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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 […]


For all those who want to explore one of 20th century’s argueably greatest novels: I do recommend to stick to this excellent Audiobook version from an Irish Radio 1982 production. All the different characters incl. the inner monologue are spoken by different actors and it makes the whole affair far more digestible. It is well […]

Sylvia Beach 1962

One of the most important figures in Paris literary life was Sylvia Beach ( 1887-1962 ), owner of the legendary Shakespeare & Company bookstore, which became a focal point for many writers, artists and intellectuals. She published the first edition of James Joyce “Ulysses”, one of the most influential books in 20th century literature. Here […]

Music in the Castle of Heaven

This monumental Bach biography by John Eliot Gardiner is a must read for all interested in Bach’s music, particularly when it comes to the more vocally inspired works such as the cantatas, which Gardiner performed all 200 in 2000 during the so called “Bach pilgrimage”. Surprising for me was the in depth historical research Gardiner […]

Nobel Prize

Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for literature for “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Here is an example of his art, “It’s alright, Ma ( I’m only bleeding ), one of his arguably greatest songs. And the 2016 Nobel Lecture. Food for thought.