Sunday, 1 December 2013

above Tintern


On Monday we drove to Tintern Abbey. We stopped for one last walk. The view! God, how I miss that. In Vienna I lived close to the hills. Observing the city from one of the wooded hills always calmed me down immensely. The city, the hills, the forest, the fields where the city ends.

On Friday we had a lunchtime concert at work. I didn't really know the work of Wolfgang Rihm before (contemporary classical music is not exactly one of my strengths), but his waltzes are wonderful (and not very contemporary-sounding). I sat on the stairs - anxiously hovering in the background is basically all I do during our events - and breathed deeply. Another long week.

I'm currently reading The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was new to me when I came upon an essay by Frank Kermode about her oeuvre, but I've since read countless articles about her, mostly because her biography has just been published. The Blue Flower is wonderful, though I'm not sure whether I'd like it as much if German wasn't my first language. Part of its charm, for me, is that Fitzgerald imitates the syntax and oddities of German. I'm usually not a great fan of writers including single words in a foreign language (the occasional merde or halt) to signal that their characters are speaking a language other than English, but it works here. I wonder how one would translate this book into German. Translating has been on my mind a lot recently, and I realise that I'm more and more apprehensive about the whole issue. I see the time and effort that classicists put into their translations, I see them argue about single words and their meanings, and it makes me wish that every translation from French, German, Norwegian was published with extensive footnotes, or in bilingual editions. 

This year I've read more 20th century fiction than ever before. Possibly more than I've ever read, in my whole life. How odd.


  1. I'm becoming a big fun of your blog, I really like being here, your pictures and notes have got something special...
    Can I ask you for making some note about your favourite places in London which you can recommend to other people? Cafes, bookshops, museums? It would be nice! ; ) Cheers xx

  2. Just wanted to say hi and I heart your blog. It's been a while I'm checking it. Keep it up. Best regards from Paris. Aude