN 978-3-458-17415-8: EUR 48 [08-1/2-170]
This revised literary guide to Germany (previous title: Literarischer Führer durch Deutschland) offers 600 pages more than the 1983 edition—an increase due primarily to the inclusion of what was formerly the German Democratic Republic. Listed by location (with smaller towns subsumed under the nearby city), each entry provides information concerning authors (those who were born or lived there, including, in the latter category, non-German writers), works that deal with the place thematically, local author societies and other literary organizations, libraries and collections, prizes and fellowships, monuments and memorials relevant to local authors, and relevant bibliographic references. Although the information contained in the first edition has been updated, some authors have also been dropped in order to make room for the federal states that have been added (i.e., the former GDR). There are numerous crossreferences within the articles and several indexes (place, person, thematic) to the volume’s contents. Offering a great deal of information, this guide is more useful for study and reference consultation than as an in-hand travel guide: a Frommer’s it is not. [sh/sl]
Peter-Hacks-Bibliographie: Verzeichnis aller Schriften von und zu Peter Hacks 1948 bis 2007 [Peter Hacks Bibliography: Index of All Publications By and About Peter Hacks, 1948-2007]. Ronald Weber. Mainz: Thiele, 2008. 265 p. 21 cm. (Edition neue Klassik, 1). ISBN 978-3-940884-01-5: EUR 24.90 [08-1/2-176]
Peter Hacks (1928-2003) was born in Breslau, studied in Munich, and in 1955 moved to East Berlin. His dramas are among those most frequently performed in both the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, and his play Ein Gespräch im Hause Stein über den abwesenden Herrn von Goethe [A Conversation in the Stein’s House about the Absent Mr. von Goethe] achieved international success. The Peter-Hacks-Bibliographie, which appeared on 28 August 2008, the fifth anniversary of his death, is a work without frills, a welcome change from many recent author bibliographies.
It is arranged in six parts. Part 1 lists other bibliographies and research materials (entries 1-9). Part 2 lists the primary works (entries 10-616); it is organized by genre, with a separate section for foreign-language editions. Part 3 begins with a “secondary” bibliography (entries 617-2177), with four sections covering introductions, anthologies, biography, and reception (of other works by Hacks).This is followed by a listing of the secondary literature on Hacks’ literary works and theoretical writings, and by an extensive section on “Presse und Kritik” [Press and Reviews].
This is a well done and thorough bibliography, omitting only songs and musical compositions (which will be covered in an upcoming publication), pieces by Hacks included in school books, and entries in literary encyclopedias and in theater guides. There is a title index (including variant titles) for the primary works and an author index for the secondary literature. It would have been desirable to have indexes for those with whom Hacks corresponded and for the translators of his works. It would also have been interesting if an index listing Hacks’ publishers had been included, so that the reader could see the movement of his work chronologically over time from East Germany to West Germany, and to elsewhere around the world.
An appendix contains a chronological listing of first performances of Hacks’ plays, as well as a listing of pseudonyms he has used.
Updates to the print work are made electronically on a wiki, but unfortunately it is open only to members of the Peter-Hacks-Forum (http://www.peter-hacks.de/phpBB2), using a password. [sh/sas/nb]
Wer ist wer im Leben von Thomas Mann?: ein Personenlexikon [Who is Who in the Life of Thomas Mann? A Dictionary of Personages]. Heinz J. Armbrust and Gert Heine. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2008. 345 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-465-03558-9: EUR 39 [08-1/2-183]
This dictionary features articles on more than 400 persons who “had a noteworthy relationship” (p.7) with Thomas Mann. Persons were selected based on entries in his diaries, his correspondence, and relevant scholarly literature. Each entry (up to one page in length) cites the person’s career and specifically describes the type of relationship to Mann.
Additional criteria for inclusion focus on people who enjoyed a (mainly positive or benign) intellectual, political, or social relationship with Mann. Perhaps for these reasons a few key persons are missing, such as the author Hans Sahl, who was a personal friend of Erika and Klaus Mann and sometimes a guest in the Mann home but who maintained a critical distance to Thomas Mann. The author, journalist, film scholar, and screenwriter Siegfried Kracauer had entered into significant discussion and correspondence with Mann between 1934 and 1945 and acknowledged Mann’s influence on his own writings, but Kracauer is also not mentioned. Walter Benjamin, who at times had an unfavorable view of Mann’s work but whose literary output Mann acknowledged and respected, is also curiously missing.
