Tag Archives: German

Wolfgang Koeppen, Life in the manor’s shadows

I got to know Bismarck early on, he was on the sewing machine or next to the sewing machine, on which my mother was patching the bed linen for one of those Pomeranian nobleman’s estates, Lossin or Wunkenhagen or Demeritz, and Bismarck was cast in bronze, he was wearing boots that were one hundred percent […]

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What Vergil gave Dante (1931), newly translated Erich Auerbach

Originally Dante belonged to an Italian literary movement that he called the dolce stil nuovo. It was a movement that, with a swiftness of growth unparalleled in literary history, conjured perfection out of a void. The flowering of medieval verse during the first quarter of the second millennium in France, Germany, and Spain had passed […]

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W. G. Sebald, Letters to a translator

Enthusiasts of the great W. G. Sebald have long enjoyed the beguiling uncertainty he invites regarding what in his works is “true” in the literal or documentary sense and what made up, and why. In a little cache of newly discovered letters we observe, second-hand, that this uncertainty presented more vexing problems for the translator. […]

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Three Ways of Looking at Rilke: Cadora, Snow, Brodsky

This week in Little Star Weekly a new translation of Rilke’s New Poems by Joe Cadora, with an introduction by Robert Hass, prompts us to revisit one of its most startling and enduring poems, “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.” We offer Cadora’s translation: That was the fantastical mine of the soul. Like the reticent ore of silver, […]

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“Story,” by Robert Walser

A girl and a young man were very unhappy. He was supposed to abduct her, but hadn’t quite made up his mind. She wanted to be abducted, but already suspected how difficult this might be. I don’t know in what era this transpired; at any rate, a decision was made, the hour struck, it was […]

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Walser’s Trakl

In February we considered the poetry of Georg Trakl on the occasion of several new translations of his work. Now another door opens on this literary moment with Christopher Middleton’s Thirty Poems of Robert Walser, including this tribute to Trakl (first published in Michael Schmidt’s indispensable PN Review). Walser, whose growing recognition in English owes […]

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New Translations of Georg Trakl

Rilke said that for him a Trakl poem is “an object of sublime existence” and Heidegger considered him to have achieved a true poetry of unmediated being. Ludwig von Ficker, publisher of what Karl Kraus called the only honest periodical in Austria, arranged for Wittgenstein to support him with an anonymous stipend. Yet despite his […]

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On Grief, Kathrin Stengel

In my love for the other, I desire death and life at the same time: death because I want to balance out the injustice of his death, and life because now I have a completely different appreciation for it. And even though the urge to live is stronger than the wish to die, life from […]

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Zagajewski on Rilke

Out recently: the paperback edition of Edward Snow’s translations of Rilke, with Adam Zagajewski’s capacious introduction. From which: Maybe it’s more interesting to see Rilke’s work as not as virginal, not as ethereal, as it seems to many readers. After all, like the majority of literary modernists, he is an antimodern; one of the main […]

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First Time in English! A Thomas Bernhard Story

“Two Tutors” will appear in a newly translated collection of Bernhard’s early stories, Prose, from Seagull Press this May (see our elated facebook post of April 28). Two Tutors While the new tutor has until now remained silent during our lunchtime walk, which to me has already become a habit, today from the start he […]

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