I first had the idea of compiling an A-Z of German Romanticism when I visited Jena 6 years ago. I drafted one, but jettisoned it when I realised how little I had read.
Yesterday’s scrapbook entry ended in Jena, home of German Romanticism and I determined to read some for GLM X. I started working my way through Great German Poems of the Romantic Era, an anthology of 23 poets of which 14 are completely new to me. It’s a dual language volume and Stanley Applebaum’s translations are literal ones. These are a great aid to building vocabulary in which ever language you’re learning, but they are not very poetic. So I pulled out my Black Penguin Classic editions of Goethe’s and Hölderlin’s poetry (also dual language editions) and started comparing translations to understand the licence taken by translators when creating an English poem out of a German one.
Can you see a rabbit hole opening up?
I have been searching for a translation of Jean Paul for a while. When Dover Thrift editions came to the rescue at the end of October with a selection of short stories from Ludwig Tieck and Jean Paul Richter.
For the Thuringian leg of my GLM X tour, however, I wanted to read something written by someone born in the state. None of the poets in my anthology were; neither were Tieck and Richter. So out came the reference book, Klaus Günzel’s Die Deutschen Romantiker, a lexicon containing short biographies of 125 German Romantic writers, philosophers, painters and musicians, and, astoundingly given that the movement was founded there, only 2 were born in Thuringia; the writer, Ludwig Bechstein and the unfortunately named painter, Franz Horny. You guessed it, a book by one and a second about the other are now winging their way to me.
That rabbit hole is getting deeper, isn’t it?
I’ll keep digging to see which of Günzel’s Romantics are collecting dust on my shelves. I’d best not add in additional names from the poetry anthology, as Appelbaum takes a much broader view of the subject.
If I start making my way through this lot and countless others on my kindle, I might legitimately put together an A-Z of German Romanticism for GLM XI !!!