Ramage

Archive for August 2007

Classic blogging, an update

My copy of Life Is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, which I’ve signed up to review for Blog a Penguin Classic, arrived yesterday.

It’s a play that begins with somebody falling off a horse. I like it already…

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Written by Dave Lovely

August 29, 2007 at 11:34 am

Posted in publishing

Character, an update

The UK edition may be OP, but it looks as though Bordewijk’s book is still in print in the US:

Written by Dave Lovely

August 29, 2007 at 11:23 am

Posted in publishing

Tagged with

Character building

From signandsight, again, Cees Nooteboom on a classic of Dutch literature:

Karakter

I know of no other book whose characters keep each other in such a stranglehold of withheld information, until it seems as if the story itself is being played out in a cocoon of silence…

The book is Karakter, by Ferdinand Bordewijk (1938), a merciless study of a father-son relationship played out amid the mean, and now vanished, streets of pre-war Rotterdam. The cover shown above is from the current Dutch edition, the 40th. Whether it “misses the quintessence of the book”, as Nooteboom feels, or not, I can’t say, but it made me read his article, and it would certainly make me pick the book up in a bookshop. Peter Owen published a translation in 1966, now unfortunately out-of-print , which I’d like to get hold of.

More about Karakter at the excellent site of the NLPVF [The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature].

Written by Dave Lovely

August 28, 2007 at 9:01 am

Spring in Germany

Books this season a season or two ago: Fiction – signandsight

German storytellers made a strong showing this spring, right across the age spectrum. And foreign books in translation tell of violence in holiday camps in Sweden, refugee smugglers in Piedmont and down-and-out writers in the streets of Sofia.

Coming late to this, but what with “Rabelaisian word cascades” Werner Bräunig’s Rummelplatz (“Fairground”) – a novel set in a bismuth mine in the DDR, completed in 1965 – Antje Ravic Strubel’s trans-gender romance and coming-out novel peopled by fairies and the dead (Kältere Schichten der Luft – “Colder Layers of Air”) and the fourth of Peter Kurzeck’s seven attempts at “putting the whole world into poetry” (Oktober und wer wir selbst sind – “October and who we ourselves are”) – to name but three, German fiction seems to be in a healthy, and very intriguing state. English translations, please!

This feature from the very, very informative signandsight also refers to novels by Roberto Bolaño, Per Pettersen, Davide Longo (an Italian novelist compared to Cesare Pavese), the Bulgarian Vladimir Zarev, and Massimo Carlotto (the latter, incidentally, a member of terrorist group Lotta Continua), among others – all recently published in Germany.

    Notes:

  • Yordan Kosturkov’s Letter from Bulgaria, in Dalkey Archive’s CONTEXT magazine, is a good introduction to Bulgarian literary culture, and mentions Zarev.
  • “A success in Italy, selling 10,000 copies with the small independent publisher Marcos y Marcos, Davide Longo is considered one of Italy’s most talented young writers.” – [Kylee Doust Rights Agency blog.]

Written by Dave Lovely

August 28, 2007 at 8:01 am

Small…

…but perfectly-formed – the lumen art pool on Flickr:

flora - lumen art print

image by SEngstrom

Written by Dave Lovely

August 27, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Posted in art, flickr, Photography

Small…

…but perfectly-formed –The lumen art Pool on Flickr:

flora - lumen art print

image by SEngstrom

Written by Dave Lovely

August 27, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Despatches

Written by Dave Lovely

August 26, 2007 at 9:03 pm