The book concludes with a personal name index, a list of Mann’s works cited in the book, a bibliography of secondary sources, and a chronology of Mann’s life. This book should be in all academic libraries whose institutions support the study and teaching of German literature. [mb/ga]
Bibliographie Arno Schmidt [Arno Schmidt Bibliography]. Karl-Heinz Müther. Bielefeld: Aisthesis-Verlag. 26 cm. (Bibliographien zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte, 1). [08-1/2-185]
Suppl. 10. 2008. 106 p. ISBN 978-3-89528-711-4: EUR 18.50
Toward the end of the year one can always count on another supplement to the Bibliographie Arno Schmidt. Beginning with the first, many of them have been covered in RRE (see RREO 94-3/4-454 and RREA 3:1329, 5:125, 7:113, 9:87, 10:92, and 13:114).
That is a testimony both to the continuing interest in the unconventional writer Arno Schmidt and to the tenacity of the bibliographer. Unfortunately for the user, the latter has retained the same complicated and opaque style of organization as in previous supplements. The user is confronted with odd reference numbers that are difficult to decipher. The confusion could be resolved with relative ease if the bibliographer and publisher could agree to issue a new edition of the bibliography, combining the original work with its supplements, using a simpler organization and numbering scheme. This work could then be updated by periodically publishing supplemental bibliographies in one of the journals dedicated to Arno Schmidt’s work. [sh/akb]
Dictionnaire fin de siècle [Dictionary of the End of the Century]. Marc Dufaud. Paris: Scali, 2008. 493 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 9782350122083: EUR 28
An RREA Original Review by Sarah G. Wenzel (University of Chicago)
“Which century?” one might reasonably ask, given the date of publication. The cover proclaims “Zutistes, Jemenfoutistes, tout l’univers des dandys decadents” [Zutistes, Jemenfoutistes, the universe of decadent dandies], thus firmly placing it in the 19th century and indicating its place as a dictionary of the time rather than a pure lexicography, with a particular focus on the esthétique décadente.
A hybrid beast, this work contains both long, often illustrated encyclopedic articles and short definitions of terms. The articles, while replete with quotations, are devoid of references. The definitions in most cases give no indication of when or where a term was used. The book is supplied with an index, which is helpful due to the number of cross-references. However, there is no bibliography of works used.
The author has written on similar topics before, including Les Décadents français (Paris, 2007). Upon comparing his essay in the Dictionnaire on J.-K. Huysmans with that by Roy Jay Nelson in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction Writers: Naturalism and Beyond, 1860-1900 (in vol. 123 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit, 1992), the difference in tone, scholarly apparatus, organization, and content is notable. Where Dufaud lingers on the scandalous or piquant detail, Nelson analyzes the life and work. Nelson gives a complete bibliography of Huysmans’s work as well as a list of references. It is true that Nelson had more room to maneuver, with a considerably longer article; however, if Dufaud could have restricted himself more to facts and less to speculation, the dictionary would appear more reliable.
This book can be useful as a quick reference, especially to people, literary or artistic movements, and publications of the time. It can also be appropriate for background reading—and quite engaging reading it is. However, its lack of scholarship and scholarly apparatus prevents it from being a critical research tool.
Dictionnaire thématique du roman de mœurs en France, 1814-1914 [Thematic Dictionary of the Novel of Manners in France, 1814-1914]. Philippe Hamon and Alexandrine Viboud. 2 vols. Paris: Presses Sorbonne nouvelle, 2008. 442, 410 p. 25 cm. ISBN 9782878544534 (vol. 1): EUR 26.50; ISBN 9782878544541 (vol. 2): EUR 26.50
An RREA Original Review by Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley (Tulane University)
This two-volume dictionary is a considerably expanded revision of Hamon and Viboud’s Dictionnaire thématique du roman de mœurs, 1850-1914 (Paris, 2003—see RREA 10:108). It adopts a distinctive approach to the often-covered area of 19th-century French fiction, firstly by concentrating specifically on the novel of manners, then by structuring content based on themes within the works covered rather than presenting criticism by chronological period or individual author. Thus, it complements the approach of historical surveys such as Histoire de la littérature française du XIXe siècle [History of 19th-Century French Literature] by Alain Vaillant, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, and Philippe Régnier (Rennes, 2007) and biographical encyclopedias such as 19th century French Fiction Writers (2 vols., Detroit, 1992, edited by Catharine Savage Brosman as vols. 119 and 123 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography).
