Björn Kuhligk, Amy Tan, Dmitri Lipskerov, Thomas Brasch

De Duitse dichter en schrijver Björn Kuhligk werd geboren op 19 februari 1975 in Berlijn. Zie ook alle tags voor Björn Kuhligk op dit blog.


Während des Freitagsgebetes

                                                            (für Katja Krauß)




die kopftuchgebückten Frauen

auf den Feldern, von den Minaretten

fallen die Worte wie Ringe um die Häuser, abends

stellen sich Sprenger an, die zerfallenen

Gewächshäuser, eine Ansammlung

Zelte, vor denen zwei Kinder am Feuer

bei Nacht der Swimmingpool, pauschal-beleuchtet

bis ins Hellblau, das Anschlagen der Zikaden 

in den Dörfern stehen Häuser leer, auf den Dächern

rostende Wassertonnen, LADIES


der Clubtanz, Hände hoch und rechts und links


die Sonne seilt sich, das kennt man hier, wie jeden Abend


die Fotoserie, in der ein Pärchen am Meer

und freundlich auf das Wasser blickt

über den nackten Oberkörpern am Morgen

drei Kampfjets Richtung Osten

dann der Clubtanz, Hände hoch und rechts

und links, irgendjemand macht das Foto





Hier ist ein Wald

da sind die Bäume

darin sind die Ringe

darin schläft die Angst


du schlägst zu mit der Axt

und trinkst den Harzstein mit


und das Lieblingstier

das ist der Affe im Zoo

den kannst du besuchen

und er dich nicht


Björn Kuhligk (Berlijn, 19 februari 1975)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Björn Kuhligk, Amy Tan, Dmitri Lipskerov, Thomas Brasch”

Amy Tan, Dmitri Lipskerov, Thomas Brasch, Björn Kuhligk

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Amy Tan werd geboren in Oakland, Ohio, op 19 februari 1952. Zie ook alle tags voor Amy Tan op dit blog.


Uit: Two Kinds

„My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America. You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement. You could buy a house with almost no money down. You could become rich. You could become instantly famous.
“Of course, you can be a prodigy, too,” my mother told me when I was nine. “You can be best anything. What does Auntie Lindo know? Her daughter, she is only best tricky.”
America was where all my mother’s hopes lay. She had come to San Francisco in 1949 after losing everything in China: her mother and father, her home, her first husband, and two daughters, twin baby girls. But she never looked back with regret. Things could get better in so many ways.

We didn’t immediately pick the right kind of prodigy. At first my mother thought I could be a Chinese Shirley Temple. We’d watch Shirley’s old movies on TV as though they were training films. My mother would poke my arm and say, “Ni kan.You watch.” And I would see Shirley tapping her feet, or singing a sailor song, or pursing her lips into a very round O while saying “Oh, my goodness.”
Ni kan,” my mother said, as Shirley’s eyes flooded with tears. “You already know how. Don’t need talent for crying!”
Soon after my mother got this idea about Shirley Temple, she took me to the beauty training school in the Mission District and put me in the hands of a student who could barely hold the scissors without shaking. Instead of getting big fat curls, I emerged with an uneven mass of crinkly black fuzz. My mother dragged me off to the bathroom and tried to wet down my hair.
“You look like a Negro Chinese,” she lamented, as if I had done this on purpose.“


Amy Tan (Oakland, 19 februari 1952)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Amy Tan, Dmitri Lipskerov, Thomas Brasch, Björn Kuhligk”

Siri Hustvedt, Helen Fielding, Jaan Kross, Herbert Rosendorfer, Amy Tan

De Amerikaanse schrijfster en essayiste Siri Hustvedt werd geboren op 19 februari 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2010.


Uit: Wat me lief was (Vertaald door Heleen ten Holt) 


„Ieder incident speelde zich af volgens hetzelfde vaste patroon: eerste de treurige ontdekking, dan de woede van de getroffene, dan Marks terugkomst en heftige ontkenningen. Ja, hij was weggelopen, maar hij had niets slechts gedaan. Hij had rondgelopen in de stad. Dat was alles. Hij had behoefte om alleen te zijn. Hij had niet ’s nachts in Philips auto gereden. Als er een deuk achter het portier zat, had iemand anders de stationwagon zeker gestolen. Ja, hij was die nacht van huis weggelopen, maar hij had geen geld gestolen. Violet vergiste zich, waarschijnlijk had ze het uitgegeven of verkeerd geteld. Marks verontwaardigde ontkenningen waren vreemd irrationeel. Alleen als hij met een direct bewijs werd geconfronteerd, bekende hij schuld. Als je erop terugkijkt was alles wat Mark deed akelig voorspelbaar, maar we keken toentertijd geen van allen terug, en hoewel zijn gedrag volgens een cyclus verliep, waren we niet helderziend. We konden de dag van zijn rebellie niet voorspellen.
Mark was een raadsel dat op verschillende manieren kon worden uitgelegd. Het kwam me voor dat er twee manieren waren om zijn gedrag te begrijpen, die allebei een vorm van dualisme betroffen. De eerste was manicheïstisch. Marks dubbele leven was een slinger die tussen licht en donker heen en weer zwaait. Een deel van hem wilde echt zijn best doen. Hij hield van zijn ouders en zijn vrienden, maar hij werd met regelmatige tussenpozen overvallen door plotselinge impulsen, waar hij aan toegaf.“



Siri Hustvedt (Northfield, 19 februari 1955)



Doorgaan met het lezen van “Siri Hustvedt, Helen Fielding, Jaan Kross, Herbert Rosendorfer, Amy Tan”

Siri Hustvedt, Helen Fielding, Jaan Kross, Herbert Rosendorfer, Amy Tan, Dmitri Lipskerov

De Amerikaanse schrijfster en essayiste Siri Hustvedt werd geboren op 19 februari 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2009.


