BD - Literature and Literary Studies
Duden, Bücher die man kennen muss: Klassiker der Weltliteratur [Duden, Books You Need to Know: Classics of World Literature]. Ed. Heike Pfersdorff. Mannheim: Duden-Verlag, 2011. 316 p. 19 cm. ISBN 978-3-411-74851-8: EUR 9.95 [11-3]
Duden, Bücher die man kennen muss: populäre Bestseller. Ed. Heike Pfersdorff. Mannheim: Duden-Verlag, 2011. 320 p. 19 cm. ISBN 978-3-411-74861-7: EUR 9.95 [11-3]
These pocket reference books are meant as “basic literary vocabulary” for everyone who wants to discuss books. The skeptic might think it provides all the information for talking about books one has not read. In a positive sense the first volume could be considered a list of books that offer readers a canon. While there are many conflicting ideas about a canon, there still seems to be a stable nucleus of titles that educated people should know. Such lists serve a useful function by indicating books that are rewarding to read. The volume on classics of world literature offers entries arranged in 12 periods from ancient times (nine authors) to the present (from 1968 on, ten authors) with one or two works by each. Within each period the entries seem to be arranged by the year a book was first published. Works in various languages are included. In the longest section, modern literature (1850-1968), German authors dominate with 16 of 24 (there are 11 English-language authors, six Russian-language ones, and only Proust and Camus from French literature). The present is represented by four German-language authors and one each from Hungarian, Italian, Czech, American, Spanish, and Turkish literature. Most of the books are novels—Shakespeare is not included, although a few works of philosophy are. Information about authors (about one page each) is given in a section with a pictogram of a head, and information about the work (historical background, contents, structure, and influence, including film versions and critical reactions) is given in a section marked by an open book. There is an index of works (which gives only the German titles, not the original ones) but no author index, which the chronological arrangement seems to require. If one takes the volume as inspiration for reading, it certainly has value.
The subtitle of the second volume is unclear, since bestsellers are or once were by definition popular. A good explanation of the bestseller phenomenon is John Sutherland’s Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007). There are a few titles in both volumes with identical text, for example Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Here it does not seem as necessary to know the works, but there is a wide spectrum of titles, including nonfiction. The volume treats such categories as cookbooks, cult books, books that moved the world, books of their times, popular nonfiction, books that were talked about, long-sellers, and books from the canon of world literature. Dust-jacket blurbs apparently were used in writing the articles, and whole articles were taken verbatim or with minor cuts from other books from the same publisher, such as Das Buch der 1000 Bücher (Mannheim, 2005). Perhaps it is not so important to the intended users, but this recycling of texts is mentioned nowhere. Like the first volume, this one has an index of titles but not of authors. One cannot say that all these books are worth knowing. For both volumes, the selection criteria are unclear, and neither has an introduction that explains them. Even those who are trained to read with an eye to aesthetic qualities should perhaps take the present opportunity to peruse this list of bestsellers, which will raise their awareness of these works’ literary value. [tk,sh/gph]
Handbuch Lyrik: Theorie, Analyse, Geschichte [Poetry Handbook: Theory, Analysis, History]. Ed. Dieter Lamping. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2011. 451 p. 25 cm. 978-3-476-02346-9: EUR 69.95 [12-2]
Spanning European poetry from antiquity to the contemporary, the Handbuch Lyrik is a fundamental, comparative work which, according to editor Dieter Lamping, is dedicated to theoretical, analytical, typological, and didactic concerns. The 36 authors, only 10 of whom are women, are predominantly Germanists and comparatists. There is no standardized format for the articles;shunning such convention in a reference handbook is problematic.
The handbook is arranged in five parts. Part I, “Theory and Poetics”, itself is subdivided into three parts, lumping together articles addressing poetics, current trends in poetry and poetics, and theories of poetry since the 18th century. Part II focuses on poetic analysis and includes entries that consider the structure and devices of poetry, including sound, meter, forms, versification, and stanzaic structure, among other architectures and conventions. The entry for the poetic I is allotted only two-and-a-half pages, suggesting it must be covered elsewhere. In this section, articles by Peter Hühn and Simone Winko provide new insights into the theories of narrative poetry. In “Media and Poetry,” Katrin Kohl argues that electronic mass-media provide new opportunities to reach new audiences but also contends that this new medium will not replace the performative nature of poetry, nor will it ever substitute for the printed poetry collection. Achim Hölter closes the chapter with an article that also grapples with mass-media’s impact upon poetry
Part III, “Typology of Poetry,” includes articles tracing the various roles of poetry in society, including, for example, articles that examine relationships between poetry and religion, poetry and other artistic forms, and poetic traditions such as love poetry. In the article “Nature Poetry” Georg Baumgart provides one of the most structured and meaningful entries of the entire volume. Likewise, articles by Fried von Ammons and Peer Trilckes are worthy of attention. Considering the importance of meta-poetry in the literary conversation, the article by Rudlof Brandmeyer is surprisingly short. Similarly, it would have been nice to see an article engaging the poetry of the 20th century and perhaps one that examines newer phenomena, such as slam poetry. Part IV is devoted to poetic agency. In his article “Museum of Big Ideas” Andreas F. Kelletat examines the complex nature of poetry in translation and the “hybrid status” of the poet/translator and all the attendant complications, while simultaneously acknowledging the strict standards of translation criticism, referencing the (too easy?) topos of the untranslatability of the poem. Pia-Elisabeth Leuschner’s article “Reading Poetry” vividly assembles issues related to reading and reciting poetry. Part V considers the history of the poem, with articles dedicated to various literary periods, such as Early-Modern, Romanticism, and the contemporary eras, among others.