The defined scope of roman de mœurs limits the works covered to those novels and novellas that treat the social life and institutions of contemporary (19th-century and early 20th-century) France in a predominantly realistic and serious manner. Genres such as adventure novels, prose poems, humorous satire, and historical fiction are all excluded, although certain elements of adventure, satire, etc., may appear. For example, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables [The Wretched] is included but not his Notre-Dame de Paris [known in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame], which is set in the 15th century. Nonetheless, the compilers state that hundreds of works are included, and the list of them runs nearly 12 pages. The second half of the 19th century is particularly well represented; works more recent than 1914 are occasionally covered (e.g., Paul Bourget). While prominent authors are not neglected—Stendhal, Hippolyte Taine, and Émile Zola appear frequently, for example—themes are also discussed in works of numerous writers who are currently less well known, such as Gabrielle Beal, Henry Kistemaeckers, and Georges Nazim.
Themes, arranged alphabetically, vary widely in type; examples include objects (drugs, machines, paintings); institutions (army, dowry [as an established convention], hospital); individuals, classes, and types of characters (Jew, Napoléon III, office employee); activities (correspondence, sport, travel); psychological states (desire, nostalgia); period or state of life (illness, mother, solitude, widow/widower); events (fires, revolution); type of setting (prison, street, village); place (Corsica, Italy, the Seine); and natural forces and phenomena (heredity, weather). They receive more detailed and in-depth treatment than the term dictionnaire might imply, as entries run from about two pages in length to several pages; for example, “Religion” covers eight and a half pages. Some entries are grouped (e.g., “Allemagne / Prusse / Alsace / Lorraine” [Germany / Prussia / Alsace / Lorraine]), while a few broader ones, such as “Animal,” are broken down into subcategories.
Each entry consists of an overview paragraph—sometimes a page long, usually briefer— that discusses the treatment and significance of the theme in the literary history of the period, mentioning a few exemplary works and authors. In some cases, subjects are contrasted with their treatment in other fiction genres, such as Romantic novel or fantasy (adolescence is one example). A brief bibliography of secondary studies follows, including books, special journal issues, and essays in collections. The last and typically longest section of the entry is the list of relevant works, in alphabetical order by author; the bold font used for author names facilitates skimming. The title and imprint of the first edition is cited; for novellas, the collection in which it appeared is given. If the theme appears in a particular chapter or chapters, the chapter number is cited. The comments on the theme in each work, ranging from a brief sentence to a paragraph, are primarily descriptive rather than analytical or critical.
As aids to consulting this resource, “see also” references are provided at the beginning of many entries, e.g., from “Enfant” [Child] to “Abandon; Education; Famille” [Abandonment; Education; Family]. Straight “see” references also lead to one or multiple entries. An index at the end of each volume lists themes only for the letter range of that volume—i.e., only A-I for volume 1, J-Z for volume 2—but does include cross-references to entries in either volume. Closing each volume is a collective list of the works treated, alphabetically by author, then chronologically by title under each author. This list is a generally helpful means of identifying the range of authors and works discussed. However, not all authors’ title lists are detailed, as Honoré de Balzac has just one general entry, for the entire series La comédie humaine [The Human Comedy], not the titles of separate works addressed in the bodies of the entries; similarly, under Maupassant one sees just Œuvres complètes [Complete Works]. Furthermore, the author list is unfortunately not a true index, since it lacks page numbers.
The compilers of this reference work are well-qualified academics, who have provided scholarly and informative brief discussions of a remarkable range of themes in a considerable number of novels and novellas. It can be enlightening to read their concise treatments of even well-known subjects, such as death or Paris, compared across authors within the context of the genre roman de mœurs. For the non-specialist, it can also be quite intriguing to discover more obscure topics, such as the hobereau (a typically conservative member of the petty nobility living out in the countryside). Despite the frustrating lack of an actual author or title index, the Dictionnaire thématique du roman de mœurs en France, 1814-1914 can be recommended for all collections that support academic programs in modern French literature, as well as for individuals with an interest in 19th- to early 20th-century French fiction.
Special Report: Francesco Petrarca, 1304-1374.
