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Toni Morrison, Race, review

Dear readers of my blog,

little did I imagine when first thinking of presenting this book of excerpts to you that this post would become a belated obituary of a writer I only really started to appreciate during our summer holiday.

Toni Morrison, born in Ohio on 18th February 1931, died in New York City on 5th August 2019. In a way I try to pay homage today to a brave woman whose writings when I finally turned to them convinced me at once of a quality I am now sorry not to have tasted of before 15th and 16th July last when I read Race, a short book of essays and extracts from novels I had never even heard talk about.


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Julian Barnes: The only story, review

Dear readers of my blog,

when on holiday for most of last month I had leisure to read and write on books I had received as gift, some of which I am going to keep, while there are others that do not fit into any of my collections. All the same, I want to place on record my view of them, perhaps recommend them to you as worth your while.

Julian Barnes is an English writer many people have continued to praise to me. A friend of mine has also written several essays on him which I was privy to peruse before publication, so he was a familiar name when his novel The only story arrived in a birthday parcel.

Here are the publication details:

Julian Barnes, The only story, London: Vintage, 2019 (2018). 216 pp.

ISBN 987-1-52911-066-1

Youll find out about the price yourself. Allow me to recommend your local bookseller!


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Oscar Wilde and Company: German, Jewish, Irish, and Romance Studies

Dear readers of my blog,

having returned from the class trip to Berlin – where it was as hot as it had been in the same calendar week in 2012 and where I was strictly offline concentrating on people and places around me – it took me five working-days to live up to the demands a commuters professional and family life imposes in both analogical and digital terms.


I now hope to resume a more or less regular blog on “Oscar Wilde and Company” which catch-title, following several trains of thought both on Baltrum beach in the summer and in Berlin streets last week, as well as on the phone to some friends of long standing, should be read in context with a sub-title: “German, Jewish, Irish, and Romance Studies”. While there are several posts in waiting, today I want to turn your attention to a query that reached me from a friend based at Heidelberg, a Kleist and Kafka scholar and editor as well as an Anglophile, who needs help with a quotation taking from George Bernard Shaw and cited in one of Kafkas notebooks (“Quarthefte”).


The situation is a bit complicated. Having discovered that the quote – you find the German translation and the original below – stems from the “Preface” to the first American publication of “The irrational knot” (1905), my friend is puzzled by the fact that this text is missing from the first German edition “Die törichte Heirat”, translated by Wilhelm Cremer (Berlin 1909), someone who also translated Oscar Wilde into German at the time.


Since Franz Kafka did not have any English, his question simply is where did he find the text of the “Preface”? He and I would be extremely grateful if someone came up with a solution.


German translation:

FK zitiert im November 1911 GB Shaw:
„Aber trotzdem ich ein starker junger Mensch war und meine Familie sich in üblen Umständen befand, warf ich mich nicht in den Kampf des Lebens; ich warf meine Mutter hinein und liess mich von ihr erhalten. Ich war meinem alten Vater keine Stütze, im Gegenteil, ich hieng mich an seine Rockschösse.“

English original text:
„I was an ablebodied and ableminded young man in the strength of my youth; and my family, then heavily embarrassed, needed my help urgently. That I should have chosen to be a burden to them instead was, according to all the conventions of peasant lad fiction, monstrous. Well, without a blush I embraced the monstrosity. I did not throw myself into the struggle for life: I threw my mother into it. I was not a staff to my father's old age: I hung on to his coat tails.”


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Who Is He When He is On Paper? Source of Wilde passion


Dear readers of my blog,

coming back to you now after having listened several times to the plug-in myself , I hope you do enjoy some of the infelicities of pronunciation inevitable as much as I do. For me, this experience – which is easily explained in terms of the automatic oral reproduction of the blog – called to mind many occasions when my second name was mispronounced in the English-speaking world. After some moments of irritation when I was young I started collecting them as precious moments of linguistic slips the speakers themselves were unaware of and which continued to amuse me as they accumulated over the years. One day I had enough of this perhaps because then I had finally started moving in circles where such things do not occur, so I decided to put pen to paper and wrote what after long gestation has now become a prose text. I am grateful to a Berlin novelist, now in retirement from the public, for suggesting to me to look back sine ira et studio, without anger and with care, that is, at about fifty such texts written over the last two decades and to make up my mind about which one could stand as a poem, while turning the others into prose pieces, which I also did for the following one.

My passion for Oscar Wilde also figures in it.


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August Relaunch

Dear readers of my blog,

summer has fulfilled expectations of heat waves as well as of life slowing down a bit when there is no PC asking you to communicate on the World Wide Web. Indeed, I enjoyed being offline on the East Frisian island of Baltrum very much. In terms of reading matter it was only books and newspapers.

At the same time, thinking through things as well as projects already begun is much easier when horses' hooves and children's shouts and screeches as well as tantrums are the only outside noises apart from those made by the once to threetimes daily ferry or the birds once the tide is in. While I had intended to have an audio/a video section added to this website, which is soon going online for the first time, it was through an e-mail from one of the readers of this blog that I decided to have a plug-in installed as well. So, as of today, you can both read this blog and listen to it when on a train, for example.

I checked some samples today, eliminating, for example, the asterisks from the prose text "Anglo-German Portraits" contained in the Thirtheenth Summer Blog Post. If there are any other infelicities which show up because of the text now being listened to rather than being read by yourself, please do not hesitate to point them out to me.

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Summer Blog Post Seventeen


Summer Blog Post Seventeen

Dear readers of my blog,

this being the last instalment of my World Cup Diary for 2014, I don't want to delay your reading of the final chapter by any current remarks other than that referring to the elimination of the German Women's Football Team from this year's World Cup in France at the hands of a strong Swedish side. The latter broke the deadlock after a series of defeats lasting more than twenty years. So it was their turn today, and from what I watched and read they well deserved it. The semifinals have now four physically strong sides facing each other: England vs. USA; Sweden vs. the Netherlands. Perhaps the US can be prevented from winning yet again or even reaching the final.

Leer, 29th June 2019


With just over two minutes’ delay we succeeded in leaving the apartment to find us half an hour later at the latter end of a not interminable queue of basically young and youngish people waiting for the “petit guichet” to open at 7.30 p.m. Only when we did arrive at the end of the queue and I discerned the figure of 95 seats with limited visibility was it clear after all that we would enter the Comédie française 1680 on the night. With tickets priced at 5 € per person you cannot complain if you have a wooden seat, half a seat or nothing at all to sit on while you try to bow across the railing to discover what is going on below. We are early, so that we can look leisurely at the gallery of busts of famous French dramatists which includes, of course, Molière and Voltaire.

The former’s last “comédie-ballet”, Le malade imaginaire, is on the play-bill tonight but I must admit that I have never read that play before, nor have I so much as attended the performance of a classical French play at such a prestigious venue. It is what the French call a “spectacle”, spectacular in the sense that everything seems calculated at achieving some effect but I’m not convinced of every single spectacular moment as a part and parcel of an organic whole.


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Wildes Hauptwerk

Alles über
"Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray"

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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