Tag Archives: Books

News from #BulgarianLiteratureMonth

After the first third of Bulgarian Literature Month at the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative – editor/curator is yours truly -, I can say that it is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. The correspondence with and reactions of contributors, readers, and even authors are so far very encouraging.

Here an overview regarding the published blog posts until now:

Bulgarian Literature Month – a short introduction
Promoting Bulgarian Literature in the Anglosphere: Interview with Milena Deleva, Managing Director of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation
The Satire of Alek Popov (by Ellis Shuman)
Georgi Gospodinov’s Natural Novel (by Scott Bailey)
Albena Stambolova’s Everything Happens As It Does (by Jean Ping)
Blagovest Sendov: John Atanasoff – The Electronic Prometheus
“Our bitter beloved borderless Balkans”: Kapka Kassabova’s Border (by Dorian Stuber)
Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation: Anthologies – an overview 
Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (II): the pre-1944 period
Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (III/1): the period 1944-1989 – Konstantin Pavlov
Marina Konstantinova: The White Coast

Several of the blog posts have been re-blogged, shared or re-tweeted, some of our reviewers also spread the word, and this little piece by Scott Bailey made me smile (especially the headline of the article).

I am expecting some extremely interesting contributions in the upcoming days. Check it out and spread the word about #BulgarianLiteratureMonth – thank you!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How official Bulgaria is (not) promoting its literature abroad

The second year in a row, I tried to get a copy of the actual edition of the “Catalogue of Contemporary Bulgarian Prose” – and the second time in a row, I failed.

But I am sure, it is much more efficient for the promotion of Bulgarian literature abroad to display a huge number of copies of this almanach – that was especially produced to serve the interest of those abroad who want to publish/promote Bulgarian authors in foreign languages – in “Peroto”, the book cafe in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, than to hand out one copy to someone who belongs to the target group and makes an effort to get some Bulgarian authors published abroad.

This experience is completely in line with the bleak picture of how official Bulgaria – i.e. the state institution responsible for it – is (not) promoting its literature abroad.

And since I am at it: why was Bulgaria not officially represented in Leipzig, the book fair that is focused on Eastern Europe? Why is the Bulgarian booth in Frankfurt so poor and unprofessional? It is a pity, because these failed efforts are not reflecting what Bulgarian literature has to offer. With the same budget, with an attitude that is a little bit less arrogant, and with a little bit more professionalism it would be easy to achieve something much more effective and sustainable. It’s Bulgarian authors who suffer most from the present situation, and also potentially interested readers abroad.  

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 


Bulgarian Literature Month upcoming at Global Literature in Libraries Initiative

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative will host a Bulgarian Literature Month in June! And while this is for me already a reason to beam with delight, I am even more pleased that I was invited to be the editor of this event! 

In practice this means that in June the blog of the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative website will publish on a daily basis book reviews of Bulgarian fiction, and of books related to Bulgaria, including non-fiction, by a wide range of contributors I hope. I will try to invite participants who can cover a big variety of topics and books for review, including literature from women, LGBT literature, books on history, culture, arts, etc. Additionally, I will try to squeeze in some other posts related to the topic, such as interviews with authors, publishers, translators and other relevant players in that field. So far I have already a lot of ideas and things will become more concrete very soon.

For a number of reviews of books I would like to include, I will contact some of the “usual suspects” I have in mind. But I am of course open, if one of my blogger colleagues wants to join in, or any other reader who thinks she/he can contribute something interesting. Eligible are texts that haven’t been published elsewhere. If you have questions, or if you want to write a contribution in the framework of Bulgarian Literature Month, please send me a message in the comment section of this blog post or at th@mytwostotinki.com.  

Thanks to Rachel Hildebrandt (just nominated for the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize!) and to Karen Van Drie from Global Literature in Libraries Initiative for giving me this opportunity – I feel honored! 