Uit: The Shaking Woman Or A History Of My Nerves


When my father died, I was at home in Brooklyn, but only days before I had been sitting beside his bed in a nursing home in Northfield, Minnesota. Although he was weak in body, his mind remained sharp, and I remember that we talked and even laughed, though I can’t recall the content of our last conversation. I can, however, clearly see the room where he lived at the end of his life. My three sisters, my mother, and I had hung pictures on the wall and bought a pale green bedspread to make the room less stark. There was a vase of flowers on the windowsill. My father had emphysema, and we knew he would not last long. My sister Liv, who lives in Minnesota, was the only daughter with him on the final day. His lung had collapsed for the second time, and the doctor understood that he would not survive another intervention. While he was still conscious, but unable to speak, my mother called her three daughters in New York City, one by one, so we could talk to him on the telephone.

I distinctly remember that I paused to think about what I should say to him. I had the curious thought that I should not utter something stupid at such a moment, that I should choose my words carefully. I wanted to say something memorable— an absurd thought, because my father’s memory would soon be snuffed out with the rest of him. But when my mother put the telephone to his ear, all I could do was choke out the words “I love you so much.” Later, my mother told me that when he heard my voice, he smiled.

That night I dreamed that I was with him and he reached out for me, that I fell toward him for an embrace, and then, before he could put his arms around me, I woke up. My sister Liv called me the next morning to say that our father was dead. Immediately after that conversation, I stood

up from the chair where I had been sitting, climbed the stairs to my study, and sat down to write his eulogy. My father had asked me to do it. Several weeks earlier, when I was sitting beside him in the nursing home, he had mentioned “three points” he wanted me to take down. He didn’t say, “I want you to include them in the text you will write for my funeral.” He didn’t have to. It was understood.“



Siri Hustvedt (Northfield, 19 februari 1955)



De Engelse schrijfster Helen Fielding werd geboren in Morley, Yorkshire op 19 februari 1958. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2009.


Uit: Cause Celeb


It used to seem extraordinary to me that someone like Henry could actually exist, extraordinary that a person could be transported into an environment so alien to his own, and remain so utterly unaffected by his surroundings. It was as if he had been coated with a very strong sealant, the sort of thing they use to paint on oceangoing yachts.

Henry was spreading thick cut luxury marmalade from a Fortnum and Mason’s jar on a piece of Nambulan unleavened bread.

“Got up this morning, didn’t Boris Believe it—family of eight outside my hut wanting to move their tent nearer the river. I said to the chap, ‘I thought this was a bloody refugee camp, not a holiday camp, but you go ahead, mate, by all means. Never mind the old malnutrition—you go for the view.'”

Breakfast was taken in Safila, just after dawn. It was a quiet time, the hour before the heat became intolerable, with the silence broken only by the rooster and Henry, who was incapable of shutting up except when he was asleep. I was particularly annoyed by Henry that morning, because I suspected he had started an affair with one of our more emotionally fragile nurses, Sian. She was sitting next to him now, giving him a look you could have spread on a piece of toast. Sian was a sweet-natured girl who had joined us two months ago, after returning early from night shift to find her husband of eighteen months in bed with a Turkish minicab driver. Her therapy was being continued via correspondence.“



Helen Fielding (Morley, 19 februari 1958)


De Estlandse schrijver Jaan Kross werd geboren op 19 februari 1920 in Tallin. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2009.


Uit: Der Verrückte des Zaren (Vertaald door  Helga Viira)


« WOISECK, DONNERSTAG, DEN 26. MAI 1827. Zunächst möchte ich den Anlaß festhalten, der mich dieses Tagebuch beginnen läßt. Ja, ich schreibe »beginnen«, denn ob ich es fortführen werde, ist nicht abzusehen. Es scheint mir überaus zweifelhaft — weder die Zeit noch das Land noch gar unsere Familie sind geeignet für das Führen eines Tagebuches. Wenn überhaupt ein Tagebuch, kann es allenfalls ein völlig geheimes werden. Und gerade deshalb ist es möglich, den Grund seines Entstehens gleich zu Anfang auszusprechen.

Also: Ich habe mich entschlossen, Tagebuch zu führen, weil ich in Dinge verstrickt bin, die meines Erachtens so ungewöhnlich sind, daß ein denkender Mensch, der ungewollt ihr Zeuge geworden ist, nicht umhinkann, den Versuch zu unternehmen, seine Beobachtungen niederzuschreiben. Möglich,

daß nur ein oberflächlicher Denker so handelt. Jemand, der tiefer in die Dinge eindringt, würde bestimmt auf jegliche Aufzeichnungen verzichten. Weiß Gott.

