NABOKV-L post 0000791, Fri, 27 Oct 1995 08:25:10 -0700

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VN: Bibliography (fwd)
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There is a new book on Nabokov in German:
*Marcel Reich-Ranicki: "Vladimir Nabokov: Aufsaetze." Zurich: Ammann Verlag,
1995. ISBN 3-250-10277-6. 143 pp., paperback, with 5 photos

Not counting a few PhD theses converted into books, this is the
first book on Vladimir Nabokov by a German critic. The only other books
available in German are translations: Donald E. Morton's Modern Literature
Monograph (1974) and Zinaida Shakhovskoy's uncongenial recollections
(1981). However, a translation of Brian Boyd's _magnum opus_ is in
preparation. The translator just told me that he is starting out and
expects to finish it within 18 months or so.
The monograph by Reich-Ranicki is a collection of eight book
reviews as they have appeared over the years, beginning with an article on
"Sebastian Knight" (1960) and ending with an article on "Pnin" (1995). The
other books dealt with are "The Defense", "Mary", "The Eye", "The
Enchanter", the collected stories and "Strong Opinions". There also is a
postface in which Reich-Ranicki looks back on the years spent reading
Nabokov, ending thus: "I wanted to have others share the joy that several
books by Vladimir Nabokov have provided me--and sometimes it was more than
joy. It was downright happiness." The book is carefully done, printed on
high quality paper, with a few photographs by Horst Tappe, endnotes and a
chronological table of Nabokov's life.
Reich-Ranicki is by far the best known and most
influential of contemporary critics in the German-speaking countries. He
was born in 1920, grew up in Berlin, was one of the survivors of the
Warsaw ghetto, wrote mainly on German literature in post-war Poland, came
to West Germany c. 1959, was a regular contributor to the weekly "Die
Zeit" from 1960 to 1973 (where I had the privilege of working with him)
and was in charge of the literary section of the daily "Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung" from 1973 to 1988. At that time he retired--and found
his real vocation, as many people think: as the inventor and master of
ceremonies of a regular televised panel discussion on recent books, the
"Literarisches Quartett" of ZDF (Second German Television), he became a TV
star, wielding considerable power on what the public thinks of new books.
As a matter of fact, the opinions professed at the "Literarisches
Quartett" are the largest sincle factor deciding the commercial success of
a new book in the German-speaking countries. For more than thirty years,
almost every discussion among _literati_ in German speaking countries has
had a knack of ending up as a discussion of the--often highly
controversial--views of Reich-Ranicki. Reich-Ranicki's persistent interest
in Nabokov has done much to keep his books alive and has contributed to
the success of Rowohlt's Nabokov's Collected Works (1989 ff.).

Dieter E.Zimmer, Erikastrasse 81a, D-20251 Hamburg, Germany
Phone +49-40-488140, Fax +49-40-4606129
E-mail 100126.2576@compuserve com