These words from the mission statement of GLLI I wholeheartedly support:

“The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative strives to raise the visibility of world literature for adults and children at the local, national and international levels. We intend to do so by facilitating close and direct collaboration between translators, librarians, publishers, editors, and educators, because we believe that these groups in collaboration are uniquely positioned to help libraries provide support and events to engage readers of all ages in a library framework that explores and celebrates literature from around the world.

We want to increase the visibility of international works in English translation so that more readers can enjoy the amazing diversity in these books and the perspectives they present. And we would like to do this by increasing cooperation between literary translators, international literature advocates, and librarians, who are already experts at guiding readers to new titles. Whether you are a children’s librarian or a YA blogger, a rural library director or a teacher at a large urban school with a diverse student population, we would welcome your insights as we explore collaborative opportunities to encourage readers to explore beyond the boundaries of their own culture and language.”  

I will keep you posted!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 


New Social Poetry from Bulgaria

There are not really a lot of poetry collections or anthologies by Bulgarian authors available in English. Therefore I take the opportunity to let those readers with an interest in poetry, or in Bulgarian literature, know that these days a new anthology with poetry by contemporary authors from Bulgaria has seen the light.  

New Social Poetry: The Anthology, translated by Christopher Buxton, is comprised of texts by a wide range of authors, some of them well-known in Bulgaria since decades, some of them very young and at the beginning of their poetic journey. The following authors participate in the anthology:  Zlatomir Zlatanov, Alexander Nikolov, Ani Ilkov, Atanas Petrov, Vania Valkova, Ventsislav Arnaoudov, Violeta Zlatareva, Vladimir Sabourín, Gancho Petrishki, Dilyana Parvanova, Ileana Stoyanova, Kiril Vassilev, Kristina Krumova, Marco Vidal, Michaela Angelova, Nikolaj Bojkov, Nikolay Fenerski, Plamena Girginova, Rositsa Bakalova, Ruzha Velcheva, Teodora Taneva, Thomas Hübner, Christina Vassileva. The title of the anthology refers to a literary movement that was founded 2016 in Sofia, and to the literary journal of the same name.  

I should mention in this context that the initiator of New Social Poetry, Vladimir Sabourin, recently published a book that deals with the origins of this literary movement: Towards a New Social Poetry: Aesthetico-political Theses (also translated by Christopher Buxton), an interesting and controversial essay, whose core, the Manifesto for New Social Poetry created quite an uproar in literary circles in Bulgaria, mainly because it was considered as a frontal attack against the literary establishment in Bulgaria and a type of literature that the author refers to as “lifestyle literature”. 

Alexander Nikolov, Atanas Petrov, Vania Valkova, Ivan Marinov, Kristina Krumova,  Ventsislav Arnaoudov, Vladimir Sabourín, Nikolay Fenerski, Christina Vassileva (eds.): New Social Poetry: The Anthology, translated by Christopher Buxton, CreateSpace 2018

Vladimir Sabourin: Towards a New Social Poetry: Aesthetico-political Theses,      translated by Christopher Buxton, CreateSpace 2018 

Both books are available at Amazon in printed form, the latter also as e-book. 

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 


Georg Christoph Lichtenberg zur Tellkamp-Debatte

Noch einmal zum Thema Tellkamp:

Der Autor des Turm ist ja beileibe nicht der erste Schriftsteller, der sich im Politischen mit etwas hervorgetan hat, das man einfach nur als unredlich, ärgerlich, dumm, verlogen, infam oder perfide bezeichnen kann. Die Liste ist lang und umfasst auch Autoren vom Format eines Thomas Mann (man denke etwa an seine unsäglichen Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen – immerhin, und das macht ja einen Teil der Grösse von Thomas Mann aus, hat er diesen Irrtum später erkannt und sich zum mutigen Verteidiger der Weimarer Republik gewandelt). Celine ist ein wichtiger Autor, trotz seiner widerlichen Bagatelles pour un massacre. Gleiches gilt für Peter Handke – noch so einer aus der Riege der Schöngeister, die ganz viel Empathie für die Gruppe haben, mit der sie sich identifizieren (in Handkes Fall diejenigen in Belgrad, die die ethnischen Säuberungen im serbischen Namen und deren Opfer zu verantworten haben) und ein kaltes Herz für die, mit denen er sich aus Denkfaulheit oder Charakterschwäche nicht befassen will, auch wenn diese Menschen unverschuldet schrecklich gelitten haben; Peter Handke ist in diesem Sinne so etwas wie ein “Proto-Tellkamp”. Und auch Tellkamp kann und soll man lesen, auch wenn man jetzt – nach der intellektuellen und charakterlichen Selbstdemontage des Autors – seine Werke sicher nicht mehr so unbefangen und naiv lesen kann wie vorher.  

