Hanif Kureishi, Joan Didion, Calvin Trillin, Afanasy Fet, Eugenie Marlitt, Hans Helmut Kirst, Josh Malihabadi

De Britse schrijver en regisseur Hanif Kureishi werd geboren op 5 december 1954 in Bromley, Kent. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2009 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2010


Uit:Something to Tell You

“At the deepest level people are madder than they want to believe. You will find that they fear being eaten, and are alarmed by their desire to devour others. They also imagine, in the ordinary course of things, that they will explode, implode, dissolve or be invaded. Their daily lives are penetrated by fears that their love relations involve, among other things, the exchange of urine and faeces.

Always, before any of this began, I enjoyed gossip, an essential qualification for the job. Now I get to hear a lot of it, a river of human effluvium flowing into me, day after day, year after year. Like many modernists, Freud privileged detritus; you could call him the first artist of the “found,” making meaning out of that which is usually discarded. It is dirty work, getting closely acquainted with the human.

There is something else going on in my life now, almost an incest, and who could have predicted it? My older sister, Miriam, and my best friend, Henry, have conceived a passion for each other. All our separate existences are being altered, indeed shaken, by this unlikely liaison.

I say unlikely because these are quite different kinds of people, who you would never think of as a couple. He is a theatre and film director, a brazen intellectual whose passion is for talk, ideas and the new. She couldn’t be rougher, though she was always considered “bright.” They have been aware of one another for years; she has sometimes accompanied me to his shows.

I guess my sister had always been waiting for me to invite her out; it took me a while to notice. Though an effort on occasion — her knees are crumbling and can’t take her increasing weight — it was good for Miriam to leave the house, the kids and the neighbours. She was usually impressed and bored. She liked everything about the theatre but the plays. Her preferred part was the interval, when there was booze, cigarettes and air. I agree with her. I’ve seen many bad shows, but some of them had great intervals. Henry, himself, would inevitably fall asleep within fifteen minutes of the start of any play, particularly if it was directed by a friend, his furry head resting on your neck while he gurgled gently in your ear like a polluted brook.”


Hanif Kureishi (Bromley, 5 december 1954)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Joan Didion werd geboren in Sacramento Valley op 5 december 1934. Zie ook alle tags voor Joan Didion op dit blog.


Uit: Slouching Toward Bethlehem

„I did not know then that there was any basis for the effect it had on all of us, but it turns out to be another of those cases in which science bears out folk wisdom. The Santa Ana, which is named for one of the canyons it rushers through, is foehn wind, like the foehn of Austria and Switzerland and the hamsin of Israel. There are a number of persistent malevolent winds, perhaps the best know of which are the mistral of France and the Mediterranean sirocco, but a foehn wind has distinct characteristics: it occurs on the leeward slope of a mountain range and, although the air begins as a cold mass, it is warmed as it comes down the mountain and appears finally as a hot dry wind. Whenever and wherever foehn blows, doctors hear about headaches and nausea and allergies, about “nervousness,” about “depression.” In Los Angeles some teachers do not attempt to conduct formal classes during a Santa Ana, because the children become unmanageable. In Switzerland the suicide rate goes up during the foehn, and in the courts of some Swiss cantons the wind is considered a mitigating circumstance for crime. Surgeons are said to watch the wind, because blood does not clot normally during a foehn. A few years ago an Israeli physicist discovered that not only during such winds, but for the ten or twelve hours which precede them, the air carries an unusually high ratio of positive to negative ions. No one seems to know exactly why that should be; some talk about friction and others suggest solar disturbances. In any case the positive ions are there, and what an excess of positive ions does, in the simplest terms, is make people unhappy. One cannot get much more mechanistic than that.

Easterners commonly complain that there is no “weather” at all in Southern California, that the days and the seasons slip by relentlessly, numbingly bland. That is quite misleading. In fact the climate is characterized by infrequent but violent extremes: two periods of torrential subtropical rains which continue for weeks and wash out the hills and send subdivisions sliding toward the sea; about twenty scattered days a year of the Santa Ana, which, with its incendiary dryness, invariably means fire. At the first prediction of a Santa Ana, the Forest Service flies men and equipment from northern California into the southern forests, and the Los Angeles Fire Department cancels its ordinary non-firefighting routines. The Santa Ana caused Malibu to burn as it did in 1956, and Bel Air in 1961, and Santa Barbara in 1964. In the winter of 1966-67 eleven men were killed fighting a Santa Ana fire that spread through the San Gabriel Mountains.“


Joan Didion (Sacramento Valley, 5 december 1934)


De Amerikaanse schrijver, journalist en columnist Calvin (Bud) Marshall Trillin werd geboren op 5 december 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2009 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2010


Uit: Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin

„It’s common these days for memoirs of childhood to concentrate on some dark secret within the author’s ostensibly happy family. It’s not just common; it’s pretty much mandatory. Memoir in America is an atrocity arms race. A memoir that reveals incest is trumped by one that reveals bestiality, and that, in turn, is driven from the bestseller list by one that reveals incestuous bestiality.

When I went into the memoir game, I knew I was working at a horrific disadvantage: As much as I would hate this getting around in literary circles in New York, the fact is that I had a happy childhood. At times, I’ve imagined how embarrassing this background would be if I found myself discussing childhoods with other memoirists late at night at some memoirist hangout.

