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Addendum in English only: Oscar Wilde and Graham Swift: illusionists of literature

Dear readers of my blog,

certainly it is not a very convincing move to announce a few days ago I would not write on Graham Swift again for some time to come and to do so within less than a week. It might have been otherwise in a study with piles of work undone and lots of papers lost for the time being in files difficult to find because of being in no order whatsoever.

At the moment, though, owing to a refurbishment of my study that I had been thinking of for some time and which was realized, delivered and mounted by a local company of joiners according to my plans last week, I for once see through many angles of my work that normally seem to be hidden away. As a result, I also looked through newspaper articles kept during the period when the schools were completely closed, and there was one article I came across just after having uploaded the last blog post which dealt with Mothering Sunday as well as with Here We Are by Graham Swift.

While rereading this good article I recalled my first perusal and a silent wish on my part not to allow myself to fall under the spell of the reviewer's drift. In fact, this did not happen, though I still agree with most of his observations on both novels. Lothar Müller from the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, based in Munich, insists on Swift's view of all people being “secret agents”, both in the literal sense of following Joseph Conrad's novel of that title, which is an influence on Jane Fairchild, the narrator in Mothering Sunday, and in the figurative sense of living with their secrets all their lives.


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Literarischer Blog - Literary Blog Graham Swift (3)


Dear readers of my blog,

this third blog on Graham Swift is the last for some time. I need to re-read the other two novels in my possession or watch one or the other film to add more to my tally. Apart from this teaser, the entries are only roughly alike. I do apologize for this but since I like writing in English as much as I like to put things into words in German but for different reasons I refuse always to try to eliminate through translation processes what can only best be said in either one or the other language. So, if you want to have the best of both worlds, do as I do, try to read both German and English.


Liebe Leser meines Blogs,

dieser dritte Blog zu Graham Swift ist der vorerst letzte. Ich muß nämlich die beiden anderen Romane in meinem Besitz wieder lesen oder die ein oder andere Verfilmung schauen, um noch weitere schreiben zu können. Von diesem Appetithappen abgesehen, sind die Blogeinträge nur im Großen Ganzen einander ähnlich. Dafür bitte ich um Verzeihung, doch da ich so gern auf Englisch schreibe, wie ich auf Deutsch formuliere – aus jeweils unterschiedlichen Gründen –, lehne ich es ab, stets durch Übersetzungsvorgänge auszuschalten, was nur in entweder in der einen oder der anderen Sprache am besten zu sagen wäre. Wer also die beste beider Welten wünscht, möge bitte auf deutsch und englisch lesen.



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Literarischer Blog - Literary Blog Graham Swift (2)

Liebe Leser des literarischen Blogs,

Zeiten ohne Drang, dem fußballerischen Weltgeschehen nicht nur durch Verfolgen der Nachrichten, sondern auch durch Mitfiebern am Bildschirm auf der Spur zu bleiben wie in diesem Juni, wenn die lange geplante Europameisterschaft zum 60. Jahrestag der ersten im Jahr 1960 zunächst einmal entfällt, sind auch Momente, da die Literatur ihren Rang als Freizeitbeschäftigung wieder gewinnt. Denn Lesen ist überall möglich, selbst hinter der Maske im IC oder RE, ob zu Hause oder vor dem Bahnhof in der Morgensonne am Waterlootag, am kleinen Bildschirm oder mit dem Buch, das riecht und anzufaßbar ist, in der Hand. Lesen geschieht ja vielfältig, mit und ohne Bleistift, als Zeitvertreib oder als Möglichkeit, andere Welten zu entdecken als diejenige, in der man sich gerade aufhält.