Wie so oft, so hilft es auch hier, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg zu Rate zu ziehen. Er schreibt zum Thema:

“Viele sogenannte berühmte Schriftsteller, in Deutschland wenigstens, sind sehr wenig bedeutende Menschen in Gesellschaft. Es sind bloß ihre Bücher, die Achtung verdienen, nicht sie selbst. Denn sie sind meistens sehr wenig wirklich. Sie müssen sich immer erst durch Nachschlagen zu etwas machen, und dann ist es immer wieder das Papier, das sie geschrieben haben. Sie sind elende Ratgeber und seichte Lehrer dem, der sie befragt.” (Sudelbücher (K 192) 

Coverbild Sudelbücher I. Sudelbücher II. Materialhefte und Tagebücher. Register zu den Sudelbüchern von Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Wolfgang Promies (Hrsg.), ISBN-978-3-423-59075-4

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg: Sudelbücher – Dreibändige Gesamtausgabe, herausgegeben von Wolfgang Promies, dtv 2005 

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 


Moldauisches Heft (1): Bücher und Menschen

Bücher und Menschen

K. und ich sitzen dicht neben dem kleinen altertümlichen Ofen, der auf Hochtouren läuft, aber gerade nur so viel Wärme abgibt, dass man es eben noch so aushalten kann im winterlich kalten Studio des Malers und Dichters D. P. in Chisinau. Uns gegenüber sitzt D., der gerade in einen Katalog eines bulgarischen Malers vertieft ist, den er zu dessen Lebzeiten gekannt hat; zwischen uns ein Tisch auf dem sich Malutensilien, diverse Brillen, Medikamentenschachteln, ein Teller mit Früchten und drei noch halbvolle Gläser mit moldauischem Cognac ein Stelldichein geben. D. strahlt. Der Besuch und das Interesse an seinen Gemälden tun ihm gut und er blüht förmlich auf. Besonders gegenüber der jungen Frau zeigt er sich aufmerksam und charmant und ich wundere mich nicht, dass sehr viele seiner im Studio befindlichen Werke Porträts meist junger Frauen und Mädchen sind. Trotz seiner 74 Jahre flirtet er ein wenig mit K., die es mit gutem Humor aufnimmt. Zur aufgekratzten Stimmung trägt auch bei, dass ich ein Bild gekauft habe, ein stimmungsvolles, schön komponiertes Stillleben mit Früchten und einer Karaffe, welches mir sofort auffiel. D. hat große Probleme mit den Augen und der ausgemachte Kaufpreis hilft, die notwendige Operation zu bezahlen.

