Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Translated by Tess Lewis
5 x 8 inches, 144pp. May 2018
ISBN : 9780857425034
Rs 599.00 (HB)
Hans Magnus Enzensberger takes the title for this collection of daring short essays on topical themes—politics, economics, religion, society—not from Jeremy Bentham’s famous prison but from a mid-1930s Cabinet of Curiosities opened in Germany by Karl Valentin. 'There,' writes Enzensberger, 'viewers could admire, along with implements of torture, all manner of abnormalities and sensational inventions.' And that’s what he offers here: a wide-ranging, surprising look at all manner of strange aspects of our contemporary world.
As masterly with the essay as he is with fiction and poetry, Enzensberger here presents complicated thoughts with a light touch, tying new iterations of old ideas to their antecedents, quoting liberally from his forebears and presenting himself unapologetically as not an expert but a seeker. Enzensberger the essayist works in the mode of Montaigne, unafraid to take his reader in unexpected directions, knowing that the process of exploration is often in itself sufficient reward for following a line of thought.
In an era that regularly laments the death of the public intellectual, Enzensberger is a towering figure in German literature who refuses to let his mind or work be bound by the narrow world of the poetry or fiction section.
Hans Magnus Enzensberger, often considered Germany’s most important living poet, is also the editor of the book series Die Andere Bibliothek and the founder of the monthly TransAtlantik. His books include Lighter Than Air: Moral Poems and Civil Wars: From L.A. to Bosnia.
Tess Lewis has translated seven books and numerous essays and articles from French and German. Her translations include works by Peter Handke, Alois Hotschnig, Julya Rabinowich, Lukas Bï¿½rfuss, Philippe Jaccottet, Pascal Bruckner and Jean-Luc Benoziglio among others. She has been awarded a PEN Translation Fund grant and an NEA Translation Fellowship. She also serves as an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review and writes essays on European Literature for various literary journals and newspapers.