The detailed indices compiled by Regina Fabry deserve special attention, as they artfully pull together disparate and complex ideas. Bibliographic references appear at the end of each article, leading to some repetition, but this practice undoubtedly meets the needs of the selective user. Finally, completing this work is a three-page bibliography listing fundamental works of theory, history and analysis, including important anthologies, though there are some curious gaps. [sak/jmw]
Lexikon Literaturwissenschaft: hundert Grundbegriffe Lexikon Literaturwissenschaft: hundert Grundbegriffe [Dictionary of Literary Criticism: 100 Basic Concepts]. Ed. Gerhard Lauer und Christine Ruhrberg. Stuttgart; Reclam: 2011. 384 p. 16 cm. ISBN 978-3-15-010810-9: EUR16.95 [11-2]
Reclam has published a number of dictionaries of “100 basic concepts,” for example, history (see RREA 9:163), politics (see RREA 13:211), and theology (see IFB 04-1- 103). This dictionary offers a selection of frequently used terms in literary criticism. The individual entries are substantial and include a short bibliography that is up to date with the publication year of the dictionary, 2010. It is important to note that each entry is written by a different expert in the field, and that the collection of a diverse set of 100 expert approaches to basic concepts in literary criticism makes the dictionary a valuable introduction to literary research itself.
The arbitrary limit of selecting 100 basic terms suggests that scholars would find the volume most useful as an introduction to literary study, or as a pocket or quick reference tool. For more specialized information needs researchers should consult the more comprehensive dictionaries, such as the Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft. (see RREA 5:110 and 11:99) and Ästhetische Grundbegriffe (see IFB 18, Heft 2), as well as other specialized encyclopedic works on literary criticism. [tk/hm]
Literatur und Recht: eine Bibliographie für Leser [Literature and Law: A Bibliography for Readers]. Thomas Sprecher. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2011. 721 p. 25 cm. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 978-3-465-03719-4: EUR 99 [11-4]
This hefty and extensive bibliography, compiled by jurist and Germanist Thomas Sprecher, offers a comprehensive overview of literary texts, both short and long, chapter-length and book-length, that deal significantly with some aspect of justice, law, or the legal system. The emphasis is on texts written in German, but major authors from world literature, especially literature in English, are also included. The table of contents is 15 pages long and lists 340 writers from not only literature but also philosophy and music, for example. Authors date from antiquity to the present, from Sophocles through contemporary lawyers-turned-authors like Scott Turow and Bernhard Schlink. The individual authors section, while some 200 pages long, is but one out of 20 sections. The CD-ROM edition (a .pdf file) significantly eases and facilitates navigation through the entire work. This publication should appeal both to literary scholars and to legal scholars. [tk/ldl]
Metrica e retorica del Medioevo [Medieval Poetic Meter and Rhetoric]. Giorgio Inglese and Raffaella Zanni. Roma: Carocci, 2011. 143 p. 22 cm. (Quality Paperbacks). ISBN 9788843057900: EUR 12
An RREA Original Review by Thomas M. Izbicki (Rutgers University)
Medieval literature drew on a body of rhetorical precepts and figures derived from antiquity. Among the sources employed were the Pseudo-Ciceronian Rhetorica ad Herennium [Rhetoric for Herennius] and Horace. Various poetic meters were used, as were certain rhyming schemes, among the latter the terza rima used by Dante in the Divina Commedia [Divine Comedy]. Giorgio Inglese and Raffaella Zanni have compiled a brief alphabetical dictionary of rhetorical devices and poetic meters used in medieval and early Renaissance western European literature; the emphasis throughout is on Italian literature. Included in the category of literature are lyrics of song forms, such as the madrigale [madrigal] and the caccia [catch]. This entire dictionary will be useful, especially when studying the earlier generations of Italian writers.
The dictionary begins with a brief foreword and a bibliographic key, giving the abbreviations most often employed. The key cites a few manuscript books, but most of the references are to printed texts. Some texts cited are primary sources, including Cicero, Quintilian, Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Others are reference tools, including four repertoria [inventories] of poetic meters, listing poetic forms used in the Middle Ages. Three of these repertoria focus on Sicily, not the mainland. The coverage of these and other non-Florentine vernacular literatures is one of the strengths of the book.
Each entry in the dictionary explains the rhetorical figure or poetic form. Origins of terms, especially those derived from Greek, are explained briefly. The nature of each figure or meter is explained, and examples are given. For example, sententia [opinion] is illustrated with a quotation from Brunetto Latini. Other authors and their works simply receive references, e.g., the Poetria nova [New Poetry] of Geoffrey of Vinsauf, which is mentioned in the article on ornatus [ornament]. Poetic forms, such as the various forms used in the sonnetto [sonnet], are illustrated with indications of rhyme schemes. For example, while Guido Cavalcanti did use the scheme ABBA ABBA, once he used ABBB BAAA. Certain entries, e.g., metafora [metaphor], cover familiar ground. Others, such as the entry about the borrowing from troubadour poetry of the term plazer [pleasure] by writers like the jurist Cino da Pistoia, make this dictionary of medieval rhetoric and meter worthwhile.
Bibliographie Erich Kästner: mit einer ausführlichen Zeittafel und zahlreichen Fotos von Stationen seines Lebens und den literarischen Schauplätzen [Erich Kästner Bibliography: With a Detailed Chronology and Numerous Photographs Representing Different Life Stages and Literary Haunts]. Johan Zonneveld. 3 vols. Bielefeld: Aisthesis-Verlag. 778, 857, 808 p. ill. 25 cm. + 1 CD-ROM. (Bibliographien zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte, 18). ISBN 9783895288357: EUR 368 (Set) [12-1]
Whilst the editor’s earlier Erich-Kästner-Bibliographie (see RREA 9:84), published on the occasion of Kästner’s 100th birthday, may not have been well received, this new three-volume bibliography represents a significant scholarly contribution. It is published in an established and well-respected series (Aisthesis’s Bibliographien zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte [Bibliographies on the History of German Literature]). More importantly, the author’s already thoroughgoing knowledge of his topic is here supplemented by extensive reference to Kästner’s literary estate—to the extent that it may be appropriate to speak of this work as a combination of author bibliography and archive catalog.
This bibliography is characterized by great breadth of scope. Volume 1 (which includes an introduction, a chronology, and a bibliography of primary sources) aims at exhaustive coverage of Kästner’s fragmentary and diverse oeuvre, here represented in 11 formatspecific chapters. Volume 2 (secondary sources, part 1) covers not only studies of Kästner generally and of individual works by him, but also centenary publications and other miscellaneous contributions. Volume 3 continues the bibliography of secondary sources and includes a four-chapter filmography and extensive bibliography of Kästner’s correspondence.