After talking about their own upbringings for a while-the glue- sniffing and sporadically violent grandmother, for instance, or the family tapeworm-they look toward me. Their looks are not totally respectful. They are aware that I’ve admitted in print that I never heard my parents raise their voices to each other. They have reason to suspect, from bits of information I’ve let drop from time to time, that I was happy in high school. I try desperately to think of a dark secret in my upbringing. All I can think of is Chubby, the collie dog.

“Well, there’s Chubby, the collie dog,” I say, tentatively.

“Chubby, the collie dog?” they repeat.“


Calvin Trillin (Kansas City, 5 december 1935)


De Russische dichter Afanasy Afanasievich Fet werd geboren op 5 december 1820 nabij Mzensk. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2009 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2010


Mond und Rose – Er

Früh stieg übern Berg ich auf,

Um zu sehen: So blühst du auf,

Schau die ganze Nacht auf dich.

Und du schweigst und duldest mich,

Doch entgegen meinem Licht.

Blühn die Purpurlippen nicht.


Mond und Rose – Sie

Wie dein Strahl, so leicht und rein,

Kann kein Hauch, kein Seufzer sein.

Doch er weckt mich nicht: Ich muß

Harrn auf heißer Tage Kuß,

Auf den Zarn im Krönungskranz;

Nur für ihn birgt Morgenglanz

Duft und Schönheit, unerkannt,

Unterm Tau aus Diamant.


Afanasy Fet (5 december 1820 – 3 december 1892)


De Duitse dichteres en schrijfster Eugenie Marlitt werd geboren op 5 december 1825 in Arnstadt. Zie ook alle tags voor Eugenie Marlitt op dit blog.


Uit: Goldelse

“Herr von Gnadewitz, der Letzte seines Stammes, war Kammerherr in Fürstlich X.schen Diensten, zudem Inhaber hoher Orden und verschiedener Rittergüter, wie auch Besitzer aller Charaktereigenschaften, die, seiner Ansicht nach, einem Hochgebornen zukommen, und die er »vornehm« nannte, weil dem gemeinen Manne bei der derben Hausmannskost der Moral und dem strengen Muß der Verhältnisse und Sitten jedwedes Verständnis für jene unnachahmliche Grazie und Eleganz des Lasters abgehe.

Herr Wolf von Gnadewitz war auch prachtliebend, wie sein Großvater, der das alte Schloß Gnadeck aus dem Berge in Thüringen, die Wiege seines Geschlechts, verließ, um sich drunten im Thale einen wahren Feensitz im italienischen Geschmacke aufzubauen. Sein Enkel ließ das alte Haus droben noch mehr verfallen und erweiterte und verschönerte das neue Schloß um ein beträchtliches. Ja, es schien, als hege Herr Wolf von Gnadewitz nicht den leisesten Zweifel, daß der Letzte seines Geschlechts dereinst als allerjüngstes Menschenkind beim Weltgerichte erscheinen werde; denn um alle neu angebauten Gemächer auszufüllen, durfte der alte Stamm getrost zahllose Zweige treiben. Allein, das hieß die Rechnung ohne den Wirt gemacht. Herr Wolf von Gnadewitz hatte zwar einen Sohn, der schon mit zwanzig Jahren ein so vollendeter Gnadewitz war, daß selbst das glänzende Bild des Ahnherrn mit dem Rade vor ihm erbleichen mußte. Aber der junge Herr hatte eines Tages, bei Gelegenheit der ersten, großen Jagd im Herbst , einem Treiber mit der Hetzpeitsche einen furchtbaren Schlag über den Kopf versetzt, und zwar mit vollstem Rechte, wie alle eingeladenen Teilnehmer an der Jagd einmütig versicherten, denn der Tölpel hatte den Lieblingshund des Herrn dermaßen auf die Pfoten getreten, daß das Tier für den ganzen Tag untauglich geworden war.”


Eugenie Marlitt (5 december 1825 – 22 juni 1887)



De Duitse schrijver Hans Hellmut Kirst werd geboren op 5 december 1914 te Osterode (voorm. Ost Preussen, nu Polen). Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2010.


Uit: Deutschland deine Ostpreußen

„Dies ist ein Buch voller Vorurteile. Nicht wenige Zeitgenossen besitzen stattliche Mengen davon – nicht zuletzt Ostpreußen gegenüber. Auch ich bin randgefüllt damit – aber das sogar für Ostpreußen. Da ich aber das eine nicht übergehen, das andere nicht vergessen kann, ist es durchaus möglich, dass sich das irgendwie ausgleicht. Die Liebe jedoch, die ich für dieses Land und seine Menschen – für einen großen Teil davon zumindest – empfinde, werde ich in diesem Buch kaum verleugnen können. Durchaus denkbar jedoch, dass die Ostpreußen selbst das gar nicht merken. Denn jeder von

ihnen hat sein ureigenes Verhältnis zu diesem Land. Das sei ihnen nicht nur gegönnt – sie haben es auch verdient.


„Der Bengel gehorcht mir nicht, aber das kann ich ihmnicht verdenken. Er hat zwei Dienstmädchen verführt, den Pastor verprügelt und seinen Bruder mit einem Messer bedroht, das mag ja zur Not noch angehen. Aber dieser Lümmel schreibt sogar Gedichte!

Da kann man bloß noch sagen – Erbarmung!“

Hans Hellmut Kirst (5 december 1914 – 23 februari 1989)



Zie voor onderstaande schrijver ook mijn blog van 5 december 2010


De Indische dichter Josh Malihabadi werd geboren in Malihabad in Brits India op 5 december 1898. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008.