Freilich, wenn ich zurückschaue, muß ich bekennen: Ich bin nicht erst jüngst in all das hineingeraten. Seit zehn Jahren bereits, nein, viel länger, bin ich darin verwickelt. Ich selbst habe mich in dieser Zeit in ein Kuriosum verwandelt. Denn welch anderer Bauernjunge aus der Gemeinde Holstfershof hätte in all den Jahren, man kann sagen seit 1814, das lernen und sehen können, was mir eine Reihe von Zufällen, die wechselten wie die Kulissen in einer italienischen Oper, zu Augen kommen ließ .. .

Also, heute vor zwei Wochen sind wir bei heftigem Frühlingsregen aus Petersburg hier in Woiseck eingetroffen: Eeva, der achtjährige Jüri, den sie entgegen meinem Ratschlag nach Petersburg mitgenommen hatte, Timo, der Diener Käsper, das Zimmermädchen Liiso und ich. Und der Kutscher Juhan natürlich. Des weiteren ein Feldjäger und drei Gendarmen. »



Jaan Kross (19 februari 1920 – 27 december 2007)


De Duitse schrijver Herbert Rosendorfer werd op 19 februari 1934 in Gries geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2009.


Uit: Briefe in die chinesische Vergangenheit


“Erster Brief

(Mittwoch, io. Juli)


Treuer Freund Dji-gu.

Die Zukunft ist ein Abgrund. Ich würde die Reise nicht noch einmal machen. Nicht das schwärzeste

Chaos ist mit dem zu vergleichen, was unserem bedauernswerten Menschengeschlecht bevorsteht. Wenn ich könnte, würde ich sofort zurückkehren. Ich fühle mich in eine Fremde von unbeschreiblicher Kälte hinausgeworfen. (Obwohl es auch hier Sommer ist.) Für heute nur soviel: ich bin, in Anbetracht der ungewöhnlichen Art meiner Reise, leidlich gut angekommen. Ich kann nur rasch diese Zeilen kritzeln und den Zettel an den Kontaktpunkt legen. Ich hoffe, Du findest ihn. In Liebe grüßt Dich Dein



Zweiter Brief

(Samstag, ‘3. Juli)


Teurer Freund Dji-gu.

Die Zukunft ist ein Abgrund. Ich glaube, ich habe diesen Satz schon auf den Zettel geschrieben, den ich Dir vor drei Tagen an den Kontaktpunkt gelegt habe — hoffentlich hast Du ihn gefunden und machst Dir keine Sorgen um mich. Was ich hier erlebe, ist so vollständig anders als das, was Du kennst und was ich gewohnt bin, daß ich gar nicht weiß, womit ich meine Schilderung beginnen soll. Hier — ich müßte eigentlich nicht »hier« sagen, sondern »jetzt«. Aber dieses »jetzt« ist so unvorstellbar fremd., daß es mir schwerfällt, an die Identität dieses »Ortes« mit dem Ort zu glauben, an dem Du — durch genau tausend Jahre getrennt — lebst.

Tausend Jahre, das weiß ich nun, sind ein Zeitraum, den der menschliche Verstand nicht fassen kann. Gewiß: Du kannst zählen — eins, zwei, drei … bis tausend — und Dir dabei vorzustellen versuchen, es vergehe jedesmal ein Jahr dabei, Geschlechter, Kaiser, ganze Dynastien wechselten, die Sterne wanderten … “



Herbert Rosendorfer (Gries, 19 februari 1934)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Amy Tan werd geboren in Oakland, Ohio, op 19 februari 1952. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2009.


Uit: Feathers from a Thousand Li Away


„The olde woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum. This bird, boasted the market vendor, was once a duck that stretched its neck in hopes of becoming a goose, and now look! – it it too beautiful to eat.

Then the woman and the swan sailed across an ocean many thousands of li wide, stretching their necks towards America. On her journey she cooed to the swan: “In America I will have a daughter just like me. But over there nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husband’s belch. Over there nobody will look down on her, because I will make her speak only perfect American English.And over there she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow! She will know my meaning, because I will give her this swan– a creature that became more than what was hoped for.”

But when she arrived in the new country, the immigration officials pulled her swan away from her, leaving the woman fluttering her arms and with only one swan feather for a memory. And then she had to fill out so many forms she forgot why she had come and what she had left behind.

Now the woman was old. And she had a daughter who grew up speaking only English and swallowing more Coca-Cola than sorrow. For a long time now the woman had wanted to give her daughter the single feather and tell her, “This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions.” And she waited, year after year, for the day she could tell her daughter this in perfect American English.“



Amy Tan (Oakland, 19 februari 1952)


De Russische schrijver Dmitri Lipskerov werd geboren op 19 februari 1964 in Moskou. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2009.


The Last Sleep of Reason (vertaald door Dmitri Priven)


“But that day did not see the Guinness Book of Records man, the Bulgarian Zhechka Zhechkov, show up. A special courier arrived at the hospital, announcing that on that day, in one of the city parks there was to be cook-up of a record quantity of perogies. Two hundred and fifty thousand of them were to

be cooked simultaneously in one hundred cauldrons and consumed by a thousand eaters. The last thing the courier said was that the Guinness representative would show up the following day with a group of independent medical experts.

