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The Blind Barber

From the greatest of all “Locked Room” writers and my personal favourite Golden Age crime writer John Dickson Carr the BBC has produced this wonderful radio play, based on “The Blind Barber”. This novel was first published in October 1934, featuring his series detective, the venerable Dr Gideon Fell. It is an old-fashioned and relaxing […]

Eugenio Montale

I was never an avid reader of poems apart from Eichendorff and his evocative romantic images and Hoelderlin, whose lyrical output might well be the pinnacle of German poetry in its transcendental and philosophical implications. Now I was stunned by the discovery of Italian poet Eugenio Mortale. Here is a good resume ( Wikipedia ) […]


Still traveling, but I managed to get my paws on another volume of Alice Schmidt’s diaries, this time its the start of her notations from 1948/49 onwards. Of course this is primarily of interest to Arno Schmidt enthusiasts, but these chronicles contain many highly interesting observations in regard to postwar Germany, the poverty and struggle […]


I have been an ardent reader and admirer of Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter for most of my life. Thomas Mann summarised Stifter’s qualities in one remark: “Behind the quiet, inward exactitude of his descriptions of Nature in particular there is at work a predilection for the excessive, the elemental and the catastrophic, the pathological.” And […]

Art, Fiction, & History

Fascinating discussion about W G Sebald, one of my favourite German authors in the 20th century, whom I had the privilege to exchange some letters with shortly before his untimely death. Sebald considered himself a sort of ‘exiled’ writer, but more in the context of “The Emigrants”, the title of one of his books, as […]

Speedy Death

A fabulous find on You Tube ! One of the greatest, though not really that widely known Golden Age crime writers was Gladys Mitchell. Due to my rather unhealthy obsession with classic crime novels ( they make up more than half of my library, many in precious first editions with their striking dustjackets ) I […]

56.49 min. et al

Only for German speaking readers ( my apologies ) and only for the few who are interested in Arno Schmidt ( that means virtually nobody ): starting from 56.49 min. is an excellent new documentary about Arno Schmidt, part of a series about the “Lueneburger Heide” by R. Altmüller. Arno Schmidt, who was estranged from […]

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The author of the poem for Vaughan William’s song “Silent Noon” was Dante Gabriel Rosetti ( 1828-1882 ). A very creative artist Rossetti divided his attention between painting and poetry. In 1848 he founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with six other young men, mostly painters, who shared an interest in contemporary poetry and an opposition to […]