The accompanying CD-ROM (which, incidentally, is not particularly easy to use) serves partly as an index, but also includes some additional unique content, notably the numerous photographs mentioned in the title of the work. Each of the three volumes contains its own detailed index. [sh/cjm]
Thomas Mann, der Amerikaner: Leben und Werk im amerikanischen Exil, 1938- 1952 [Thomas Mann, the American: Life and Work in Exile, 1938-1952]. Hans Rudolf Vaget. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 2011. 583,  p. ill. 23 cm. ISBN 978-3-10-087004-9: EUR 24.95 [12-4]
The author, a professor of Comparative Literature at Smith College, examines Thomas Mann’s residency in the United States from 1938-1952. Mann described his approach to America as a gradual physical and mental embracing. He was introduced to the country and its people during four visits from his earlier exile in Switzerland and later continued with train trips around the country. He taught at Princeton University before moving to Pacific Palisades in California, received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University, had his honorary doctorate from the University of Bonn revoked, became a U.S. citizen, and was treated for life-threatening lung cancer. During this time, he published five books, sometimes including characters based on people he had encountered, such as his patron Agnes G. Meyer and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After being called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, a disenchanted Mann left the United States and returned to Europe.
The author, Hans Rudolf Vaget, also evaluates how Mann dealt with Germany’s National Socialist period in his American works. Although Doktor Faustus was written in Pacific Palisades, Vaget argues that it is Mann’s most German work, because it contemplates the question of whether there is a good Germany as well as the bad (Nazi) one. Ultimately, however, he leaves it to the reader to make the final decision about Mann’s role in the discourse on Vergangenheitsbewältigung (mastering of the past). This book is highly recommended, a linguistic and intellectual pleasure. [jli/rg]
Personalbibliographie der Forschungsliteratur zu Thomas Bernhard: 1963-2011 [Critical Bibliography of the Research Literature on Thomas Bernhard: 1963- 2011]. Axel Diller. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2011. 191 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-631-61647-5: EUR 39.80 [12-1]
Despite certain lapses in craftmanship in this work (e.g., strict chronological organization within chapters, no subject index, and no way to gain an overview of the reception of Bernhard’s works in any one country), and the fact that the bibliography could stand to be expanded, Diller has published a usable critical-subjective bibliography on Thomas Bernhard, the enfant terrible of recent Austrian literature. Based on Diller’s dissertation, it is the first monograph-length work to fill this niche, and it includes around 2,100 articles, published interviews, conference proceedings, and monographs, with necessarily short but bibliographically adequate annotations. [sh/rb]
“Wie anders wirkt dies Zitat auf mich ein!” Johann Wolfgang von Goethes entflügelte Worte in Literatur, Medien und Karikaturen [“How Differently This Quotation Is Affecting Me!” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s Parodied Words in Literature, Media and Caricatures]. Wolfgang Mieder. Wien: Praesens-Verlag, 2011. 422 p. ill. 21 cm. (Kulturelle Motivstudien, 11). ISBN 978-3-7069-0651-7: EUR 38.90 [12-3]
This title is part of a series of monographs which trace the development of geflügelte Worte (winged words)—quotations from literature that have entered into the public consciousness to such a degree that the user/audience often no longer recognizes their original source. This volume examines quotations from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Each of the 52 chapters begins with the original quotation which is then followed by a chronological record of later variations of the quotation, with sources. Over time the original quotation frequently becomes a cliché and gets more and more distorted and manipulated. Sometimes its use is respectfully true to the original, other times it devolves to irreverent wordplay, sometimes it is used seriously, at other times humorously. These adaptations of Goethe’s words include quotations, maxims, proverbs, aphorisms, allusions, parodies, parodies of parodies, etc., in literature, journalism, advertising, and cartoons. Mieder limits the quotations to print media and illustrations, which is unfortunate considering the importance of other media in modern culture. The 745 secondary quotations are based on the collection that Wolfgang Mieder gathered over four decades in his Internationales Archiv für Sprichwort- und Erzählforschung (International Archive for Folk-Narrative Research) that resides at the University of Vermont, where he is Professor of German language and folklore. There is no index, but it is not really needed. The introduction includes an extensive bibliography. Unfortunately Mieder includes very little commentary, leaving the readers to draw their own conclusions, but the scholarly treatment and reputation of Mieder make the work indispensable. And the regular use of Goethe’s words in modern times demonstrates that the classical writer has remained relevant long after his death. [wh/rg]
Goethes Leben von Tag zu Tag: eine dokumentarische Chronik [Goethe’s Life Day by Day: A Documentary Chronicle]. Robert Steiger, and Angelika Reimann. Zürich: Artemis Verlag, c1982-1996.
Volume 9: Generalregister: Namenregister – Register der Werke Goethes – Geographisches Register [General Index: Names Index – Index to Goethe’s Works – Geographic Index]. Siegfried Seifert and Doris Kuhles. 2011. 665 p. ISBN 978-3-11-019943-7: EUR 179.95 [12-1]
Volume 9: Generalregister [Electronic Resource]. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2011. ISBN: 978-3-11-025837-0 (e-book): US-dollar price varies by provider. http://www. degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/129737.
The eight-volume chronicle of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s life and works was edited by Robert Steiger and is complete with the publication of the current index volume. The value of the 650-page general index, consisting of 200,000 terms, lies in its ability to reflect the richness of the documentation included in the 6,000-page, eight-volume set covering Goethe’s daily life and work. The index is meticulous in its attention to detail, whether referring the reader to the documents that explicitly state a term, or whether analyzing the documents for implied and hidden subject terms. It is is precise and reliable, with each entry including not only the page and volume, but also the time period covered by the volume, e.g., “page xxx /volume 8 (1828-1832).”