“Those bloody guzzlers!” concluded Sinichkin and sighed, for his dreams would not be coming true for another day. Yet the night brought an unbearable chill to Volodya’s thighs. The chill went right to the bone of detective’s limbs; he reached under the blanket and discovered that the diaphanous skin on his legs was covered with ice, that is to say, hoarfrost.

“My body temperature is negative,” concluded the captain and whimpered for the nurse.

The nurse called Petrovna appeared and rubbed Volodya’s frigid legs warm with alcohol until dawn, humming something ancient for the poor darling to fall asleep.

The captain dozed off, but found his legs in the morning drastically thinner. It was as if the limbs had deflated in half, like balloons. They did not require three beds anymore; two was enough.

The assistant – that is, the acting head physician – was called in; after examining Sinichkin, he frowned and lamented reproachfully: “Why couldn’t you wait until the evening! The Guinness man is coming today, you know!”



Dmitri Lipskerov (Moskou, 19 februari 1964)

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 19e februari ook mijn vorige twee blogs van vandaag.


Siri Hustvedt, Jaan Kross, Herbert Rosendorfer, Dmitri Lipskerov, Helen Fielding, Amy Tan, Carson McCullers, Thomas Brasch

De Amerikaanse schrijfster en essayiste Siri Hustvedt werd geboren op 19 februari 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007


Uit: The Sorrows of an American


„My sister called it “the year of secrets,” but when I look back on it now, I’ve come to understand that it was a time not of what was there, but of what wasn’t. A patient of mine once said, “There are ghosts walking around inside me, but they don’t always talk. Sometimes they have nothing to say.” Sarah squinted or kept her eyes closed most of the time because she was afraid the light would blind her. I think we all have ghosts inside us, and it’s better when they speak than when they don’t. After my father died, I couldn’t talk to him in person anymore, but I didn’t stop having conversations with him in my head. I didn’t stop seeing him in my dreams or stop hearing his words. And yet it was what my father hadn’t said that took over my life for a while—what he hadn’t told us. It turned out that he wasn’t the only person who had kept secrets. On January sixth, four days after his funeral, Inga and I came across the letter in his study.

We had stayed on in Minnesota with our mother to begin tackling the job of sifting through his papers. We knew that there was a memoir he had written in the last years of his life, as well as a box containing the letters he had sent to his parents—many of them from his years as a soldier in the Pacific during World War II—but there were other things in that room we had never seen. My father’s study had a particular smell, one slightly different from the rest of the house. I wondered if all the cigarettes he’d smoked and the coffee he’d drunk and the rings those endless cups had left on the desk over forty years had acted upon the atmosphere of that room to produce the unmistakable odor that hit me when I walked through the door. The house is sold now. A dental surgeon bought it and did extensive renovations, but I can still see my father’s study with its wall of books, the filing cabinets, the long desk he had built himself, and the plastic organizer on it, which despite its transparency had small handwritten labels on every drawer—“Paper Clips,” “Hearing Aid Batteries,” “Keys to the Garage,” “Erasers.”



Siri Hustvedt (Northfield, 19 februari 1955)


De Estlandse schrijver Jaan Kross werd geboren op 19 februari 1920 in Tallin. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008.


Uit: Treading Air (Vertaald door Eric Dickens)


„My immediate superior in this new job was, as said above, the private secretary to the Prime-Minister, Major Tilgre. He no doubt came from the fertile province of Mulgimaa, but was, for all that, a particularly dry individual, a thoroughly correct man of around forty-five. In actual fact, Tilgre had less to do with me than Head of Chancery Terras who was in formal terms a much higher and more distant boss. This smallish man was the soul of discretion, came originally from the Virumaa province near the capital and had graduated from Saint Petersburg University. He had qualities ideal for a civil servant – he was entirely inconspicuous. But he was always there when he was needed. And inconspicuous, thus indispensable, to such a degree that he stayed in his post for over twenty years, during all the changes of government which Estonia underwent. And what’s more, he stayed at his post even during the first few weeks of 1946, that is to say during Barbarus’ time as prime-minister, until one of the informers in place by that time noticed, and the inevitable came to pass. The Head of the Chancery was arrested and given the choice of dying a year later what was a normal death at the Solikam labour camp, of hunger and dysentery, or to freeze to death, which, God rest his soul, was, as we all know, the normal death for someone of his calibre.“



Jaan Kross (19 februari 1920 – 27 december 2007)


De Duitse schrijver Herbert Rosendorfer werd op 19 februari 1934 in Gries geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008.


Uit: Letters Back to Ancient China (Vertaald door Michael Mitchell)


My dear friend Dji-gu,


The future is an abyss. I think I wrote that on the note I placed at the contact point for you three days ago (I hope it reached you so that you will not be worrying about my safe arrival). The things I have seen here are so completely different from everything to which you and I are accustomed, that I do not know where to start. Here – actually I shouldn’t say ‘here’, I should say ‘now’, but this ‘now’ is so unimaginably foreign that I find it difficult to believe that this is the same place where you are living, even if separated by the space of a thousand years. A thousand years. Now I realise that that is a stretch of time which the human mind cannot encompass. Of course, you can start counting, one, two, three … until you reach a thousand, and try to imagine that with each number a year passes, generations come and go, emperors, even whole dynasties change, the stars pursue their courses … but I tell you, a thousand years is more than mere elapsed time: a thousand years is such a colossal mountain of time that even the boldest imagination cannot spread its wings and fly over it.