– ‚Ich komme aus einer Familie, in der es Bücher gab und in der gelesen wurde‘, sagt D. nachdem er den Katalog zur Seite gelegt hat. – ‚Das war ganz und gar nicht alltäglich in unserem Dorf im Budzhak, dem heute zur Ukraine gehörenden Teil Bessarabiens. Die Liebe zur bulgarischen Sprache habe ich von meiner Mutter, das Verständnis für den Reichtum der Muttersprache und dafür, dass Sprache mehr sein kann als nur ein bloßes Verständigungsmittel; das Wissen, dass man wirklich in der Sprache wohnen und zuhause sein kann habe ich von ihr. Die Liebe zu und der Respekt vor Büchern kommt dagegen vom Vater und Großvater. Zu Anfang des letzten Jahrhunderts hat Großvater angefangen, eine private Bibliothek zusammenzutragen. Darin gab es Bücher in verschiedenen Sprachen, Bulgarisch, Russisch, Rumänisch…viele davon müssen teuer gewesen sein; es waren aufwendig gedruckte und gebundene Bände darunter, viele mit Illustrationen. Er liebte besonders Werke zu religiösen Themen. Auch mein Vater kaufte später Bücher für diese private Bibliothek. Als dann die Rumänen kamen, füllte er eine große hölzerne Truhe mit Büchern in russischer Sprache, die er dann irgendwo vergrub. Wer russische Bücher im Haus hatte, galt den Rumänen als gefährlich, als Verräter, und hatte mit schweren Konsequenzen zu rechnen; mancher verlor sein Leben wegen ein paar russischer Erbauungsbücher im Haus. Später kamen dann die Russen zurück, und wieder wurde eine große hölzerne Truhe gefüllt, diesmal mit Büchern in rumänischer Sprache. Nun wurde nämlich jeder mit rumänischen Büchern im Haus als Verräter angesehen und schwer bestraft, in die Verbannung geschickt oder erschossen. Niemand weiß heute mehr, wo die Truhen vergraben sind; vielleicht hat jemand sein Haus dort gebaut, wo sie liegen, nicht ahnend, was für ein Schatz und was für eine Geschichte dort verborgen ist.‘

Über das Buchenland, die Bukowina, und seine Hauptstadt Czernowitz sagte Paul Celan, dass dort einst Bücher und Menschen lebten; doch dasselbe gilt wohl auch für das benachbarte, am gleichen Meridian gelegene Bessarabien.

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Alles nur geklaut…

Die Diskussion über ein zeitgemäßes Urheberrecht ist eine Sache – das Respektieren des geltenden Rechts eine andere.

Was mich ärgert, ist die Unverfrorenheit mit der auf diversen Plattformen im Internet immer wieder ganze Bücher, die urheberrechtlich geschützt sind, zum kostenlosen Download eingestellt werden, ohne dass dem der Rechteinhaber zugestimmt hat oder eine ihm zustehende Vergütung bekommt. Das ist nicht nur in Deutschland, sondern in allen Unterzeichnerstaaten der einschlägigen internationalen Urheberrechtskonventionen unrecht und schädigt sowohl Autoren, Verlage, Rechteinhaber und Übersetzer (sofern es sich um übersetzte Texte handelt). 

Ein besonders krasses Beispiel ist die bulgarische Website www.chitanka.info, wo es tausende und abertausende solcher Texte gibt – im Moment z.B. 6434 Romane, davon grob geschätzt etwa 40% urhebergeschützt. Chitanka betreibt bzw. ermöglicht geistigen Diebstahl in großem Stil, und wenn sich schon in Bulgarien nur wenige daran stören – die zuständigen Strafverfolgungsorgane offenbar nicht -, sollten sich vielleicht mal die ausländischen Verlage und Rechteinhaber dieses Problems annehmen.

Hier eine kleine Auswahl, die sich auf vollständige auf Chitanka hinterlegte Bücher aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum (in bulgarischer Übersetzung) beschränkt – die Liste ist nicht vollständig und häufig werden abgesehen von kompletten Büchern Dutzende von weiteren Texten eines Autors zum Download eingestellt; es würde mich sehr überraschen, wenn dies auch nur in einem einzigen Fall in Absprache mit dem/den Rechteinhaber/n geschehen wäre:

Günter Grass: Die Blechtrommel
Heinrich Böll: Ansichten eines Clowns
Thomas Mann: Der Zauberberg; Doktor Faustus
Heinrich Mann: Die Jugend des Königs Henri IV
Anna Seghers: Das siebte Kreuz
Erich Kästner: Pünktchen und Anton; Das doppelte Lottchen; Emil und die drei Zwillinge; Die verschwundene Miniatur; Der kleine Mann und die kleine Miss; Der kleine Grenzverkehr; Der 35. Mai; Fabian; Drei Männer im Schnee; Das fliegende Klassenzimmer
Erich Maria Remarque: Im Westen Nichts Neues; Der Weg zurück; Arc de Triomphe; Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben; Der schwarze Obelisk; Drei Kameraden; Station am Horizont; Schatten im Paradies; Die Nacht von Lissabon; Der Funke Leben; Der Himmel kennt keine Günstlinge 
Patrick Süskind: Das Parfüm
Walter Benjamin: Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit
Waldemar Bonsels: Die Biene Maja 
Lion Feuchtwanger: Die Jüdin von Toledo 
Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Das Versprechen 
Arnolt Bronnen: Aisopos
Daniel Glattauer: Gut gegen Nordwind; Ewig dein 
Michael Ende: Momo; Die unendliche Geschichte 
Erich Fromm: Haben oder Sein; Die Kunst des Liebens
Gottfried Benn: Statische Gedichte
Cornelia Funke: Tintenherz 
F.C. Delius: Mogadischu Fensterplatz 
Alfred Bekker: Da Vincis Fälle (6 Bd.) 
Wolfgang Jäschke: Der letzte Tag der Schöpfung 
Wolfgang Hohlbein: Charity (8 Bd.); Der Widersacher; Das Druidentor 
Ildiko von Kürthy: Herzsprung 
Christine Nöstlinger: Wir pfeifen auf den Gurkenkönig 
Jurij Brezan: Die schwarze Mühle 
Geza von Cziffra: Der Tod schießt Tore
Jürgen Roth: Die neuen Dämonen 
Gerhard Holtz-Baumert: Alfons Zitterbacke 
Herbert Franke: Zone Null 
James Krüss: Mein Urgroßvater und ich; Timm Thaler oder Das verkaufte Lachen; Florentine 
Frank Arnau: Heroin AG 
David Safier: Jesus liebt mich 
Otfried Preussler: Das Geheimnis der orangefarbenen Katze
Kerstin Gier: Rubinrot; Saphierblau; Für jede Lösung ein Problem; Ein unmoralisches Sonderangebot 

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why I rarely publish negative reviews

Since I started this blog, I have reviewed approximately 120 books here; I share these reviews also in Goodreads and in Facebook. But I read much more books, which means that I am by far not writing about all the books I am in fact reading.

The reasons for this are mainly the following:

Reviewing takes some time; if you want to write something more than just a few superficial remarks, something meaningful, you need to spend a comparatively big amount of time – time I sometimes don’t have, or time I prefer to invest in something to me more valuable in that moment – for example in reading, travelling, working on my actual book project, or spending quality time with people that matter to me! And imagine, I have a job too, haha.

Furthermore, a lot of the books I am reading are not really creating this urge in me to write about them. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe the book is kind of dull and boring, or it is more or less ok, but nothing special and I have already forgotten the plot after a short time, or the topic is too special to be of any interest for a wider audience. So what’s the point to bother someone with my thoughts in such cases?

A special case are awe-inspiring books, books where I feel that at this moment they are beyond my capacities as a reviewer – recent example: Dostoevsky’s Demons. I would need to write a 10,000 words text if I wanted to review it, otherwise I would have to neglect important aspects of the book as I understand it. And if I will ever be able to express my limitless admiration of and fascination with Hans Henny Jahnn’s strange behemoth of a novel River without Banks – a book that literally changed my life and my view of life in general – in an adequate way remains a big question for me. (I reviewed the first part here; the biggest part of the novel was never translated in English.)   