The largest section of the volume is the names index (p. 1-472); it includes named persons, but also named institutions (e.g., Cottasche Buchhandlung [Cotta’s Book Shop]), associations and societies (e.g., Deutscher Fürstenbund [German League of Princes]), and periodicals (e.g., Iris) . For entries on persons it is particularly useful that every effort has been made to include first name, birth and death year, and other unique personal information, including the titles of works by the person, if they were mentioned in the chronicle, and other contextual information in the form of additional subject terms. Names of mythical figures are indexed in two ways: they are indexed to where the document volumes mention the mythical figure itself, and they are also indexed under the author of a literary treatment of a mythical figure; i.e., there are separate entries for the mythical figure Iphigenia and for literary treatments of Iphigenia by Euripides, Racine, and Goethe. There is no overall index entry for a mythical figure “Iphigenia” that would unite every single mention of Iphigenia in the eight-volume set.
The index to Goethe’s works (p. 473-538) is especially useful, because it lists every work, down to the title of a poem, mentioned in the set; the entry includes subject terms that identify the context within which the work was mentioned, whether press history, illustration, translation, adaptation in music and theater, or reception history. For example, Faust alone occupies three-and-a-half columns.
Lastly, the geographic index (p. 539-665) is broadly inclusive of all geographic terms and contains subjects that identify the context of the reference. For example, Rome occupies ten-and-a-half columns and Weimar occupies 17 columns.
The eight volumes of documents together with the index volume are nothing less than a complete index to the life of and work of Goethe. [ni,sh/hm]
Inventare des Goethe- und Schiller-Archivs [Inventory of the Goethe- and Schiller- Archive]. Ed. Klassik-Stiftung Weimar, Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv. Weimar; [Stuttgart]: Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nachf. 25 cm. [12-1]
Vol. 2. Goethe-Bestand [Goethe Collection]. Ed. Gerhard Schmid. Part 2. Dramen, Romane und Erzählungen [Dramas, Novels, and Stories]. Ed. Jürgen Gruß. 2011. xxxi p. 990 cols. ISBN 978-3-7400-1261-8: EUR 159.95
Volume 1 of this inventory, published in 1989, contained a catalog of the Archive’s Schiller collection. Volume 2, part 1, published in 2000, is a catalog of papers and documents relating to Goethe’s poetry. The volume under review continues documenting the Goethe collection with coverage of drama, novels, and stories.
Because many manuscripts in the collection contain multiple works, the volume offers two ways to locate material. Part A is an inventory organized in accordance with the archival arrangement. Part B lists individual works and their associated documents independently of the archival arrangement. Thus part B has enables the user to determine at a glance which documents relate to any particular work of Goethe.
This present volume continues the meticulous work characterizing the previous volumes and will certainly establish itself as an indispensable aid to those who work with the Goethe-Schiller archive. The reliable information made available will enable the user to explore the archival material with precision, even from a distance. Since 2005 the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv (GSA) has provided electronic access to the inventory of the entire collection (http://ora-web.swkk.de/archiv_online/gsa.entry [accessed 03 May 2013]). [ni/rc]
Lieber und verehrter Onkel Heinrich [Dear and Esteemed Uncle Heinrich]. Klaus Mann. Ed. Inge Jens and Uwe Naumann. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 2011. 299,  p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 978-3-498-03237-1: EUR 19.95 [11-4]
The title Lieber und verehrter Onkel Heinrich is misleading, since the publication includes letters by both Klaus Mann (Klaus) and his uncle, the author Heinrich Mann (Heinrich). The collection is edited and annotated by the renowned literary scholars Inge Jens and Uwe Naumann. It includes all correspondence between the two writers, most of which were written from 1933-1948, when the authors were in exile, although there is one congratulatory letter to the siblings Erika and Klaus written in 1924. Of these 67 letters, 49 have not been published in full previously. The topics are mainly literary or political, with mentions of the family apparently of secondary interest to the writers, although they do provide insight into the literary family, including Klaus’s troubled relationship with his father, Thomas, Heinrich’s occasional partiality for Klaus’s younger brother Golo, and the suicide of Heinrich’s wife, Nelly, which foreshadows Klaus’s own suicide.
The correspondence also reveals the mutual affection and esteem of the two authors, illuminates Heinrich’s role as Klaus’s spiritual father, gives insight into the autobiographical nature of some of Klaus’s writings and into Heinrich’s influence on his nephew’s writing, and highlights the similarities between the two men as well as their differences. The annotations accompanying the letters are concise, profound, and well-researched.
The book includes visually appealing photographs and illustrations. The book concludes with an epilogue, a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and title and name indexes. This is an excellent publication that fills a hole in the literature until comprehensive collections of Klaus’s and Heinrich’s correspondence are published. [wa/rg]
Die Geschichte der Faust-Forschung: Weltanschauung, Wissenschaft, und Goethes Drama [The History of Research on Faust: Philosophy, Scholarship, and Goethe’s Drama]. Rüdiger Scholz. 2 vols. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann. 906 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-8260-4508-0: EUR 49.80 [13-1]
This two-volume work (in nine chapters, not 19, as incorrectly noted in the table of contents), explores the history of Faust scholarship. Following the foreword and an overview of Faust, the first chapter surveys critical approaches, with the second providing examples of key critical interpretations of the text, including the author’s own. The short third chapter illustrates ideological interpretations using three fundamental works. Subsequent chapters are arranged chronologically and thematically and compile research on Goethe’s masterpiece. The ninth and final chapter assesses many years of criticism and notes areas for further inquiry. Summaries of prior research are provided, as well as highlights illustrating individual positions via extensive quotes.
Scholz’s outline method leads to much unnecessary repetition of citations, and he offers pointed criticism of earlier interpretations of Faust; in his view Faust scholarship has been emotionally, politically, and ideologically charged and lacking an articulation of a radical counter position. He also questions the purpose of continued Faust scholarship. Although he provides a solid chapter on basic literary terminology, it is not clear who the intended audience might be. While he praises the current excellent research by talented scholars, he questions the motives for continuing to produce so much scholarship on the subject. One can thus ask how relevant his polemical critiques are in a work purporting to be the history of Faust scholarship and the Enlightenment.