A thousand years is not ‘now’ and ‘ then’, a thousand years is ‘here’ and ‘there’. I will stick to ‘here’.

I’m glad I managed to find the contact point again, where I am going to deposit this letter. For that I have to thank a man who has helped me very much and is still helping me. More about him later. I could not have found the point without someone else’s help, for our Kai-feng has changed so completely that it seems like a different city to me. That may perhaps be connected with the fact that the river has changed direction; now it flows almost due north. The city has grown incredibly large and almost unbearably noisy. From what I have seen so far, there is not the least trace left of any of those palaces, which looked to us as if they were built for eternity, not to mention ordinary houses. Even the hills have gone. Everything is flat.”



Herbert Rosendorfer (Gries, 19 februari 1934)


De Russische schrijver Dmitri Lipskerov werd geboren op 19 februari 1964 in Moskou. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008.

Uit: Le Dernier Rêve de la Raison

„Ilya Ilyassov le Tatare vendait du poisson frais dans un magasin qui s’appelait « Alimentation ». Ce vendeur avait entre autres à sa disposition un grand comptoir de marbre, couvert des entailles qu’avait causées un énorme trancheur, alourdi de morceaux de plomb pour que le couteau ne glisse pas de la main quand on avait affaire à un poisson particulièrement grand, dont il n’était pas facile d’ouvrir le ventre dur.
Pour être plus précis, Ilya n’était pas supposé se limiter au poisson frais, pêché sur place dans un grand aquarium aux eaux sombres, à l’aide d’une épuisette dont le manche de chêne avait été poli à en briller par ses mains calleuses : le Tatare vendait aussi du poisson surgelé, qu’il ne considérait pas comme du poisson, mais les demandes insistantes des clients l’avaient obligé à en fournir. Les clients expliquaient que le poisson congelé convenait bien pour les tourtes au levain, agrémentées d’œufs durs émiettés. D’un autre côté, il était bon en simple friture à la chapelure, et il était également irremplaçable pour nourrir toutes sortes d’animaux domestiques — chats, chiens…, une gentille créature d’âge vénérable nourrissait même de cabillaud congelé un canari à la voix puissante, qui mourut bientôt de la très profonde solitude dans laquelle il se trouvait.“


Dmitri Lipskerov (Moskou, 19 februari 1964)


De Engelse schrijfster Helen Fielding werd geboren in Morley, Yorkshire op 19 februari 1958. Fielding begon met columns te schrijven onder het pseudoniem Bridget Jones in de krant The Independent. Door het succes hiervan besloot Helen Fielding een boek te schrijven over Bridget Jones. Het boek Bridget Jones’s Diary kwam in 1996 uit en werd in 2001 verfilmd met in de hoofdrollen Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth en Hugh Grant.


Uit: Bridget Jones’s Diary


„Noon. London: my flat. Ugh. The last thing on earth I feel physically, emotionally or mentally equipped to do is drive to Una and Geoffrey Alconbury’s New Year’s Day Turkey Curry Buffet in Grafton Underwood. Geoffrey and Una Alconbury are my parents’ best friends and, as Uncle Geoffrey never tires of reminding me, have known me since I was running round the lawn with no clothes on. My mother rang up at 8:30 in the morning last August Bank Holiday and forced me to promise to go. She approached it via a cunningly circuitous route.

“Oh, hello, darling. I was just ringing to see what you wanted for Christmas.”


“Would you like a surprise, darling?”

“No!” I bellowed. “Sorry. I mean …”

“I wondered if you’d like a set of wheels for your suitcase.”

“But I haven’t got a suitcase.”

“Why don’t I get you a little suitcase with wheels attached. You know, like air hostesses have.”

“I’ve already got a bag.”

“Oh, darling, you can’t go around with that tatty green canvas thing. You look like some sort of Mary Poppins person who’s fallen on hard times. Just a little compact case with a pull-out handle. It’s amazing how much you can get in. Do you want it in navy on red or red on navy?”

“Mum. It’s eight-thirty in the morning. It’s summer. It’s very hot. I don’t want an air-hostess bag.”



Helen Fielding (Morley, 19 februari 1958)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Amy Tan werd geboren in Oakland, Ohio, op 19 februari 1952. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008.


Uit: The Best American Short Stories 1999


The following year, I was in another English class at another college, and the same novel was assigned. This time I wrote a theme paper that noted the brilliant characterization – how, despite the

panorama of events and the opportunities afforded these characters, nothing much had changed in their lives, and how this so convincingly captured the realism of ennui. It represented the pervasive American sense of a lost generation whose lives, singly or together, held no hope or direction. My paper received high praise.

By the time I graduated, I was sick of reading literary fiction. My osmotic imagination had changed into one with filters, lint traps. I thought that literary tastes were an established norm that depended on knowing what others more expert than I thought was best.

