Biography & Memoirs

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Felix Ackermann

My Lithuanian Driving License

What is holding Europe together? What have Lithuanians done over the last quarter of a century with their recently won freedom? And how does the European Union function at the furthest reaches of its eastern borders? Rather than examining these questions theoretically, in 2011 Felix Ackermann left Berlin with his family in order to become a guest scholar at a Belarusian university in exile in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. There his children learnt Lithuanian and became good little patriots. His wife gave birth to a daughter who was immediately given a Lithuanian identification number. And Felix Ackermann finally managed to get his driving license in a little town called Utena.

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Theodor W. Adorno

Dream Protocols

In early January 1956, Adorno noted: »Our dreams are not simply connected to one another by virtue of being ›ours‹ but also because they form a continuum, belong to a consistent world, similar to the way that all of Kafka’s short stories work to the same effect. And the more interconnected our dreams are, or the more they repeat themselves, the greater the danger that we might no longer be able to distinguish them from reality.«

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English world rights (Polity Press), Spanish world rights (Akal), France (Stock), Italy (Bollati Boringhieri - published, rights reverted), Turkey (Yapi Kredi), Albania (Asdreni - published, rights reverted), Ukraine (Meduza)

Juri Andruchowytsch

Small Encyclopedia of Intimate Cities

Juri Andruchowytsch has invested a lot of time in familiarising himself with foreign cities. In some of them, he got stuck for a while. Others have become true parts of his life: »Munich begins right behind Moscow, the alphabet is in harmony with time« – that’s because Munich was the first German city the young author from the failing Soviet Union visited in order to write his Moscoviada not far from it, at Lake Starnberg.

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France (Noir sur Blanc), Croatia (Fraktura)

Ingeborg Bachmann

Male Oscuro

Ingeborg Bachmann’s dream notes, correspondence drafts and records from the time of her illness are of great literary interest as the primary elements of the subsequent Todesarten-texts. In addition, these writings are apt to further our knowledge about her illness and the phenomenon of illness itself. They are outrageous, courageous in their analytic approach, defeated by the knowledge of the incurable – and at the same time they are filled with the passionate desire to escape the illness and find a cure.

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Louis Begley

Why the Dreyfus affair matters

In December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a brilliant French artillery officer and a Jew of Alsatian descent, was court-martialed for selling secrets to the German military attaché in Paris based on perjured testimony and trumped-up evidence. The sentence was military degradation and life imprisonment on Devil’s Island, a hellhole off the coast of French Guiana. Five years later, the case was overturned, and eventually Dreyfus was completely exonerated. Meanwhile, the Dreyfus Affair tore France apart, pitting Dreyfusards – committed to restoring freedom and honor to an innocent man convicted of a crime committed by another – against nationalists, anti-Semites, and militarists who preferred having an innocent man rot to exposing the crimes committed by ministers of war and the army’s top brass in order to secure Dreyfus’s conviction.

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Brazilian Portuguese (Companhia das Letras)

Charlotte Beradt

The Third Reich of Dreams

Charlotte Beradt, who had worked as a journalist in Berlin until, from 1933 onwards, she was no longer employed, fled to England in 1939 and then to New York in 1940. She collected dreams that had occurred between the years of 1933 and 1939 by asking the people surrounding her to retell them: her seamstress, a neighbour, her aunt, the milkman, an entrepreneur friend, a physician… Fifty of those »dreams dictated by dictatorship« were included in The Third Reich of Dreams, her classic work of dream documentation first published in 1966.

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English world rights (The Aquarius Press/Quadrangle Books – published, rights reverted), Brazilian Portuguese rights (Trés Estrelas), France (Payot & Rivages – published, rights reverted), Italy (Einaudi), Sweden (Ersatz), Croatia (Disput), Greece (Agra)

Barbara Beuys

Helene Schjerfbeck

In Scandinavia, Helene Schjerfbeck is praised as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century and internationally her long overdue recognition grows steadily. Barbara Beuys describes the dramatic and tumultuous life of the painter – in which more than a thousand pictures arise: self-portraits, still lives, landscapes, and portraits of modern young women above all.

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Barbara Beuys

Maria Sibylla Merian

In an exciting and knowledgeable way, Barbara Beuys’s new book recounts the extraordinary life of a woman in the 17th century who was a confident artist pioneering in the natural sciences. Her passion for caterpillars and their transformation into butterflies led her to the tropical rainforests of South America in 1699.

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Daniel-Dylan Böhmer

The Major Who Outflanked The War

The tribal areas on the Pakistani border with Afghanistan are among the most dangerous parts in the world. If there is one thing we don’t usually associate with this remote region, it’s hope. As recently as October 2012, the Taliban carried out an attack on a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl who was advocating education for girls.

