Dada to Daesh: 100 Years Ago Today…

… on February 2nd 1916 in Zurich, Switzerland, the following announcement, written by Hugo Ball appeared in the local press: “The Cabaret Voltaire. Under this name a group of young artists and writers has formed with the object of becoming a center for artistic entertainment. In principle, the Cabaret will be run by artists, permanent guests, who, following their daily reunions, will give musical or literary performances. Young Zurich … Read more Dada to Daesh: 100 Years Ago Today…

Tariq Ali on Greece

Diary Tariq Ali LRB July 2015 In the early hours of 16 July, the Greek parliament voted overwhelmingly to give up its sovereignty and become a semi-colonial appendage of the EU. A majority of the Syriza Central Committee had already come out against the capitulation. There had been a partial general strike. Tsipras had threatened to resign if fifty of his MPs voted against him. In the event six … Read more Tariq Ali on Greece

“Ulysses already wanted to go to Europe:”

Raoul Schrott on the Mediterranean An excellent poet, translator (of the Odyssey & the Iliad, among others), essayist, travel writer, born in Germany and living today in Austria, Raoul Schrott, whom I have been reading for some 20 years now, is virtually unknown, because untranslated, in this country — which is a crying shame! In the context of a series of articles concerning the politics & cultures of the Mediterranean basin … Read more “Ulysses already wanted to go to Europe:”

PEN Gala: Political Correctness Gone Viral

That a half-dozen writers would counter the PEN proposal to correctly honor Charlie Hebdo with the Toni & James Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award & absent themselves from the Gala is explainable. As indeed Salman Rusdhie did explain their actions, despite the use of one inaccurate word. That nearly two hundred more (PEN-members? writers? fellow-travelers of what?) would jump on the bandwagon of this “boycott” via the net is … Read more PEN Gala: Political Correctness Gone Viral

Alfred Andersch @ 100

The German novelist Alfred Andersch would be 100 today. The son of a conservative East Prussian army officer, he was born in Munich, Germany and died in Berzona, Ticino, Switzerland. His school master was Joseph Gebhard Himmler, the father of Heinrich Himmler. He wrote about this in The Father of a Murderer. In 1930, after an apprenticeship as a bookseller, Andersch became a youth leader in the Communist Party. As a consequence, he was held for 6 months … Read more Alfred Andersch @ 100

75 Years Ago Osip Mandelstam died

Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam — О́сип Эми́льевич Мандельшта́м — was born January 15  1891 & died 75 years ago today on December 27, 1938 in Siberia at a transit camp to the Gulag where Stalin had sent him for writing poems that insulted the dictator. Probably the greatest Russian lyric poet & essayist of the first part of the 20C. I am still awaiting a really great translation into English of the poetry. Many … Read more 75 Years Ago Osip Mandelstam died

Jacob Grimm — Tales &/of Words

The great German philologist Jacob Grimm died 150 years ago today. If you like dictionaries, you should check out what is still he greatest German language Wörterbuch — now online & available for free, here. My work on translating Paul Celan was made immeasurably easier by that dictionary, especially as it was Celan’s own favorite source for uncontaminated German & for etymologies & local dialectical variations. Jacob Grimm  described … Read more Jacob Grimm — Tales &/of Words

From Sète to the Béarn

After a week at the Poetry Festival in Sète (videos to come in a few days) where Nicole read/performed at least once a day but where the internet connection, if I may call it that, didn’t allow me to publish anything to this blog, we drove today to a village in the Béarn near Pau for a week-long residency on Occitan poetry. Leaving Sète we stopped at the “Cimetière … Read more From Sète to the Béarn

European Enlightenment Possibilities?

Today the FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) brings a conversation between Dietmar Dath, Slavoj Žižek and Daniel Cohn-Bendit. The conversation is entitled “We Europeans have the resource of Enlightenment. [Wir Europäer haben die Ressource der Aufklärung”.] I enjoy the possibility of three intellectuals from different fields (Dath is a novelist, essayist & art editor at the FAZ; Žižek the LLBean — i.e. the Leninist-Lacanian-Mr.Bean — of Europe & beyond; & Cohn-Bendit the iconic … Read more European Enlightenment Possibilities?

Latest signandsight roundups

I haven’t had the time to catch up with signandsight in recent weeks — but here the site’s most recent posts:   Legacy of denial Germany has been rocked by the disclosures surrounding the series of neo-Nazi murders of Turkish citizens. In the wake of these events, Former GDR dissident Freya Klier calls for an honest look at the xenophobia cultivated by the policies of the former East Germany, where the core of … Read more Latest signandsight roundups