For the next twelve years, I read an occasional novel. But I did not return to my habit of reading a story a day until 1985. By then I had become a successful but unhappy person, with work that was

lucrative but meaningless. This was one of those moments that cause people to either join a religious cult, spend a lot of money on psychotherapy, or take up the less drastic and more economical

practice of writing fiction.”



Amy Tan (Oakland, 19 februari 1952)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Carson McCullers werd geboren als Lula Carson Smith 19 februari 1917 in Columbus, Georgia. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007


Uit: The Member of the Wedding


“It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid. In June the trees were bright dizzy green, but later the leaves darkened, and the town turned black and shrunken under the glare of the sun. At first Frankie walked around doing one thing and another. The sidewalks of the town were gray in the early morn
ing and at night, but the noon sun put a glaze on them, so that the cement burned and glittered like glass. The sidewalks finally became too hot for Frankie’s feet, and also she got herself in trouble. She was in so much secret trouble that she thought it was better to stay at home—and at home there was only Berenice Sadie Brown and John Henry West. The three of them sat at the kitchen table, saying the same things over and over, so that by August the words began to rhyme with each other and sound strange. The world seemed to die each afternoon and nothing moved any longer. At last the summer was like a green sick dream, or like a silent crazy jungle under glass. And then, on the last Friday of August, all this was changed: it was so sudden that Frankie puzzled the whole blank afternoon, and still she did not understand.

“It is so very queer,” she said. “The way it all just happened.”

“Happened? Happened?” said Berenice.

John Henry listened and watched them quietly.

“I have never been so puzzled.”

“But puzzled about what?”

“The whole thing,” Frankie said.”



Carson McCullers (19 februari 1917 – 29 september 1967)


De Duitse dichter en schrijver Thomas Brasch werd geboren in Westow,Yorkshire (Engeland) op 19 februari 1945. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2008.


Was ist das


Was ist das zwischen einsam und allein 

als wär ich nur vergangen wie im Flug 

rings um die Erde doch ein Stein 

bin ich mir nicht geworden. Ach genug


für einen zweiten andren Flug hab ich 

noch Kraft und Lüfte auch.


Dass ich mich endlich selber brauch


Thomas Brasch (19 februari 1945 – 3 november 2001)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 19e februari ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.



Thomas Brasch, Jaan Kross, Siri Hustvedt, Dmitri Lipskerov, Amy Tan, Herbert Rosendorfer, Carson McCullers, Mark Prager Lindo

De Duitse dichter en schrijver Thomas Brasch werd geboren in Westow,Yorkshire (Engeland) op 19 februari 1945. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007


Mitten am Tag eine Furcht

Ich weiß nicht wovor

Vor mir das Kottbusser Tor

Hinter mir leises Rufen und Flüstern

Jeder Schritt wird mir schwer

Wer tut mir was Keiner ist hier

Aber alle sind hinter mir her

Dann ist es in der Straße still

Ich bin ausgedacht

Welches Feuer ich will

Habe ich angefacht



Thomas Brasch (19 februari 1945 – 3 november 2001)


De Estlandse schrijver Jaan Kross werd geboren op 19 februari 1920 in Tallin. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007


Uit: The Czar’s Madman

Until that time, I had only spent a few hours at Voisiku, on that day in the autumn of 1813 when Eeva and I were sent off in a coach, on our way to our new life.

I knew that the estate did not rank among the most splendid in Livonia, but it was one of the more prominent estates in the northern part of Viljandi province, if not by virtue of the splendour of its manor, then by the number of its buildings, the age of its park, the size of the orchard, and, above all, by the size of its holdings which extended all the way to the valleys of the Pedja and Ema rivers.

The so-called new manor, already a century old, was a stone building with a main floor and an attic. Even though my peasant standards had already been elevated by our sojourn at Masing’s two parsonages, the luxuriousness of the place stunned me at first. Now I understood: if I had had to move there four years ago, I would have felt timid and awkward, just like any other young peasant. Now I found the luxury disturbing, and the more I thought about it, the more I had to admit that it evoked a feeling of impatience in me…

On the main floor there were sixteen rooms and a kitchen. The attic floor had four rooms for servants and visitors of minor importance. I asked Eeva for one of these, even though it had been her original intention to let me occupy two rooms on the ground floor. I liked it better up there under the roof, and I would have the place to myself. So it was agreed for me to move into the garret facing the orchard in the left wing of the manor. By the way: although Timo had two studies at his disposal on the ground floor, he also chose one of the garret rooms in the right wing as yet another study to read and write in. For the same reason: greater privacy. I didn’t even have to use the main entrance and make my way past all the von Bocks and von Rautenfeldts staring down into the great hall from their gilt picture frames in their wigs and once fashionable coiffures.

The staircase to the upper floor could be reached from the door on the orchard side, and I used it from the very first day I spent here. Timo and Eeva insisted that I take at least dinner with them every day. I didn’t object to that, since no one appeared at their dinner table except for themselves and Dr Robst. Timo’s younger brothers, Georg and Karl, were both away, and his sister Elisabeth (I think I mentioned this before), who got married four years ago, now lived in Estonia. Elisabeth did not make any efforts to visit her favourite brother and his young wife, something I would have thought the normal thing to do. But we were not a normal case, and we found that out soon enough, in a number of ways. As soon as Eeva and Timo had arrived at Voisiku, they sent out the customary invitations to their neighbours – at least to those neighbours of whom it might be assumed that they weren’t busy denouncing this marriage as Jacobinical swinishness or canine rutting.”