The fourth category are the hopelessly bad, crappy, worthless books that you come across sometimes. I am not particularly inclined to write reviews about books I didn’t enjoy or that I even strongly dislike. In general, I prefer to be silent in such cases instead of wasting valuable time to indulge in negative feelings. In general, I believe that I am usually much better in positively raving about the qualities of a book than to give it the thump-down. Therefore, only about 5% of my published reviews so far are negative; if I would write a review about every single book I am reading, this percentage would be much higher, maybe more like 25-30%.

So, in which cases of this fourth category I am nevertheless making the effort to publish my negative opinion about a book? There are of course, as I see in retrospect now, a few reasons:

There are books and authors that have acquired the status of a “classic”, or at least of being extremely popular. While I have no problem with popular books and authors in general, I have experienced a couple of times the situation that I read a book that was praised as a “masterpiece”, or even as “one of the best novels of the 20th century” – and it turned out to be awfully bad from whatever standpoint you look at it. That’s what I call the “Emperor’s-New-Clothes syndrome”, and in such a blatant case as this one I feel obliged to raise my finger and voice my objection. This specific book and author get in my opinion much more attention than would be deserved if we look just at the – according to me hardly existing! – literary quality of the work; it is more a result of the successful efforts of the author during his lifetime to turn himself into a brand, than of the genuine quality of his writing that he occupies such a prominent place in literary history, and this book is praised by so many people although it is obviously no good at all (admittedly not all books by this author are as bad as the one I reviewed). The purpose of my review is to be a small contribution to a re-assessment of this specific book, and thus maybe also to a re-assessment of other, much better novels published during that period by authors who were not so good in self-marketing, but maybe better writers with some meaningful message in their works, written in a much better prose.

Another category of books are those by contemporary authors, who – supported by an aggressive marketing, a devoted group of friends in the media, and a similarly devoted crowd of “groupies” in social media – blow the horn and thus make a lot of noise around their silly, shallow, obnoxious books and turn this kind of attention into a mass phenomenon, and in extreme cases even into a movement that shares certain elements with a sect. That’s what I call the “One-million-flies-cannot-go-wrong syndrome”, and again I find myself every now and then in a position that I simply must voice my objection against such a book, and may it even be in a very succinct way, like in this case. (This review by a fellow book blogger sums it up very nicely in more detail what is wrong with this book and its author.)

Closely related to the last category are books that are lacking a basic quality a book (and its author) should have in my opinion: intellectual integrity. When the content and the message of a book is in stark contrast with the personal behaviour of its author, it is clearly a case of hypocrisy and lack of integrity. Intellectual impostors like the author of this book, should be always exposed.

Some books simply make me angry. A lot of people like this book and similar one’s by the same author – but to me it is obvious that the book is just an alibi for something else. This author makes his living by providing arousal templates for the needs of a very “special” audience. His sick anal-sadistic torture fantasies are poorly written, and as a reviewer I really hope that I prevent a few readers from exposing themselves to this revolting stuff.  

Very young and inexperienced authors will be usually treated with kindness by me; most bad books I read by such authors will be never reviewed here. In exceptional cases, when for example the publisher is to blame for not editing a book by an inexperienced author at all (and thus doing him a very bad service), like in this case, I will make an exception. Not because I want to slam the poor author for his shortcomings, but because I find it unethical when some publishers don’t protect authors from seriously damaging themselves.

Another exception are cases (like this one) in which a young author who in my opinion lacks literary talent is “made” by a publisher, in co-operation with key figures of the literary scene; a system that manipulates the public, arranges that such an author gets literary awards, and plenty of media attention that will in turn help to generate additional money and influence for this person in the literary scene, damages the chances of other young authors with real literary talent (but maybe with less talent for self-promotion), and even corrupts the readers and potential young authors, because a system that systematically ignores literary merit must in the long run have negative repercussions on the literary life in general, especially when the book market in that country is very small. Also in these cases, a reviewer should speak out and make it clear when such a “hyped” book has no literary value, and is obviously more a media or lifestyle phenomenon than serious literature.  

Hey, before I forget it – I know some authors personally. Some of them are nice people, others not so much. It is just like in all other spheres of life. Would the fact that I am in good or maybe not so good terms with someone influence my judgement (as imperfect as it may be) regarding the quality of their respective writing?