Dear readers of this literary blog,

you may not miss watching international football now with Liverpool FC winning their first league title since 1990 when the likes of Ian Rush were still around to win silverware for them. With Jürgen Klopp the first-ever German manager to clinch that title, even fans of Schalke 04, the arch-enemy of Klopp's former Borussia Dortmund – that in 1966 beat Liverpool FC in a memorable Cup winner's Cup Final in Glasgow with the winning goal so surprising for the cameraman that you also see the goal being retrieved from the back of the net – now wish him well. At this time, we would have been watching the Euro 2020 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of that competition this year. Actually, reading has come to the fore for many, I reckon, who can do this everywhere even now, either at home in your armchair or behind a mask or “face-covering” when seated in an IC or regional train or when basking in the morning sun on Waterloo Day, which, of course, does not trigger the same associations everywhere. You may do reading in many ways, with or without a pencil, as a simple pastime or as a means to discover worlds other those where you find yourself at the moment.



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Literarischer Blog - Literary Blog Graham Swift (1)

Liebe Leser des literarischen Blogs,

erneut auf Deutsch und Englisch wende ich mich an Sie und Euch mit einer Besprechung. Graham Swift ist bei weitem unter den englischen Autoren der Gegenwart mein Lieblingsschriftsteller. Die meisten mag ich nach einem Roman nicht wieder erlesen. Bei Swift war es rasch gegangen, der Wunsch, ihn immer wieder zu lesen und wurde in fast drei Jahrzehnten nie enttäuscht. Es wird drei Blog-Posts geben zu ihm. Hier der erste:


Dear readers of my blog,

Mothering Sunday is the first short novel by Graham Swift I read. And it is not going to be the last for his style is of such crispness that you feel it even in the German translation by Susanne Höbel who I once met over a period of three or four days in early May 1996 at Villa Waldberta at Feldafing near Munich where we both took part in a seminar on translation criticism.



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Blog Artikel deutsch (4): Benjamin Cors; Reviews summed up

Liebe Leserin, lieber Leser dieses auch literarischen Blog-Posts,

erstmals erscheinen heute alle vier Rezensionen der bis 2018 publizierten ersten Bände der Normandie-Thriller von Benjamin Cors zusammen. So hatte ich sie im Frühherbst 2018 geschrieben und allesamt zum Abdruck in einer Regionalzeitung geschickt. Nur die ersten beiden Besprechungen sind auch erschienen, und zwar in anderer Form als hier. Die Normandie habe ich bislang nur zweimal besucht, 1985 und 2005, als ich unvergeßliche zwei Wochen als begleitende Lehrkraft eines Schüleraustausches erlebte. Insofern ist gerade jetzt, da das Reisen besonders ins Ausland, besonders mit Gruppen unter große Vorbehalte gestellt ist, solch eine Romanserie von großer, gerade auch emotionaler Bedeutung. Viel Vergnügen bei der Lektüre. Das gewählte Format entspricht dem für potentielle Rezensionen in der Presse.


Dear readers of my blog,

while the following summaries of the German thrillers written by Benjamin Cors have already been posted, the German originals were written with a view of being published in a regional paper. Two did not appear as I wrote them, and, indeed, I am sure I have only the right to re-publish them as I first wrote. The last two have not yet appeared in German, and since I told the publishers that I wanted to write about the whole series it is only now that I can be as good as my word. And, to be honest, I am longing to read the fifth volume in that series that has just appeared in German. The format is as if these short reviews were to appear in the printed press.

Jörg W. Rademacher, 17th June 2020



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On the return to tuition in class


Turning from online to classroom teaching

Dear readers of my blog,

direct contacts still being limited to occasional conversations over the phone, particularly if to meet traveling across borders would be involved, it is only rarely that I actually speak to one or the other of you. I did, though, last week, and several people – as had happened in my immediate environs before the shutdown – encouraged me to devise the next blog.

It may sound strange to you that someone who likes to discuss things literary and political as much as I do should find it difficult to come up with more than two blogs in the past nine weeks of limited movement in Germany. Actually, I had thought I might provide a regular up-date on what is going on here in the light of Oscar Wilde with a special focus on his annus terribilis in the spring of 1895. It is quite simple: the times we are going through at the moment have made me think of many more things than just those events my online calendar for 2020 seemed to record for another year of commemorations of different sorts.


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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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