Sunday 16 October 2011

Deutsche Lit !November 2011!

So, given that some people (@Lizzy and @Caroline) have decided it to be German book month in November, and I am a massive German book fan, and November is my birthday month, I feel this is all coming together to encourage me to blog about some of my favourites! Although it obviously isn't yet November....

Perhaps I have to declare, I studied German literature. I know, it's a problem. Free license to buy all those beautiful books with at least the theory that it was helping my degree... Anyways, now that I live and work in the North East of England, instead of living in Germany or studying Germany, there is slightly less time for this obsession. Nevertheless, until recently, when I started my new job and moved closer to work, I used to have about 2-3 hours a day on public transport, which was often used to continue this habit.

Down to business. I find it difficult to name absolute favourites, given as I am to mentally being prepared for someone at uni to argue the opposite point of view. I must confess though that I haven't necessarily read everything in German. A crime I realise. In particular, no. 1, which admittedly was a Christmas present from my parents in the gorgeous new translation. And if I'm honest I don't think I would have made it through the German. It might have been abandoned, or rather put aside for later, like currently my copy of Dr Faustus by Mann.

  1. Der Zauberberg, T. Mann. Just excellent. There is little else to say.
  2. Effi Briest, Fontane. I only read this a few months ago, after having heard others rave about it for quite some time. My copy was actually free from the Faculty library last year before I left... which means that the annotations were incredible...
  3. Die Blechtrommel, Grass. I love Grass. I know he's arrogant and self-conscious, and not completely free of moral ambiguity, but this one is epic. I have more by him on my bookshelf at my parents that I have actually read, than probably anyone else (apart from, like, Roald Dahl).
  4. Plays by Lenz: i.e. Die Soldaten, Der Hofmeister, Der neue Menoza :-) I know, I studied them, I even wrote about them, but they are brilliant. Everyone says of Kafka how forward looking he was, and he's read widely in translation because of this, but this should be true for more writers/dramatists etc etc etc. Ok rant over.
  5. And whilst we're on dramatists: Schiller. In particular, Maria Stuart, Don Karlos and the Wallenstein trilogy.
  6. Der fremde Freund, Christoph Hein. I came to this, again, rather late. It's one of those ones Germans study in school. I swallowed it in I think 1 or 2 sittings.

I need some time to think. I shall return to this later in the week once I've considered the rest of my bookshelf (as I mentioned, unfortunately it is many miles away at my parents house).


  1. Welcome to German Literature Month - glad to have another Germanistik student on board. Though it sounds like you left uni very recently. I'm working off memories from 30+ years ago and I've certainly given up trying to read the originals. Anyway you won a copy of City-Lit Berlin in my latest giveaway. Please email details to lizzysiddal at yahoo dot com and I'll do the honours.

  2. some great books here and what's wrong with a bit of arrogance in a brilliant writer.