Jaan Kross (19 februari 1920 – 27 december 2007)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster en essayiste Siri Hustvedt werd geboren op 19 februari 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007


Uit: What I Loved

Art is mysterious, but selling art may be even more mysterious. The object itself if bought and sold, handed from one person to another, and yet countless factors are at work within the transaction. In order to grow in value, a work of art requires a particular psychological climate. At that moment, SoHo provided exactly the right amount of mental heat for art to thrive and for prices to soar. Expensive work from every period must be impregnated by the intangible-an idea of worth. This idea has the paradoxical effect of detaching the name of the artist from the thing, and the name becomes the commodity that is bought and sold. The object merely trails after the name as its solid proof. Of course, the artist himself or herself has little to do with any of it. But in those years, whenever I went for groceries or stood in line at the post office, I heard the names. Schnabel, Salle, Fischl, Sherman were magic words then, like the ones in the fairy tales I read to Matt every night. They opened sealed doors and filled empty pouches with gold. The name Wechsler wasn’t fated for full-blown enchantment then, but after Bernie’s show, it was whispered here and there, and I sensed that slowly Bill too might lose his name to the strange weather that hung over SoHo for a number of years before it stopped, suddenly, on another October day in 1987.”



Siri Hustvedt (Northfield, 19 februari 1955)


De Russische schrijver Dmitri Lipskerov werd geboren op 19 februari 1964 in Moskou. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007.


Uit: The Last Sleep of Reason (vertaald door Dmitri Priven)

“That night Volodya’s legs got frozen over like a river in winter, and he was already grateful to his wife for bandaging his sore thighs with angora wool. A forgiving woman, she was stroking her husband’s hair till the morning; he was crying bitterly, bidding farewell to his hopes for international recognition and generalship. Of all his fantasies only one remained: that Zubov would give him some of his pumpkin seeds, but then only if Major Pogosian commanded so.

The following morning Anna Karlovna found her husband’s legs absolutely recovered, at least exactly the same as they were before the relapse – just slightly swollen at thighs. Tenderly she rubbed grandma’s live cell ointment into them and helped her husband into the boots.

The police department welcomed Sinichkin back with mixed feelings. Major Pogosian patted him on the shoulder, but then lifted up his hands with typical Armenian sadness and talked at length that fame can spoil you and it is all good that the record did not happen.

Karapetian was scratching his sideburns without saying a word, but thought deep down that Captain Sinichkin was a complete nobody, wearing on his shoulder-straps the star that was rightfully Karapetian’s.

As usual, the Armenian lunch was served at two; poor Zubov again was getting bashed. The topic chewed over was Russian woman’s influence on Armenian man’s psyche. One of the officers even suggested that a relationship with a fair-haired people causes the Caucasus man to lose hair five times as fast, and not only on the head but also chest and back.

Sergeant-major Zubov tried to elucidate what the connection was between the psyche and baldness, but was commanded to shut up; however, swallowing a piece of roast lamb, Zubov-Zubian expressed protest in the form of unbuttoning his uniform. A perfect silence reigned over the table when the dining audience had beheld a stupendous sight, which Sinichkin named to himself “A Sheep Before Shearing”. The sergeant-major’s chest was a darker shade of black so dense was the hair on it. His skin was not showing one bit under the brunette vegetation, and the seasoned Armenians sulked in view of such hormonal assets of their colleague.

Zubov offered to model his back and behind, hinting vulgarly that the degree of shagginess on those body parts is no less than on his chest, but the officers waved him off, and Major Pogosian warned that he would shoot the moron if he took his pants off at the dinner table.

Such was Sergeant-major Zubov’s little victory over his fellow countrymen, and he was flashing a conceited smirk from under his multi-tiered nose all afternoon.”



Dmitri Lipskerov (Moskou, 19 februari 1964)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Amy Tan werd geboren in Oakland, Ohio, op 19 februari 1952. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007.


Uit: Saving Fish From Drowning

It was not my fault. If only the group had followed my original itinerary without changing it hither, thither, and yon, this debacle would never have happened. But such was not the case, and there you have it, I regret to say.
“Following the Buddha’s Footsteps” is what I named the expedition. It was to have begun in the southwestern corner of China, in Yunnan Province, with vistas of the Himalayas and perpetual spring flowers, and then to have continued south on the famed Burma Road. This would allow us to trace the marvelous influence of various religious cultures on Buddhist art over a thousand years and a thousand miles—a fabulous journey into the past. As if that were not enough appeal, I would be both tour leader and personal docent, making the expedition a truly value-added opportunity. But in the wee hours of December 2nd, and just fourteen days before we were to leave on our expedition, a hideous thing happened . . . I died. There. I’ve finally said it, as unbelievable as it sounds. I can still see the tragic headline: “Socialite Butchered in Cult Slaying.”
The article was quite long: two columns on the left-hand side of the front page, with a color photo of me covered with an antique textile, an exquisite one utterly ruined for future sale.”



Amy Tan (Oakland, 19 februari 1952)


De Duitse schrijver Herbert Rosendorfer werd op 19 februari 1934 in Gries geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 februari 2007.


