Header

Durs Grünbein

From the Dream (Files) - Essays and Notes

With illustrations
(German title: Aus der Traum (Kartei))
ca. 573 pages
Clothbound
2019
Durs Grünbein
Foto: Durs Grünbein
© Tineke de Lange

Durs Grünbein, born in Dresden in 1962, read Theatre Studies in Berlin, after which he worked as a freelancer writing for various literary magazines. After the Berlin Wall fell, Grünbein travelled the world extensively, visiting Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States. Grünbein currently lectures on Poetics at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts and lives in East Berlin. His debut volume of poetry published in 1988 was entitled Grauzone morgens and he went on to publish nearly twenty poetry collections, including Vom Schnee oder Descartes in Deutschland (2003), Der Misanthrop auf Capri (2005), Porzellan. Poem vom Untergang meiner Stadt (2005) and Zündkerzen (2017). He is also the author of a collection of essays and opera librettos. He translated the tragedies of Aeschylus and Seneca into German, but also the works of contemporary authors such as Sara Kane, Ted Hughes, Wallace Stevens, Samuel Beckett, John Ashbery and Tomas Venclova.

Awards (Selection):

Peter-Huchel-Prize (1995)
Georg-Büchner-Prize (1995)
Friedrich Nietzsche-Prize (2004)
Friedrich-Hölderlin-Prize (2005)
Literary Prize of the City of Berlin (2006)
Premio Internazionale Pier Paolo Pasolini (Rome, 2006)
Samuel Bogumił Linde Prize (together with Adam Zagajewski, 2009)
Tomas-Tränströmer-Prize (2012)
European Poet of Freedom Award (Gdańsk, 2012)
Premio Internazionale di Poesia (Bologna, 2019)
Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award (2020)

Sold to

France (selection; 17 Muscles)

A philosophical-poetic arc of prose, poems, and photographs

About

The title of a book of poetry could not be any more provocative, and still the poet allows no room for doubt: »In general, that which we call reality is greatly overestimated.« Therefore, with all the power of his imagination, in the first half of his book he leads us into the stormy areas of that reality which most people consider the measure of all things.

The discrepancy between reality and dream is visible in the world-historical experience of the collapse of a state, the GDR, and the metamorphoses of that society up through today. Examining the binaries of freedom and solidarity on the one hand, hate and division, Germany and Europe, on the other, in the second half of his book the author develops his idea of resistance to the fetishization of crude reality through imagination. In addition, where do dream and reality lie closer together than in art?

In the third section, the author turns to those poets and philosophers whose aesthetics and ideas have sharpened his own. The arc spans from the ancient world to the present, from Ovid to Pascal, from Descartes to Celan.

Durs Grünbein’s latest book is a collection of writings of various genres connected by leitmotifs: essays, reflections, dream fragments, lectures, spoken text and poems. Their very existence is due to the poet’s unique way of working. Using the files he keeps of the key words he employs in his work, he has created a special kind of record, one that proves productive on every page.

Praise

»In Grünbein’s third major essay collection the poet and the essayist come together in a new way both spatially and stylistically. Though the texts are testimonies of precise readings, they also originate from the author’s self-exploration.« Bastian Reinert, Der Tagesspiegel

»By relinquishing himself to the informal, all claims of being able to control the world, as science and technology purport it, fade away and thus the way for a casual, open-minded style of writing is paved.« Eberhard Geisler, Frankfurter Rundschau

»Grünbein is versed in cultural history and immensely skilled in exposing what is aesthetically valuable.« Florian Bissig, NZZ am Sonntag

»Grünbein’s ›lost and found‹-texts represent precision, urgency and a high level of politisation. It’s good to know they have been wrested from the files.« Hendrik Werner, Weser-Kurier

»Durs Grünbein’s new volume of essays, From the Dream (Files), is a treasure chest for readers who appreciate literature that is both contemporary and aware of tradition.« Tomas Gärtner, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

»Durs Grünbein’s exceptional linguistic virtuosity, already revealed in the title, is delectable.« Lebensart im Norden

»Only few are able to write about literature without […] becoming egocentric. When Grünbein writing about poetry sounds itself like a poem.« Veronika Schuchter, Die Furche

»Durs Grünbein effortlessly manages to capture his readers […] with these essays.« SAX Literatur

Other publications

Jenseits der Literatur/Beyond Literature (2020)

Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull)

Zündkerzen/Spark Plugs (2017)

Sold to:

Italy (selection; Einaudi)

Die Jahre im Zoo/The Years at the Zoo (2015)

Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull), Sweden (Ersatz)

Vom Stellenwert der Worte/The Vocation of Poetry (2010)

Sold to:

English world rights (Upper West Side Philosophers)

Die Bars von Atlantis/The Bars of Atlantis (2009)

Sold to:

English world rights (FSG), Sweden (Ersatz)

Lob des Taifuns/Praise of the Typhoon (2008)

Sold to:

Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: France (Voix de Plumes)

Der cartesische Taucher/The Cartesian Diver (2008)

Sold to:

English world rights (Upper West Side Philosophers), Sweden (Ersatz)

Strophen für übermorgen/Verses for the Day after Tomorrow (2007)

Sold to:

Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Italy (Einaudi)

Porzellan/Porcelain (2005)

Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull)

Der Misanthrop auf Capri/The Misanthrope on Capri (2005)

Sold to:

Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Poland (Slowo)

Vom Schnee oder Descartes in Deutschland/On Snow or Descartes in Germany (2003)

Sold to:

France (Greges), Italy (Einaudi), Sweden (Ersatz); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Greece (Keedros)

Erklärte Nacht/Declared Night (2002)

Sold to:

Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Italy (Einaudi), Hungary (Jelenkor)

Das erste Jahr/The First Year (2001)

Sold to:

Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Italy (Einaudi)

Nach den Satiren/After the Satires (1999)

Sold to:

Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: France (Petits Matins), Hungary (Jelenkor)

Den Teuren Toten/The Dear Dead (1994)

Sold to:

Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Portuguese rights (Angelus Novus), Norway (Bokvennen), Japan (CHUO University Press)

Grauzone morgens/Grey Area in the Mornings (1988)

Sold to:

Italy (Einaudi); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Spanish world rights (Poesia Hidalgo), Hungary (Jelenkor)