I am very happy to be once again participating in German Literature Month. Last year I read and posted on short stories by a number of Romantic Era German writers. In the link below you will find lots of great reading ideas. Caroline and Lizzy's only real rule is the work must be originally written in German.
The hosts are hoping this year to have an even balance of male to female authors as in prior years it had been very male author dominated. They have a schedule (but you are free to post on any German work). Here is the official announcement:
Official Annoucement from The Host of German Literature Month
Caroline and I are delighted to be making this announcement and we hope you’re happy to hear it. The tweets of others as early as January of this year looking forward to German Literature Month convinced us it just had to happen. And so your wishes have come true. This time, however, we are issuing a challenge.
GLM I and II were resounding successes and we want GLM III to follow suit. One thing has concerned us though. Why were the lady writers so grossly under-represented? Only 22% of the authors read in GLM I, reducing to 19% in GLM II, were female. We want to redress that balance. Now we’re not going all Orange prize on you. We don’t want to exclude the great male authors in German(-language) literature. But we are structuring the month so that there are times to focus in on the ladies.
We would, therefore, like the structure of German Literature Month III to look like this.
Week 1: 1-7.11 Ladies Week
Week 2: 8-14.11 Gents Week
Week 3: 15-21.11 Ladies Week
Week 4: 22-28.11 Gents Week
Weekend 29-30.11 Read as you please
Read anything you want: any format, any genre. As long as the works were originally written in German and are reviewed during November, they count for GLM III. The ideal female:male author ratio at the end of the month would be 50:50.
We will also have two readalongs:
7.11 Lizzy will lead a discussion of a title to be determined by public vote. A post will follow shortly with voting options. In the meantime if there’s a title you wish to suggest, written by a female (it will be ladies’ week after all), please leave a comment.
29.11 Caroline will lead a War and Literature discussion of Hans Keilson’s Death of the Adversary.
This year I hope to read in addition to The Tin Drum-
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque -completed
The Death of Virgil by Herman Broch
Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald.
"The Last Judgement" by Franz Kafka -completed
I have a collection of old translations of Romantic Era Germsn short stories and I may read more of them. I will also look to see what is in the forthcoming Best European Fiction 2014 Anthology. I will also look at German language Swiss and Austrian stories I have in anthologies on my IPad from prior years of this series. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the posts the event will generate and expanding my limited knowledge of German literature. I urge my readers to consider participating.
Stefan Zweig is a new to me writer. One of the reasons I participate on reading events is that they motivate me to move beyond my comfort zones. I remember four years ago when I signed up for a reading event, The Japanese Literature Challenge Three. At that time I had never read any Japanese fiction, now I have read hundreds of them. I admit I smile when I see people from Japanese universities reading my posts.
The Guardian has an excellent series of articles on the short stories of various writers. In the very interesting brief piece on Stephen Zweig the refer to him as a writer from a "fallen aristocracy". The articles says that Zweig is not read nearly as much as he once was. They include recommendations for Zweig neophytes. One of the highest recommended stories was, "A Letter From an Unknown Woman". It was made into a movie in 1948 which I hope Turner Classics will show one day.
As "A Letter from an Unknown Woman" opens a well known author has just open a letter from an unknown correspondent, without a name or return address on the twelve page letter. It is a letter from a woman who began an infatuation with him when she was thirteen, now she is in her early thirties. I am not inclined to tell the plot (if you are seeking homework help to avoid having to read it, check the Wikipedia article) as I will remember it for a long time. The story is psychologically acute in its portrayal of the woman's life long infatuation. The portrait of the writer as a pleasure seeking near decadent literary aristocrat is just brilliant. This is very much a story of the reading life. It is about a time when reading was a treasured activity. It is a story of pain, loneliness, isolation and obsession. I felt I was there in the final years of the glory that was Vienna before the Nazis.
I thank Caroline and Lizzy for motivating me to read Zweig. Ali Smith has said he should be included with the great short story writers of the world. I hope to read all of Zweig in Englsh available as Kindle editions (at most 2000 pages)STEFAN ZWEIG