Gordon A. Craig

Gordon A. Craig the doyen of German Studies, taught for many years at Stanford. He is writing a book about Theodor Fontane.

Insouciance

Gordon A. Craig, 17 July 1997

Martin Venator, the narrator of Ernst Jünger’s 1970 novel Eumeswil, is chief steward to the reigning Tyrant of the small city state of that name. He also serves as a reference librarian to the Tyrant’s chief of staff. In neither capacity is he overworked, and he has plenty of time to indulge his own historical interests and to ruminate on the character and problems of power, on the rise and fall of demagogues and dictators, on nihilism and anarchism, and on nature and its mysteries. He has all but broken with his father and brother, who, as old liberals and supporters of the elective monarchy overthrown by the Tyrant, disapprove of his choice of career. This does not greatly concern him. He does not believe in the possibility of a return to the past and as a fatalist has no expectation of an indefinite perpetuation of the present regime. Meanwhile, he is happy to serve the Tyrant, although with no deep commitment to him. Referring to himself as an anarch, he says: ‘I am in the service neither of the political present nor of tradition; I am a blank page. I am open and potent in every direction.’

Halfway to Siberia: Theodor Fontane

Ruth Franklin, 13 December 2001

‘In the middle of the 1870s,’ Theodor Fontane’s novel Delusions, Confusions begins, ‘just at the crossing of the Kurfürstendamm and the Kurfürstenstrasse,...

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‘Famous for its Sausages’

David Blackbourn, 2 January 1997

‘Poor in deeds and rich in thoughts’ – that was Friedrich Hölderlin’s lament about his fellow Germans two hundred years ago. In one form or another the idea became...

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