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Michael Hamburger

Poem: ‘The Divorce’

Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated by Michael Hamburger, 18 February 1982

At first it was only an imperceptible quivering of the skin – ‘As you wish’ – where the flesh is darkest. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ – Nothing. Milky dreams of embraces; next morning, though, the other looks different, strangely bony. Razor-sharp misunderstandings. ‘That time, in Rome –’ I never said that. A pause. And furious...

A rich translation of Hölderlin

Theodore Ziolkowski, 23 September 2004

Friedrich Hölderlin was rescued from oblivion by a young German scholar called Norbert von Hellingrath, who wrote a dissertation on Hölderlin’s translations of Pindar and began...

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The poetry of Günter Grass

Iain Bamforth, 28 October 1999

Günter Grass stands so prominently in the line of fire of Germany’s still polarised and politicised cultural life, and has been sniped at so often since The Rat (1986) – A Wide...

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Making up

Julian Symons, 15 August 1991

The first page of Jeremy Reed’s ‘autobiographical exploration of sexuality’ finds him with ‘a red gash of lipstick’ on his mouth, pondering whether to take the ten...

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Nonetheless

John Bayley, 2 February 1989

Renato Serra, who died heroicaly in action on the Isonzo front in August 1915, wrote in his diary a week before that ‘war becomes like life itself. It’s all there is: not a passion...

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Foreigners

Denis Donoghue, 21 June 1984

One of Anthony Thwaite’s poems, ‘Tell it slant’, swerves from Emily Dickinson’s line ‘Tell all the Truth but tell it slant’ to settle upon an aesthetic...

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Catastrophe

Claude Rawson, 1 October 1981

Hans Magnus Enzensberger wrote The Sinking of the Titanic in German. From information supplied in the poem, which in its present form is much preoccupied with the process of its composition, he...

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