Scholz has succeeded in providing valuable information for a variety of readers. His chronological and thematic arrangement makes it easy to find sources on the critical reception of Faust at various periods. However, the overall impression is diminished by his somewhat tendentious criticism, which can be difficult to reconcile with the scholarly demands of the monograph [ni/jmw]
Dichter für das “Dritte Reich”: biographische Studien zum Verhältnis von Literatur und Ideologie [Poets for the “Third Reich:” Biographical Studies of the Relationship between Literature and Ideology]. Ed. Rolf Düsterberg. Bielefeld: Aisthesis-Verlag. 21 cm.
Vol. 2. Neun Autorenporträts und ein Essay über literarische Gesellschaften zur Förderung des Werkes völkischer Dichter [Nine Author Portraits and an Essay on Literary Societies for the Promotion of Nationalist Poets]. 2011. 356 p. ill. ISBN 978-3-89528-855-5: EUR 38 [13-1]
Following the concept, layout, and arrangement of volume 1 (see RREA 15/16:100), the focus of the second volume is on poets whose biographies can be read as exemplars of the literary scene of the so-called “Third Reich.” The crisis-ridden years following World War I provided an ideological platform for the profoundly insecure and frustrated aggressively to act out their racist and nationalist feelings in a literary forum. The ideological influence would have been less important if the Nazi-controlled state and societal institutions had not required loyalty to the regime, but through literary prizes, political appointments, publication opportunities, and commissioned work, the regime provided above-average earnings for party loyalists.
The articles included are based upon theses supervised by Rolf Düsterberg over the course of his tenure overseeing the Osnabrück Colloquium’s “Biographical Studies of the Relationship between Literature and Ideology in the Third Reich.” Poets are arranged alphabetically from Heinrich Anacker to Kurt Ziesel and are indexed by title keywords. In her article, Verena Schulz observes that Heinrich Anacker focused on writing apolitical nature poetry at both the beginning and end of his career, although he was most famous for his impassioned poems glorifying the Brown Shirts, Hitler, and the war, which sometimes earned him generous sums from the Ministry of Propaganda. Ines Bethge’s article focuses on Friedrich Bethge, whose hyper-masculine play “March of the Veterans” was successful and for which he was awarded the National Book Prize. Unlike Bethge, who never again published after the war ended, Jürgen Hahn-Butry, one of the “front poets,” found plenty of opportunity to work following the war. An interesting sketch of Franz Schauwecker is presented by Nadja Bengsch in her article “Poet of the Heroic Life.” His 1929 novel Aufbruch der Nation [Dawn of the Nation] was seen as a bold and ideological response to Erich Maria Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues [All Quiet on the Western Front].
Volume 2 concludes with an article by Jan-Peter Brinkmann about current literary societies that promote the work of Nazi-era writers. It is hardly surprising that these societies are led by revisionists and apologists who downplay these poets’ intentions. Brinkmann calls upon scholars in literary criticism to confront, with the actual source material, the biases and falsehoods put out by such groups. Those scholars who were involved in these two volumes have made a considerable contribution to research on the society and mentality of the “Third Reich” and its literature. [sak/jmw]
Schriftsteller im Nationalsozialismus: ein Lexikon [Authors under National Socialism: A Biographical Dictionary]. Hans Sarkowicz and Alf Mentzer. Berlin: Insel-Verlag, 2011. 676 p. 21 cm. ISBN 978-3-458-17504-9: EUR 48 [12-4]
This work was first published in 2000 as Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, with a revised and enlarged edition appearing in 2002 (see RREA 7:90 and 8:115 respectively). Schriftsteller includes 22 new articles, bringing the total to 155. It has also been thoroughly revised and updated, with the articles now averaging three pages in length. This size is sufficient for a balanced evaluation of each subject, including an analysis of their major works (although it must be noted that the illustrations present in the earlier title have been sacrificed). Appended to each is a bibliography of the author’s works not specifically mentioned in the article plus an updated (as of 2010) list of secondary sources. In addition, a selected bibliography at the end of the volume lists 400 monographs of background literature, along with an index of names.
As noted in the RREA reviews cited above, the particular virtue of this lexicon is that it includes all authors active in Germany and Austria during the Third Reich era regardless of their stance toward the National Socialist regime. It thereby avoids a focus on pro- Nazi writers (see, for example, Dichter für das “Dritte Reich”—RREA 15/16:100 and 17:81), and it omits entirely the expatriate and emigrant authors, both of which groups have been thoroughly researched and treated elsewhere, for example in Wartesaal-Jahre: Deutsche Schrittsteller im Exil nach 1933 (see RREA 15/16:99). [sh/kst]
Literatura austriacka w Polsce w latach 1980-2008: bibliografia adnotowana [Austrian Literature in Poland, 1980-2008: An Annotated Bibliography]. Ed. Edward Bialek and Katarzyna Nowakowska. Wroclaw: Oficyna Wyd. ATUT, 2009. 517 p. 24 cm. (Seria biblioteka austriacka, 35). ISBN 978-83-7432- 512-7: EUR 34 [11-3]
The reception of German-language literature in Poland and Polish literature in Germany has been well documented in several bibliographies of these literatures in translation. Edward Bialek is the director of the Office for the Teaching of Literature in the Institute of Germanic Philology at the University of Wroclaw (Silesia) and has published on Gerhard Hauptmann, Joseph Eichendorff, and German-language literature in general. Katarzyna Nowakowska is a curator in the UW Social Sciences Library.
Several bibliographies of German-language literature in Polish translation have appeared since 1990, including Edyta Polczynska’s Bibliografia przekladów z literatury niemieckiej na j?zyk polski 1800-1990 (see RREA 95-4-520) and Ingrid Kuhnke’s Polnische schöne Literatur in deutscher Übersetzung, 1900-1992/93 (see RREA 95-4-521). The work at hand, however, is especially welcome, because it brings the bibliography more up to date and also includes secondary works.