The answer is obvious: never!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Man lernt nie aus…

Wie soll man sich eigentlich mit Populisten in einer Diskussion auseinandersetzen? Eine wichtige Frage, und von daher ist ein Buch wie “Logik für Demokraten” von der Themenstellung her sehr interessant. Interessant ist allerdings auch, wie der Autor dieses sehr hochgejubelten Buchs selbst diskutiert. Ein kleines, aber typisches Beispiel aus einem einzigen Kommentarthread zu einem Artikel, der sich mit dem unsäglichen Herrn Gauland befasst, und in dem der Buchautor sich logisch-argumentativ mit einigen mir politisch sehr fern stehenden, aber durchaus nicht übermässig aggressiven, teilweise sogar ausgesprochen höflichen Zeitgenossen wie folgt auseinandersetzt:

“halbstark…Maulheld…Phrasendrescher…ideologische Masturbation…Novizin in Sachen Urteilskraft…auslaufendes Geseiere…Kaskaden prasenhafter Adjektive…beleidigt passiv-aggressive Wortspiele…Pseudoempirismus und verachtenswerte Faulheit des Denkens…Bullshit-Manöver…dumm…selber doof… es scheint seinen Horizont zu sprengen…ist das denn gesund für jemandem in Ihrem Alter…assoziativer Wortdurchfall…es geht nicht in Ihren blonden Schädel hinein…” usw.

(Das ist nur eine kleine Auswahl logisch-argumentativer Höchstleistungen des Buchautors, sozusagen ein “best of” aus einem – ich wiederhole mich – einzigen Kommentarthread!)

Unter “Logik für Demokraten” hatte ich mir bisher etwas anderes vorgestellt, aber man lernt ja nie aus…

Daniel-Pascal Zorn: Logik für Demokraten, Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2017

s.a. hier

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Logic for Democrats”?

The title (“Logic for Democrats”) makes you curious. The discomfort, however, begins when you read the author’s name.

The author of this book has so far been mainly “well-known” for his frequent rude troll attacks in social media – one of his victims was recently Sascha Lobo, one of Germany’s most well-known bloggers and journalists -, often stirred up by his adlatus, an influential, but mediocre journalist in the literary sphere, and by a few articles in a magazine (whose title “Hohe Luft” means “High Air” – although “Heisse Luft”, i.e. “Hot Air” would be more suitable considering the quality and writing style of many essays in that journal).

In his essays in above mentioned magazine, the author frequently falls into exactly those logical fallacies and Kategorienfehler that he likes to attack with inquisitive eagerness and great philistine arrogance, when he has – allegedly! – discovered them in the writing and thinking of others, even intruding again and again the privacy of those who don’t agree with him, despite their warnings and pleads to refrain from that. A virtual stalker and Rechthaber of the most unpleasant category.

That a FB troll of all people feels entitled to write a book on how to discuss political issues with a certain group of people (the populists that are a phenomenon in most Western countries again) came not only to me as a big surprise. It is precisely this subject for which the author is self-evidently not at all equipped, as is obvious from his behaviour in public discussions. There is a lack of basic qualities, such as a minimum of respect for the opponent, or the understanding that sometimes even an opponent may be right, a thought that as it seems would never occur to the author of this book, judging from the verbal crusades and pogroms he is waging on people who haven’t even addressed him in a discussion or with a simple statement. And if the author seriously believes that his book will help in any discussion with populists, then he is completely delusional.

A pity that a renowned publisher gave this author a big stage, and that this book, written in a very blurred style that clearly aims at deceiving the reader regarding the rather poor content is now praised by a part of the German media as a great achievement; that tells me something about the actual state of intellectual life in Germany, I am afraid. 

“When the sun of culture stands low, even dwarfs cast long shadows.” (Karl Kraus)

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Daniel-Pascal Zorn: Logik für Demokraten, Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2017

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