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The Collected Stories of Wolfgang Hildesheimer
by Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Joachim Neugroschel
- ISBN: 9780880011310 (0880011319)
- Publisher: Ecco Press
- Author: Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Joachim Neugroschel
- Format: hardcover, 197 pages
- Language: english
- Release date: December 1, 1987
About The Book
The funny and bittersweet stories of Wolfgang Hildesheimer are peopled with delightful eccentrics: an insomniac who makes a midnight visit to his bird dealer to purchase an owl (not gift-wrapped) that he might carry it to Athens; a world-famous pianist whose lifelong dream is to be an insurance agent; a retired magician who with his last conjure turns himself into a nightingale.
Here also are accounts of unlikely historical figures such as Theodor Pilz, a man whose “contribution to the history of Western civilization was expressed in the nonexistence of works which never came into being thanks to his courageous, self-sacrificing interference,” and Rudolf Westcotte who at twenty-two “placed the final and decisive accents on easel painting in his time, after which he picked up the chisel, using a few well-aimed strokes to correct the — by his lights, imperfect — state of sculpture.” Having mastered the more traditional arts, Westcotte turns next to topiary and finally, in what proves to be a fatal decision, to tattooing to express his genius.
The book concludes with the masterful “Missives to Max,” an epistolary meditation on age and the modern age, on quotidian and universal existence. In a serendipitous ramble the correspondent allows a pun or double entendre to lead him from one topic to the next. In such multilayered prose the translator’s art is at its highest, and the nuance and whimsy of the original are preserved with faithfulness and elegance.
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