Some 260 authors are organized both by subject and by name. Their works are further delineated by genre: monograph, anthology, and article, which are further subdivided by chapters, essays, reviews, dictionary entries, and mere mention (“wzmianka”). The prolific authors are given more detailed analysis. The citations are annotated in detail. The appendix (by Justyna Kostrubies), also an annotated bibliography, lists anthologies, collected works, and publications on the subject of the reception of Austrian literature in Poland and Polish- Austrian cultural relations, which have been quite close for several decades (for example, Austria maintains Austrian Libraries [Biblioteka austriacka] in several Polish cities). There is also a register of translators, but not one of authors of the secondary works). This latter omission may be due to the overall decline of bibliographic work in Germany. [sh/ga]
Literatura austriacka w Polsce w latach 1980-2010: szkice do historii recepcji [Austrian Literature in Poland, 1980-2010: A History of its Reception]. Edward Bialekand Katarzyna Nowakowska. Walbrzych: Wydawnictwo Panstwowej Wyzszej Szkoly Zawodowej im. Angelusa Silesiusa, 2010. 193 p. 23 cm. (Seria biblioteka austriacka, 38). ISBN 978-83-88425-44-8: (no price given) [11-3]
This compendium follows the 2009 publication of the bibliography of Austrian literature in Poland, 1980-2008 (see RREA 17:83). The work grew out of a conference on the same subject held at the University of Wroclaw in April 2010. The 18 papers cover individual authors like Kafka, Hofmannsthal, Rilke, Schnitzler, Musil, Bachmann, Bernhard, Canetti, Handke, Peter Turrini, Felix Mitterer, Martin Pollack, Doron Rabinovici, and Adam Zielinski, as well as the literary circle PODIUM. The focus of all the papers is on the Polish reception of these authors both in literature and in some cases in the theater (Kafka and Canetti, for example). Each article contains copious footnotes, but the work lacks an index of contributors (and their biographies). The articles are only in Polish, with no summary in German provided. [sh/ga]
205 Years of Beowulf translations and adaptations (1805-2010): a bibliography. Hans Sauer and Julia Hartmann. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012. 167 p. 21 cm. ISBN 978-3-86821-354-6: EUR 19.50 [12-3]
Beowulf, considered to be the greatest extant literary work in Old English and also the first Germanic verse epic, has been handed down in one single manuscript. It was written in the year 1000, although the original tale is older (between 700 and 1000). The text was first published in 1815, accompanied by a Latin translation, and since then has spread and continues to spread, primarily in translations and revisions, since the original manuscript is accessible only to Old English specialists. The Munich Anglicist Hans Sauer, with four assistants, has documented the dissemination of the text in this bibliography, with the intention of offering a complete listing of all Beowulf translations and adaptations published from the years 1805 to 2010. This updates the previous such bibliography, which included works published to 2005. There have been numerous others, documented in the first chapter.
Chapter 2 enumerates and describes the English-speaking translations, including parallel two-language editions, those with only the Old English text, and other versions—307 titles all together, which make up the lion’s share of the bibliography. The list continues with translations in 28 languages, 220 in all. After the translations in modern English, the most translations are in German (20), followed by Japanese (11) and French (10). The bibliography offers a wealth of information about each edition. It also includes “imaginative recreations,” such as plays, novels, comic strips, and games. A minor problem with enumeration in the index makes it more difficult to find the appropriate translation. [sh/akb]
Altisländisches Lesebuch: ausgewählte Texte und Minimalwörterbuch des Altisländischen [Old Icelandic Reader: Selected Texts and Glossary of Old Icelandic]. Robert Nedoma. Heidelberg: Winter, 2011. 291 p. ill. 21 cm. (Indogermanische Bibliothek, Reihe 1). ISBN 978-3-8253-5951-5: EUR 19 [12-4]
The Altisländisches Lesebuch provides the “companion volume” to the author’s earlier Kleine Grammatik des Altisländischen [Concise Grammar of Old Icelandic], which has become a standard work, now in its 3d edition (Heidelberg, 2010). The reader is divided into two parts, the selected readings and the glossary. The readings make up 21 chapters, with examples from different kinds of Old Icelandic literature, including excerpts from the Edda sagas, Scaldic poetry, and two runic inscriptions.
Every text is accompanied by an introduction, with information about the text and a short summary of the contents. Texts include varying degrees of supporting material to aid in translation, sometimes interlinear translations and sometimes complete translations. Almost all texts have extensive commentary with explanations of expressions or idioms, information about personages and place names, and cultural and historical background information.
The second part of the Lesebuch consists of an “Essential Dictionary of Old Icelandic” with 4,000 words and 300 names. The dictionary is actually quite comprehensive. Here one can find not only all of the words that occur in the texts of the reader but also other important vocabulary, so that the work can serve as a dictionary in perusing other Old Icelandic texts. Nedoma’s dictionary cannot replace Walter Baetke’s more comprehensive Wörterbuch zur altnordischen Prosaliteratur, 8th edition (Berlin, 2008), but there are some features that make it more user-friendly, for example, alphabetizing words with prefixes by the root word, not the prefix.
The Lesebuch, together with its dictionary, is a welcome addition to the existing teaching materials for Old Icelandic. The variety of texts offers a good cross section of Old Nordic writing, enhanced by the helpful commentary. [irk/akb]
Dictionnaire du désir de lire: cent romans contemporains du monde entier (XXe– XXIe) [Dictionary of the Desire to Read: 100 Contemporary Novels from around the World (20th–21st Centuries)]. Benoît Jeantet and Richard Escot. Paris: H. Champion, 2011. 403 p. 21 cm. (Champion Les dictionnaires). ISBN 9782745322029: EUR 19
An RREA Original Review by Wendeline A. Hardenberg (Southern Connecticut State University)
As noted in Olivier Barrot’s preface, the keyword in this book’s title is désir [desire], and the book itself springs directly from its compilers’ passion for reading and writing. The purpose of the Dictionnaire is to bring 100 notable novels (and novellas) from around the world into contact in new, unexpected ways, thereby igniting (or reigniting) the desire to read. They fully expect anyone perusing the entries to do so pencil in hand, checking off the ones that they have read and circling the ones that they want to read in the future. It is therefore an interactive sort of work, encouraging those who pick it up not only to engage with the choices made by Jeantet and Escot (who have gladly abandoned all pretense of exhaustiveness or objectivity), but also to consider what their own choices would have been—an activity perhaps jump-started by the presence of a “Liste bis” [Second List] of 100 other novels that could have been chosen instead.
