200 years ago, on December 30, 1819, Theodor Fontane, one of the best-known 19th century German authors, was born. He grew up in Neuruppin, a small town in the Mark Brandenburg north of Berlin. He trained and worked as a pharmacist before embarking on a literary career, starting as a journalist before becoming one of the most prolific novelists of the 19th century.
Portrait by Carl Breitbach via Wikimedia Commons
The 200th anniversary of his birth is being celebrated throughout this year with numerous exhibitions and events in the Brandenburg region (more details here). The main exhibition is being held in Neuruppin from March 30 to December 30 and aims to give an insight into Fontane’s authorial practice. This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue which the library has acquired (C202.b.3557). Continue reading
In preparation for the pop-up exhibition “Queering the UL” in February this year, staff were asked to think of items that could feature in the event. This gave me a chance to take a closer look at some intriguing books that had passed through my hands, and which I was surprised to see among the very academic monographs I usually deal with. After a bit of research, I found out they were all in a series called “Bibliothek rosa Winkel,” which documents in fact an important part of German social history.
The Verlag rosa Winkel logo
The publishing house Verlag rosa Winkel, the first dedicated to gay themes in Germany, was founded in 1975 by a group of friends in West Berlin who, wanting to set up a stand of books on homosexuality at their university, realised that they had almost nothing to sell. The expression “rosa Winkel” refers to the pink triangle that homosexuals were made to wear on their clothes in Nazi Germany. The aim of the founders was to give a chance to books dealing with LGBT themes that had been turned down by more mainstream publishers. In 1991 they started the series Bibliothek rosa Winkel, defined as being at the crossroads of history and literature, and whose focus is testimonies or other narratives documenting life as a homosexual at different points in history. As Verlag rosa Winkel went out of business in 2001, the series was taken over by the publisher Männerschwarm Verlag. Continue reading
Following on from the recent post on Italian prizewinners, we now turn our attentions to the latest winners of major French (last covered in May 2017) and German (last covered in March 2017) prizes.
The Prix Goncourt was awarded to L’ordre du jour by Éric Vuillard (C205.d.4186).
The Prix Interallié went to Jean-René Van der Plaetsen for Nostalgie de l’honneur (C205.d.4224).
Daniel Rondeau won the Grand prix du roman de l’Académie française for Mécaniques du chaos (C205.d.4223).
The Prix Médicis was awarded to Yannick Hanenel’s Tiens ferme ta couronne (C205.d.4222). Continue reading
Consider these French book covers for contemporary fiction:
In previous posts we pointed out how literary prizes are useful for our collection development. By acquiring prizewinning works we document the evolving canon of German literature. In this post I will present a selection of German literary prizes awarded recently.
Arguably the most prestigious prize for German language literature is the Georg-Büchner-Preis. The 2016 prize was awarded by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung to Marcel Beyer for his rich work which ranges from the epic to the lyric and essayistic. The Akademie said that “his texts devote themselves to the representation of the German past with the same precise dedication with which they trace the sound of the present time. They pursue a poetic geography, which is always also an exploration of language”. The latest works acquired by the University Library are his poetry collection Graphit (C203.d.8391) published in 2014 and his collection of essays Sie nannten es Sprache (C204.d.7081) published in 2016. Continue reading