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Rendings

Edward Timms, 19 April 1990

Thomas Mann and his Family 
by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Collins, 230 pp., £20, August 1989, 9780002158374
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... As the debate about German identity enters a new phase, the work of Marcel Reich-Ranicki acquires a special interest. His career crosses several ideological frontiers: from Pilsudski’s Poland to Hitler’s Germany, from the Communist East to the capitalist West, from traditional Judaism to secular modernism, from radical dissent to conservative orthodoxy ...

Böllfrischgrasshandke

David Midgley: Martin Walser, 8 August 2002

Tod eines Kritikers 
by Martin Walser.
Suhrkamp, 219 pp., €19.90, June 2002, 3 518 41378 3
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... grounds that it was a ‘document of hatred’, a fantasy ‘execution’ of the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki. In Walser’s book a novelist called Hans Lach is under arrest on suspicion of murdering André Ehrl-König, critic and host of a TV book programme, who had excoriated Lach’s work on his show. ...

Winking at myself

Michael Hofmann, 7 March 1985

The Weight of the World 
by Peter Handke, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Secker, 243 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 436 19088 5
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... Handke is so successful and so prolific that, reviewing one of his recent novels, his arch-enemy Marcel Reich-Ranicki, literary editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, ended by crowing at the fact that Langsame Heimkehr bad failed to make it onto the best-seller list. ‘Let no one say there’s no such thing as progress,’ he concluded. But it ...

Take a pig’s head, add one spoonful of medium rage

Iain Bamforth: The poetry of Günter Grass, 28 October 1999

Selected Poems: 1956-93 
by Günter Grass, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Faber, 155 pp., £9.99, February 1999, 0 571 19518 0
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... benefit of the press by that other Grand Old Man of German letters, the critic and TV personality Marcel Reich-Ranicki – that it comes almost as a surprise to find a barely noticed survivor: Grass the poet. As the cover of this modest Selected Poems attests, Grass was a poet before he had his colossal success in 1959 with the first of his three ...

When you’d started a world war

Blake Morrison: Walter Kempowski, 20 June 2019

Homeland 
by Walter Kempowski, translated by Charlotte Collins.
Granta, 240 pp., £14.99, November 2018, 978 1 78378 352 6
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... from a wide range of personal accounts – became a bestseller in 1994, the reliably unimpressed Marcel Reich-Ranicki called it ‘a chaotic mess’ that had ‘nothing whatever in common with literature’. Definitions of what constitutes literature have loosened since then: if the Echolot isn’t literature nor is Alexievich’s Chernobyl ...

Mann v. Mann

Colm Tóibín: The Brother Problem, 3 November 2011

House of Exile: War, Love and Literature, from Berlin to Los Angeles 
by Evelyn Juers.
Allen Lane, 400 pp., £25, May 2011, 978 1 84614 461 5
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... turning of the tables had taken him a lifetime to achieve. In Thomas Mann and His Family (1989), Marcel Reich-Ranicki wrote about the roots of the antagonism between the brothers: ‘The divergence in their sexual leanings contributed to the antagonism that has often been attributed preponderantly to political and historical factors … Unlike his ...

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