The entries in the Dictionnaire are in alphabetical order by author, largely because Jeantet and Escot consciously rejected any categorization by date, genre, or other typical grouping. Each author is represented by a single work (no matter how extensive their oeuvre), each noted by title and publication date. All entries follow the same format consisting of three sections: “Biographie”, which provides a short account of the author’s life, especially as it relates to his or her work; “Contexte”, which briefly situates the chosen novel within literary history, but particularly the author’s own literary activities; and “Désir de lire”, which very earnestly attempts to explain why people have wanted to read this book, whether because of the story, the characters, the writing style, the overarching themes, or any other reason. Sometimes these explanations are relatively straightforward descriptions of plot, but they tend more often to wax poetic. For example, the entry on Naguib Mahfouz’s L’impasse des deux palais [Palace Walk] ends as follows: “Le regard se teinte parfois d’une forme de pessimisme quand menace de survenir la rupture entre un passé séculaire et le passage à une modernité brutale mais inévitable. Et cette poésie de l’ordinaire toujours prête à surgir de l’angle mort d’une ruelle.” [One’s gaze is sometimes colored by a form of pessimism when the rupture between a secular past and the transition to a brutal but inevitable modernity looms. And this poetry of the ordinary is always ready to emerge from around the blind corner of an alley.
Accompanying the entries is what Jean Pruvost, writer of the foreword, calls “le système veineux, le tissu maillé des rencontres entre les oeuvres et les écrivains présentés” [the system of veins, the fabric knitted from encounters between the works and writers presented]—that is, the indexes. Indeed, these indexes are conceived as vital to the entire project. In addition to a table of authors that provides quicker access to the entries’ alphabetical order and page numbers, there are three excellent indexes of place names, personal names, and topical subjects. The reader can therefore find geographical, personal, and thematic connections among the various novels, which could lead down new and interesting mental and literary roads, exactly as the creators intended.
The Dictionnaire du désir de lire is highly recommended for libraries with well-used collections of French literature; an English translation would be welcome in any North American library.
La Francophonie: bibliographie analytique de la recherche international 1980-2005 [Francophonie: Analytic Bibliography of International Research 1980-2005]. Jürgen Erfurt and Maria Amelina. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011. 763 p. ill. 21 cm. (Sprache, Mehrsprachigkeit und sozialer Wandel, 11). ISBN 978- 3-631-60468-7: EUR 91.60
An RREA Original Review by Sarah B. Sussman (Stanford University)
This bibliography covers the state of academic research on Francophonie—the language, literature, society, and culture of French-speaking communities outside of France— during a formative time for the discipline. An informative introduction examines the development of the idea and discipline of francophone studies. It is followed by the analytic bibliography, list of sources, and table of contents. The bibliography covers selected scholarly works; monographs and longer works are privileged over articles and short writings. Studies on linguistics and literature are at the work’s core, yet beginning in the 1990s, as scholarship becomes more interdisciplinary, the bibliography includes increasing numbers of works on history, politics, culture, social sciences, economics, and religion. Concepts and issues such as colonialism, post- and neo-colonialism, alterity, hybridity, the roles of globalization and migration, and other topics such as gender, race, and class also emerge as key issues in research.
The introduction is particularly important, as it covers the actual history of the field and thus justifies the structure and contents of the bibliography itself. From the founding of Quebec in 1608, to the 19th-century colonial projects, and then ahead to 20th-century decolonization movements, French language and culture have represented a privileged yet ambiguous link between France and the world. The development of discourses such as negritude, post- and anticolonialism, and métissage [cultural crosscurrents] added additional perspectives to Francophonie. As French language and political involvement have spread to North America, the Caribbean, the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East, the development of entities focused around an idea of shared interests and the growth of identity politics have also shaped conceptions of Francophonie. Starting in the 1960s, various ministries and organizations charged with promoting cooperation between France and the francophone world have fostered a network of relations based around issues of development, education, and the spread of democracy. Often supported by the governments of France, Canada, Quebec, Belgium, and Switzerland, these groups organize international conferences, have publication programs, and generally promote enhanced social, economic, and cultural relations between francophone countries and regions. These forces played an important role in the development of francophone studies as a scholarly discipline in the 1960s and 1970s. The introductory section also Annual].
Based on their account of the development of Francophonie, the authors present four criteria for the bibliography proper. Selected works must deal in some way with French as a sociolinguistic characteristic, as a marker of identity, or as integral to an ideology (Belgian francophone specificity, creolity, or negritude). They must also describe and analyze the concrete historical, social, economic, and cultural conditions of places in the global francophone community. Citations are very brief and consist of the author’s last name followed by the publication date. Multiple citations in a single subcategory are separated by commas. The analytic bibliography is divided into four sections, on general topics, francophone spaces, concepts and ideologies, and persons. The first section contains subclasses for general reference sources. The section on francophone spaces focuses on common aspects of culture, language and literature, society, and politics, with each aspect subdivided geographically. The number of citations for these categories varies widely depending on the region or country. Thirty-one thematic divisions in the section on concepts and ideologies contain citations for works about common concepts such as alterity and identity; colonialism, neocolonialism, and postcolonialism; gender and feminism; migration; and urban culture and society. The final section in the analytic part of the bibliography offers subsections for authors, political figures, and other individuals who have works devoted to their ideas and lives. While most of these entries have only one or two citations, those for certain figures, such as Aimé Césaire and Anne Hébert, are more substantial. Emerging authors and those from Quebec, North Africa, and French-speaking Europe (such as Nancy Huston, Gaston Miron, and Mohammed Dib) are cited less than canonical figures from the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The third part of the work contains the full citations for each work included in the bibliography, listed by author. For journal articles and pieces in collected volumes, the journal or volume title and page numbers are included. Multiple authors are included, but each work is only indexed under the primary author. Frustratingly, there is no use of italics, bold font, or underlining to distinguish book titles or other components of the citations.