The 700th birthday of the Italian humanist Francesco Petrarca on 20 July 2004 was the occasion for a number of special scholarly publications and exhibits published or staged around the world. Ten publications appearing between 2003 and 2006 were selected for review in Informationsmittel IFB [08-1/2-201 to -210], as a representative sample of the different types of commemorative activities held to recognize and honor the “Father of Humanism.” Four of these IFB reviews appear in RREA. [jg/ga]
Bibliografia petrarchesca 1989-2003 [A Petrarch Bibliography, 1989-2003]. Ed. Luca Marcozzi. Firenze: Olschki, 2005. xxxvi, 207 p. 25 cm. (Biblioteca di bibliografia italiana, 183). ISBN 88-222-5375-2: EUR 29 [08-1/2-201]
The present work emanated from a study of the history of Petrarch bibliography that Marcozzi presented as his thesis at the Scuola Vaticana di Biblioteconomia in 1997. This study, which here serves as an introduction to the bibliography proper, is a summation of nearly 500 years of Petrarch bibliography in which Marcozzi focuses primarily on the period between 1826 and 1916. The study emphasizes the role of bibliophiles in the development of research into the life and work of the “father of humanism” through bibliography—a role also reflected from a different perspective in Joseph G. Fucilla’s bibliography, Oltre un cinquantennio di scritti sul Petrarca [More than 500 Years of Writings about Petrarch] (Padua, 1982), which extends bibliographic coverage to 1972.
It remains a mystery why Marcozzi does not fill in the chronological gap between Fucilla’s bibliography and the beginning of his own. In the introduction he states merely that citations dating from 1973-1988 may be gleaned from lists of titles in various journals on Petrarch studies and editions of his works.
Marcozzi’s bibliography comprises fully 2,647 citations; he assigns only one number per citation and refers to these as necessary throughout. His organization, while systematic, intermingles aspects of form and content in Petrarch’s works in ways that make it difficult for the user to get oriented. Apart from the fact that Marcozzi’s application of the single citation numbers to his system of organization is not always successful, his often obscure internal differentiation between chapters creates more problems for the user. Symptomatic of his apparent difficulties in analyzing the content of his bibliographical material is a final chapter under the meaningless rubric of “Varia”, which contains no fewer than 63 citations. Marcozzi does include an alphabetical index of authors and editors providing secondary formal access to the works cited. Another plus is that his citations cover periodical articles and chapters in collections as well as independent works, and he selectively provides abstracts and/or references to reviews for citations.
In the final analysis however, this bibliography must be seen as little more than a preliminary, mechanical exercise of organizing the bibliographic material, and thus it fails to live up to the usual standard of Olschki bibliographies. [jg/kst]
Petrarca nel tempo: tradizione, lettori e immagini delle opere; catalogo della mostra, Arezzo, Sottochiesa di San Francesco 22 novembre 2003-27 gennaio 2004 [Petrarch in Time: Tradition, Readers, and Images of his Work; Exhibit Catalog, Arezzo, Crypt Church of San Francesco, 22 November 2003-27 January 2004]. Ed. Michele Feo. Pontedera: Bandecchi & Vivaldi, 2003. xvi, 539 p. ill. 30 cm. ISBN 88-8341-075-0: EUR 50 [08-1/2-202]
Complementary to Marcozzi’s bibliography (see RREA 14:99) is this exhibition catalog produced under the organizational umbrella of the VII Centenario della Nascità di Francesco Petrarca (2004), Comitato Nazionale [Seventh Centenary of the Birth of Francesco Petrarca (2004), National Consortium]. The curator, Michele Feo, is professor of Italian at the University of Florence and one of the world’s foremost specialists in Petrarch’s manuscripts, and this catalog is richly furbished with illustrations from these manuscripts.
The catalog consists of six chapters: an introduction to his life and writings; his vernacular works; his Latin poetry; his Latin prose; a description of his library; and his influence on his contemporaries as well as his literary legacy. Illustrations from manuscripts and printed works up to the 20th century, as well as supplementary illustrative materials, and panegyric writings, are interspersed throughout the chapters. Each chapter concludes with a bibliography specifically tailored to the material in that section.
This exhibition catalog is also available in website format at http://www.franciscus.unifi.it/Rassegna/Novita/neltempo/index.htm. It was developed for the Petrarch septcentenary under the general direction of Michele Feo and was sponsored by the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali [Ministry of Cultural Heritage]. Some portions of the site, such as access to the digital Biblioteca del Petrarca, require a log-in and password, but other sections, such as the extensive current bibliography of works by Petrarch (Novità librarie: Opere su Petrarca — http://www.franciscus.unifi.it/Rassegna/Novita/suPetrarca.htm), are freely accessible. [jg/ga]
Francesco Petrarca: manoscritti e libri a stampa della Biblioteca Ambrosiana [Francesco Petrarca: Manuscripts and Printed Books in the Ambrosian Library]. Ed. Marco Ballarini, Giuseppe Frasso, and Carla Maria Monti. Milano: Scheiwiller, 2004. 158 p. ill. 30 cm. ISBN 88-7644-412-2: EUR 28 [08-1/2-204]
For the 700th anniversary of the birth of Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan mounted an opulent exhibition and published an accompanying catalog to illustrate the significance of this collection for the study of Petrarch’s life and works.
