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 →
It was only with the closure of the Guardbook for 1978 imprints, and the introduction of a new cataloguing code accompanied by Library of Congress subject headings, that serious attempts were made to analyse the subject content of each item acquired by the University Library. Up until that point subject analysis had been minimal – access points for material about a named individual, and for grammars, dictionaries, encyclopaedias and volumes of conference proceedings, without using a controlled vocabulary. For much of its earlier history, the only consideration of subject which took place was in determining where to place each item on the shelves.
Bought the year before Trude left Germany (UL classmark: F193.d.1.2)
On 27 February 1933, Trude and Josef watched distant flames from the Reichstag fire from a balcony. This was the turning point for them. The Judas, plus Fred and some of her cousins who were Zionists, planned to leave Hitler’s Germany at once. Their parents’ generation felt established in society in spite of the Nazi threat: “Why should a war hero and successful businessman have to run away?” Eugen gave Trude and Fred a bag of gold each as a parting gift. The Judas , their furniture and the library went to Paris, Fred to the USA, and the cousins to Israel and Brazil.
In Paris, the Judas became part of a milieu of intellectuals, writers, painters etc., forming friendships with several, including Nicholas Monsarrat, author of The Cruel Sea. Here also the marriage came to an end. Continue reading →
The library of Mrs Gertrud Good, known to her friends and family as Trude, was one of the many collections of books brought into the country when their owners fled persecution in mainland Europe. The Library has subsequently benefited from several donations of such material, which offer a welcome opportunity to plug gaps in our holdings. Highlights from the Good collection include two first editions by Hans Fallada (F193.d.1.3 and F193.d.1.4), with cover designs by George Grosz and Olaf Gulbransson, and Else Lasker-Schüler’s prose text Arthur Aronymus (F193.d.1.2), incorporating on the cover and dust-jacket a drawing by the author herself. The life of the young woman who bought these books in 1931 and 1932 is briefly described by her son and daughter in the following two posts.
A recent blog post on Brazilian authors at the Paris book fair contrasted the numerous works of contemporary Brazilian literature in French with the far smaller number of titles which have appeared in English. It should be recognised, however, that the Society of Authors, with support from the Arts Council and a number of other funding bodies, administers prizes for published translations into English from Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. Not all prizes are awarded annually, however, which accounts for the different years in the list of awards which follows. It is standard procedure in our catalogue entries to give an access point for all literary translators as well as authors, as well as to provide the title of the original work wherever possible.
Items collected at the UL
Vondel prize for Dutch translation
Winner in 2013: David Colmer for his translation of The misfortunates by Dimitri Verhulst (Portobello). 2012.8.1300