The book ends with the table of contents. Because of the complexity of the analytic bibliography, with classes, sections, subsections, and an unclear progression between places, regions, and themes and concepts, the table of contents is very detailed. Each component of the analytic part appears in the list. Without this table, it would be very difficult to navigate the work. As it is, users find a very dense listing of numbered sections; locating materials about a single country or concept requires careful scanning down many lines of undifferentiated text.
Overall, this reference work is a valuable but not very user-friendly research tool for scholars working on Francophonie and on general francophone topics. For most research, more precisely defined reference works would be a better choice. Its vast international scope is fitting for its subject, and the introduction offers a thoughtful overview of the field and its history. The focus on themes and concepts such as identity, migration, and globalization emphasizes the field’s truly interdisciplinary nature and relevance to more general political, social, and cultural issues. This focus on the sociocultural and political aspects of francophone studies differentiates it from an earlier bibliographical work with a similar scope, Mondes francophones: auteurs et livres de langue française depuis 1990 [French-Speaking Worlds: French-Language Authors and Books since 1990], edited by Dominique Wolton (Paris, 2006; see RREA 12:118). The geographical reach of La Francophonie is also to be commended, as this bibliography points to serious work done about smaller regions and states that are often overlooked in scholarly research. Focusing as it does on scholarly output and criticism, it is less useful as a resource on primary literary and political texts.
Le Robert des grands écrivains de langue française [The Robert Dictionary of Major Writers of the French Language]. Ed. Philippe Hamon and Denis Roger-Vasselin. Paris: Dictionnaires Le Robert, 2011. xviii, 1521 p. 21 cm. ISBN 9782849029879: EUR 25
An RREA Original Review by Michelle Emanuel (University of Mississippi)
This collection presents “un panorama inédit des monuments de la littérature française et francophone” [a unique panorama of the monuments of French and francophone literary heritage] from the medieval period through the 20th century, in 150 author profiles. These giants of the French canon include female writers (e.g., Christine de Pizan, Louise Labé, Marguerite de Navarre, Madame de Lafayette, George Sand, and Colette) in addition to the expected male writers from each century (such as Chrétien de Troyes, Rabelais, Molière, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Jean-Paul Sartre). A handful of francophone writers from Canada and Africa are also featured. Each entry includes an extensive biography, a section of literary theory about the author’s most significant works, citations from these works, quotations from other writers about the author profiled, and a bibliography, including nonbook sources. Of the 20th-century entries, few are from the second half of the century, and even fewer are writing in the 21st. Many of the classic writers profiled in the volume are becoming increasingly obscure as French studies curricula dominate the current academic market. Le Robert des grands écrivains de langue française, though well crafted, may not find much use at institutions without doctoral programs in French literature.
Tschechische Literatur 1945-2000: Tendenzen, Autoren, Materialien; ein Handbuch [Czech Literature 1945-2000: Trends, Authors, Materials: A Handbook]. Jirí Holý. Transated by Hanna Vintr and Gertraude Zand. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011. 237 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-447-06575-7: EUR 48 [12-1]
Like other postwar Eastern European literatures, Czech literature of the second half of the 20th century can be divided into three strands— official, unofficial and exile—all widely varying with respect to the subject matter, genres, forms, and target audiences. This divide persisted until the fall of communism, when these strands were brought together again, resulting in the creation of a unified national literature. The present handbook, written by a professor of Czech literature at Charles University in Prague, provides a systematic overview of these processes.
The book is divided into sections on trends, authors, and materials. The first section is a brief overview of postwar Czech literature in six chapters: (1) The Post-War Years (1945-1948), (2) The Stalinist Years (1948-1956), (3) The Thaw (1956-1963), (4) The “Golden Sixties” (1963-1969), (5) The Normalization Period (1969-1989) and (6) The Post-Perestroika Era (1989-2000). The fact that the material is organized by political situation rather than by genre underscores the profound impact politics has had on literary trends. The second part contains short biographies of 37 post-war Czech authors in alphabetical order. Some of them are well-known in the West, especially the signatories of The Charter 77, such as Václav Havel, Milan Kundera, and Ivan Klima. Younger and less prominent writers are also well represented. The third section, “Materials,” contains a chronological overview of the anthologies of Czech literature available in German which is especially useful for its listing of several rare editions. The book concludes with a number of bibliographies on translations and German-language studies of Czech literature. [ks/as]
Russische Literatur im Internet: zwischen digitaler Folklore und politischer Propaganda [Russian Literature in the Internet: Between Digital Folklore and Political Propaganda]. Henrike Schmidt. Bielefeld: Transcript-Verlag, 2011. 734 p. ill. 23 cm. (Lettre). ISBN 978-3-8376-1738-2: EUR 43.80 [12-4]
The Russian internet, or runet, presents numerous challenges to classification. Largely independent from the state media, it has evolved to become an outlet for dissent and a platform for literary creativity. The countless texts found on runet run the gamut from the erudite to the amateur, from the political to the obscene. To give an idea of its size, at the last count in November 2012, the poetry portal stihi.ru alone contained 18 million poems posted by approximately 460,000 authors.
The present work, based in part on the author’s habilitation dissertation (Kleine Gattungen, große Graphomanen [Small Genres, Large Graphomanias], Berlin, 2009), is a stimulating discussion of this huge, unruly realm. The subject matter itself resists systematic treatment, at least for now. Instead, the material is loosely organized into chapters with thought-provoking titles like “Avantgarde, Postmodernism, Folklore? Discourses and Theories” and “From Hypertext to Weblog. Aesthetic Positionings and Poetic genres.”
The book is particularly valuable for its listings of a huge number of web sites, portals, online forums, blogs and other forms of media devoted to cyberfiction. Documenting this highly fluid environment for future study is of paramount importance at this time, while future generations of scholars can take up the task of separating the wheat from the chaff. The book also contains a useful bibliography of primary and secondary sources for literary works. [ks/as]
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