Saturday, June 10, 2006

Germane genius

Simon Barnes does that annoying British thing: make engagement with a foreign culture - in this case Germany's (because of the World Cup) - appear to be something one ought to do, like swallowing a tablespoonful of Cod Liver Oil, something to make one a better person in the long run.
I was aware that my ignorance of German literature was almost perfect. I had read the trippy novels of Hermann Hesse, of course, and duly over-rated them as a trippy student. I had read Kafka (well, he wrote in German) at school, and written Kafkaesque school stories.
Nice that he knows Kafka wasn't German. But nor was Hesse. He was Swiss. Oh I know, it's picky, but here's yet another article about German literature by a well-read and well-meaning writer that doesn't mention the three greats of modern German literature (Bernhard, Handke and Gert Hofmann). He doesn't even mention Sebald.

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