The main part of the catalog presents 25 manuscripts and 14 printed books in pictures and text, all dating from the 14th through the 16th centuries. They contain works by Petrarch or serve to illustrate his intellectual milieu in some way. Unexpectedly, considering the exhibition’s and catalog’s mainly Italian perspective on Petrarch, the first eight manuscripts described are works in Latin, followed by several collections of translations of Latin texts into Italian. Only then do we get to works in the vernacular.
Among the printed books, Petrarch’s vernacular works reflect the Italian interest in and reception of his work into the early 16th century and are thus presented first. These are followed by incunabula editions of the Latin Opera Omnia of 1503 and the comprehensive collection of vernacular and Latin works printed in Basel in 1581.
The catalog concludes with Marco Ballarini’s overview of the history of Petrarch studies from the 17th to the 20th century and Massimo Rodella’s remarks on the importance of the Ambrosian Library for the preservation of Petrarch’s works as transmitted in manuscript. The latter includes a comprehensive list of all manuscripts in Petrarch’s own library and all manuscript editions of Petrarch’s works with inventory dates, but unfortunately without dates of origin. More keenly felt is the lack of a conspectus of the manuscript works as they relate to the (first appearing mostly in Germany) printed editions into the early 16th century. This might have instantly illuminated for the reader how the reception of Petrarch’s works differed north and south of the Alps at this time, and how this difference was manifest in the collections of the Ambrosiana itself. [jg/kst]
Petrarkismus-Bibliographie 1972-2000 [Bibliography of Petrarchism, 1972-1973]. Ed. Klaus W. Hempfer, Gerhard Regn, and Sunita Scheffel. Stuttgart: Steiner, 2005. xiii, 214 p. 24 cm. (Text und Kontext, 22). ISBN 3-515-08618-8: EUR 40 [08-1/2-206]
This bibliography of Petrarchism as a pan-European phenomenon essentially updates the section on “Petrarcismo” in Joseph G. Fucilla’s Oltre un cinquantennio di scritti sul Petrarca [More than 500 Years of Writings about Petrarch] (Padua, 1982), which covers the years 1916-1973. In so doing, it also reflects a paradigm change that has raised considerable interest in Petrarchism as a field of literary scholarship against the background of post-modern concepts such as structuralism and post-structuralism.
The bibliography is organized mainly according to the language of the primary source material of Petrarchism, and comprises 2,036 entries representing monographs and articles. As some of these are, of necessity, repeated at several places in the numerical organization, the actual number of works cited is somewhat less. The selection of entries is based on a clear definition of Petrarchism as a mainly—but not exclusively—literary form of representation that is essentially linked or related to Petrarch’s concept of love. But the selection extends as well into related concepts in areas of research somewhat further afield. Because this ambitious methodology is not based on simple search parameters, the authors have achieved a truly representative cross-section of relevant research literature. Two briefer chapters on the influence of Petrarchism in painting and music close the volume. In light of the clear organization and comprehensive scope of this excellent tool for research scholars, the absence of an author/editor index hardly matters. [jg/kst]
Phantasiographia: vivliographia ergōn anaphoras epistēmonikēs phantasias stēn Hellada 1971-2007 [Fantasy-Writing: Bibliography of Reference Works of Science Fiction in Greece, 1971-2007]. Spyros A. Vretos. Athēna: Metamesonykties Ekdoseis, 2008. 139 p. 18 cm. ISBN 978-960-7800-35-0: EUR 12.54 (Alexandrou Soutsou 18, 106 71 Athēna, fax  210 80 15 797,  210 36 07 787)
An RREA Original Review by George I. Paganelis, California State University (Sacramento)
Readers of either science fiction or Modern Greek literature may be equally surprised to learn not only of the existence of any bibliography of science fiction in Greece, but indeed that this volume is the third such work to appear in the last 15 years. However, one should not therefore be led to assume that science fiction is wildly popular in Greece—it is not—but relatively speaking it has experienced dramatic growth and recognition over the past 40 years as a niche interest among the Greek reading public.
