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'Tis 125 years since

 

Dear readers of my blog,

while it is no surprise to see that “Get Brexit done – vote true Blue” has prevailed in the General Election yesterday, it does hurt though that the same party that eventually took the UK to Europe took the risk to dismantle the whole country to take it out again forty-six years later. Of course, I did not realise in the summer of 1974 what historic period I had first entered England and Wales but I distinctly recall the sugar and toilet-paper crisis that made people queue up outside the local shops in Aberdovey to get hold of what they needed for the usual provisions from the former colonies did not seem to have been supplanted in sufficient quantities by European or home-based providers. What with hindsight made for many a good laugh may become the order of the day very soon, and everybody will have to bear the brunt for this. This is perhaps the only saving grace for those who did not hesitate to risk the future of the country's youth, for, unfortunately, in a country where “the rest is history” is a common phrase to relegate all uncomfortable truths to the archives only looked at by bookish fellows, people may all too easily forget who got them in the scrapes that can still not been fathomed at the moment.

I do a have personal reason to write like this, as you can imagine, for today was a very special day for me, given that it is the 125th anniversary of my paternal grandfather. He was born when Oscar Wilde was thirty and a father of two sons. Like my maternal grandfather, three days his elder, Wilhelm Rademacher fought in the First World War, and like him, he was the exact coeval of Aldous Huxley in whose centenary year, which was also theirs, thought no-one in the two families ever spoke about that fact then, I took a most passionate part in the organising of the Centenary Symposium dedicated to the life and works of Huxley held at Münster University. It is only now that I realise to the full why I was so passionate, risking very much, not least an academic career, to make it succeed. It was something I did by proxy – though unwittingly so. Only when in the process of clearing the family home and the literary papers of my father did I grasp what kind of activity I had been involved in since I chose to study modern languages and literature and to stick to writing and translating while teaching at a school some time later. So I was driven to write a poem about my paternal grandfather, my father and myself as grandson. Here it is:

Father Son & Grandson

 

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Wildes Hauptwerk

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Über mich

Jörg W. Rademacher (*1962), born and bred in Westphalia. Attended university at Münster, Dundee and Lille. State exam in 1988. Ph.D. In 1993. Scholar, language teacher as well as writer and translator at Münster until 2002. Since 2002 secondary school teacher, writer and translator in East Frisia. Working on Wilde since 1988. Publishing on Wilde since 2000 as biographer and editor and translator, on a regular basis with Elsinor Verlag since 2012, since 2015 also editor and translator of Oscar Wilde calendars.

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