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Karl Heinz Bohrer

Now

Karl Heinz Bohrer is one of Germany’s most pugnacious intellectuals. The steadfast expectation that the banal present will turn into the fantastical now – this is what drives Karl Heinz Bohrer’s autobiographical, adventure-filled story. Spanning more than five decades and unfolding through nine chapters, his story plays out in various locales: in European cities like London and Paris, at German and American universities, on essayistic as well as scientific terrain. And ever and again upon the stage of relationships: with women, with friends, with colleagues and adversaries, this is as much of an intellectual adventure as it is an empirical examination of the erotic.

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Sigrid Damm

»Summer rain of love«

Goethe’s letters to Charlotte von Stein are some of the most beautiful examples of world literature. They are intimate documents of Goethe’s first decade at Weimar, which, during his lifetime, was shrouded in silence.

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Dietmar Dath

Rosa Luxemburg

Dietmar Dath, »the most productive and most radical writer in Germany« (Thomas Lindemann, Die Welt) on the revolutionary democrat Rosa Luxemburg.

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Denmark (Rosenkilde)

Eva Demski

I’ll Carry My Suitcase Myself

Despite the odds, a life which shouldn’t have been at all becomes colourful and exciting. Being a constant part of this life, farewells can be countered by encounters and stories though the feeling that this is all a game continues throughout unabated. Eva Demski gathers together others’ lives, those both known and unknown; leading lights of literature like Reich-Ranicki, Koeppen, Kempowski, and Rose Ausländer share their stories, but over and over again she also seeks out outsiders and finds them. She has her own dead poets society, too. Her early life in Regensburg is one of incense and cigarette smoke, then there’s the theatre, and becoming a young adult in politically instable times. These times become even more unstable, however, when her husband, a lawyer for the Red Army Faction, suddenly dies and the police become interested in her.

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Ottmar Ette

Alexander von Humboldt and Globalization

In this intellectual biography, one of the most renowned Humboldt researchers, Ottmar Ette, introduces Alexander von Humboldt, who was not only an author and an intellectual, but also a philosopher familiar with the most diverse cultures as well as a natural scientist experimenting with new forms of empirical science.

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Urs Faes

Request Stop

Request Stop is Urs Faes' most intimate book to date, which grew out of his personal experience of sickness and was written so as to be able to hold on to a pen, to words, to images and to memory. Writing as self-defence against one’s own frailty – and in so doing, coming face to face with life.

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Max Frisch

Ignorance as State Security?

In his final typescript, in a deeply personal way and in a novel literary form, Max Frisch engaged with the national scandal that rocked Switzerland in 1989 and 1990: almost a million Swiss citizens had been under State surveillance during the Cold War. On individualised index cards or »fiches« the Attorney General’s Office created a chronicle of suspicion, whose grotesque banality served only to exacerbate the scandal.

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Efrat Gal-Ed

No One’s Language

This biography of one of the most important Yiddish poets, the first comprehensive one worldwide, is extraordinary in form and content. The life story of Itzik Manger (1901 – 1969) becomes intertwined with a lively depiction of the Eastern European Yiddish-secular culture in between the World Wars. And appropriately, Gal-Ed’s textual alignment follows the page layout of the Talmud: with a narrative main text, images and explanatory side texts.

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English World Rights (Texas University Press)

Durs Grünbein

The Years at the Zoo

In this book full of stories, verse, and rare photographs, the poet Durs Grünbein presents himself in an autobiographical light. And yet he reaches further back to a time when the early contours of the twentieth century were just beginning to emerge.

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Sweden (Ersatz)

Peter Handke

Days and Works

In 2013, quietly and in solitude, Peter Handke celebrated his vocational anniversary: in June 1963 he became certain that »writing, taking notes, drawing connections, and leaving things disconnected would be a possible vocation for me«.

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Italy (Guanda)

Wolfgang Hildesheimer

Mozart

In this definitive biography, Wolfgang Hildesheimer demythologizes Mozart, revealing him as a flawed and puzzling human being, but a matchless artist. Hildesheimer's fresh approach to the music itself, his telling quotations from Mozart's letters (Mozart was one of the greatest and most outrageous of letter writers), and his sympathetic but unsentimental insights make this remarkably readable portrait of one of the most popular composers of all time. (book description from the US edition by FSG)

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USA (FSG), UK & Commonwealth (Dent – published, rights reverted), Spanish world rights (Destino – published, rights reverted), Chinese simplex rights (East China Normal UP), Brazil (Zahar – published, rights reverted), France (Lattès / Presses Pocket / Bartillat – published, rights reverted), Italy (RCS /Rizzoli), Netherlands (Arbeiderspers – published, rights reverted), Denmark (Bogans – published, rights reverted), Sweden (Norstedts), Finnland (Otava – published, rights reverted), Korea (National Research Foundation of Korea), Japan (Hakusuisha – published, rights reverted), Czech Republic (Arbor Vitae – published, rights reverted), Slovakia (Opus – published, rights reverted), Hungary (Gondolat – published, rights reverted), Serbia (Dereta – published, rights reverted), Slovenia (Obzorba – published, rights reverted)