This bibliography builds on the work of two pioneering efforts that began the process of documenting the little-known existence and history of the genre of science fiction in Greece and combating the largely negative and even hostile critical reaction it has received. First came Domna Pastourmatzē’s Vivliographia epistēmonikēs phantasias, phantasias, kai tromou: 1960-1993 [Bibliography of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror: 1960-1993] (Athēna, 1995), which indexed translations into Greek of novels, short stories, and anthologies broadly designated as “fantastical literature” (though with an emphasis on science fiction), as well as critical essays and reviews, interviews, and magazines. This title is notable because its useful introductory chapters and statistical tables appear in Greek and English (with the exception of one chapter), making it an accessible volume for an Anglophone audience. Three years later, in 1998, Nikos Theodōrou and Chrēstos Lazos published their Vivliographia Hellēnikēs epistēmonikēs phantasias (apo to Loukiano mechri sēmera) [Bibliography of Greek Science Fiction (from Lucian to Today)] (Iōannina, 1998). This work marked the first appearance of a bibliography of Greek science fiction by Greek authors and featured a detailed historical introduction and statistical data for the entries to follow, including publishing output by women authors. The unannotated alphabetical main entries (207 novels/novellas and 722 short stories) are followed by an annotated chronological presentation of the highlights of Greek science fiction and a conspectus of Greek science fiction magazines and fanzines to that point. These two foundational works set the stage for the present volume, which, however, departs significantly in its orientation, scope, and organization.
Calling Vretos’s work a bibliography of “reference works” is a bit misleading because, in fact, it is largely a bibliography of the secondary literature on science fiction and related genres of fantasy literature in Greece. He too begins with a historical overview of science fiction and fantasy literature in Greece. In contrast to the two aforementioned titles, however, Vretos argues against attributing qualities of science fiction to pre-modern writings; instead, he situates the origins of the genre firmly within the 19th century as a literary consequence of the Industrial Revolution. He cites two key developments that set the stage for the beginning of the “modern” period of Greek science fiction in the early 1970s, where his bibliography begins. The 1950s saw the appearance and development of science fiction pulp magazines in Greek, largely translated works of foreign authors, which then spawned Greek imitators and soon came to the notice of publishers. Later, the publication of Ta Kalētera Komiks [The Best Comics] from 1961-1963 represented the first point of contact with science fiction for a whole generation of young Greek readers. By 1971 science fiction titles began appearing in publishers’ catalogs, ushering in a flowering of the genre that has progressed ever since.
The broad conceptual framework and thematic organization of this bibliography illuminate the variety of interconnections that science fiction shares with the arts, mythology, futurism, and the occult; its dissemination through the media of comics, cartoons, film, and television; and its promotion through collateral publications, product tie-ins, and online communities of interest. In lieu of individual annotations, each section is introduced by a descriptive paragraph or two. Following the listings of books in the first half of the work, Vretos offers a narrative appraisal of the preceding 340 works profiled, including the telling statistic that 54.7% of them were published between 2000 and 2007. The thematic arrangement of the material is a laudable approach, but, at least for this section, an accompanying master index of works arranged alphabetically by author for easy reference would have been helpful.
The second half of the bibliography is devoted to the scattered and mostly short-lived periodical literature of science fiction and fantasy in Greece, including non-commercial websites, online forums, and blogs. Just as with their print periodical counterparts, many of the websites inventoried were no longer active even at the time of the bibliography’s publication, rendering the list a kind of fossilized print record of departed online resources. Importantly, among the comics and fanzines cited are references to special issues of mainstream literary journals such as Diavazō [I Read] and newspaper inserts featuring science fiction and fantasy content. The work concludes with an assortment of popular science periodicals of general interest and in areas such as astronomy, geography, and archaeology. From its inception the great majority of science fiction in Greek, both translations and original works, has appeared in the form of short stories published in periodical literature and more recently on the Web, making Vretos’s register an important resource for future anthologies.
While this bibliography offers an up-to-date history of science fiction in Greece and references to recent print and online publications, on its own it does not deliver what readers might expect from such a reference source: listings of science fiction works themselves. As such, readers interested in the international dimension of science fiction or non-belletristic Modern Greek literature should use this volume in conjunction with Theodōrou and Lazos’s bibliography in order to gain a fuller understanding of the landscape of the genre.
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