Uit: Religion mit der Faust

“Aber jetzt komme ich zur eigentlichen Problematik der Sache. Das anfängliche Würstchen und der nunmehrige Siegerheld ist nicht nur, im höheren (oder tieferen?) Boxsport nicht

ungewöhnlich, ein Neger, sofern erlaubt ist, dieses Wort noch zu gebrauchen, sondern auch, einer offenbaren Mode unter Boxnegern seit einiger Zeit folgend, Muselmane. Das heißt, er hat zu Allah gefleht. Gewinnt damit dieser Boxkampf religiöse, theologische Dimensionen? Ist damit entschieden, welche Religion die richtige ist? Also der Islam! Sollte nicht angesichts dieses offenkundigen Gottesbeweises das Kardinalskollegium den Purpur ablegen und grüne Turbane aufsetzen sowie sich vier Frauen anschaffen? Aber man zögert, scheint’s noch. Jedenfalls lese ich von keiner Reaktion von christlicher Seite. Vielleicht wird in aller Heimlichkeit ein Boxkampf vorbereitet, bei dem der eine Kontrahent Allah, der andere jene hl. Halbgöttin oder den als nicht zimperlich bekannten Erzengel Michael anruft,”



Herbert Rosendorfer (Gries, 19 februari 1934)


Zie voor onderstaande schrijvers ookmijn blog van 19 februari 2007.


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Carson McCullers werd geboren als Lula Carson Smith 19 februari 1917 in Columbus, Georgia.

De Nederlandse schrijver Mark Prager Lindo, beter bekend als Den Ouden Heer Smits werd geboren in Londen op 19 februari 1819.


Yórgos Seféris, Carson McCullers, Thomas Brasch, Jaan Kross, Siri Hustvedt, Mark Prager Lindo, Dmitri Lipskerov, Amy Tan, Herbert Rosendorfer

De Griekse dichter Yórgos (George) Seferiádis schreef onder het pseudoniem Yórgos Seféris. Hij werd geboren in Smyrna (nu Izmir, in Turkije) op 19 februari 1900 en studeerde rechten in Parijs. Hij was tot 1962 in diplomatieke dienst, het laatst als Grieks ambassadeur in Londen. Hij werd in 1963 geëerd met de Nobelprijs voor de Literatuur. Zijn gedichten ademen een sfeer van diepe melancholie, die wordt veroorzaakt door het besef van het menselijk tekort en de machteloosheid ten aanzien van onderdrukking, machtsmisbruik, geweld en oorlog. Typerend voor zijn literair werk is de alomtegenwoordigheid van het verleden in het heden, niet in het minst door de vele verwijzingen en citaten uit de klassieke en de moderne Griekse dichters. Zijn afkeer van alle geweld bracht hem in 1969 tot het publiceren van een manifest, waarin hij de militaire junta van de “Kolonels” ervan beschuldigde de vrijheid in zijn land te muilkorven.


De zee

De zee: hoe is de zee zo geworden?

Jaren heb ik verdaan in de bergen:

de glimwormen verblindden me.

Nu wacht ik op dit strand

op de aankomst van een mens,

een overblijfsel, een vlot.


Kan de zee dan gewond raken?

Ooit doorkliefde haar een dolfijn

en een andere keer

de punt van de vleugel van een meeuw.


toch waren de golven zacht

waarin ik sprong en zwom als kind

en ook nog toen ik een jonge man was

terwijl ik figuren zocht in de kiezelstenen,

speurend naar patronen,

sprak de Oude Man van de Zee tot me:

Ik ben je land:

misschien ben ik niemand

maar ik kan worden wat je wilt. 



Santorini – The naked child


Bend if you can to the dark sea forgetting
the flute’s sound on naked feet
that trod your sleep in the other, the sunken life.

Write if you can on your last shell

the day the place the name

and fling it into the sea so that it sinks.


We found ourselves naked on the pumice stone

watching the rising islands

watching the red islands sink

into their sleep, into our sleep.

Here we found ourselves naked, holding

the scales that tipped toward injustice.


Instep of power, unshadowed will, considered love,

projects that ripen in th emidday sun,

course of fate with a young hand

slapping the shoulder;

in the land that was scattered, that can’t res

in the land that was once our land

the islands, -rust and ash- are sinking.


Altars destroyed

and friends forgotten

leaves of the palm tree in mud.


Let your hands go traveling if you can

here on time’s curve wtih the ship

that touched the horizon.

When the dice struck the flagstone

when the lance struck the breast-plate

when the eye recognized the stranger

and love went dry

in punctured souls;

when looking round you see

feet harvested everywhere

dead hands everywhere

eyes darkened everywhere;

when you can’t any longer choose

even the death you wanted as your own-

hearing a cry,

even the wolf’s cry,

your due:

let your hands go traveling if you can

free yourself from unfaithful time

and sink-

So sinks whoever raises the great stones.



Yórgos Seféris (19 februari 1900 – 20 september 1971)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Carson McCullers werd geboren als Lula Carson Smith 19 februari 1917 in Columbus, Georgia. Ze schreef fictie waarin de spirituele isolatie van de buitenstaanders in de zuidelijke staten van de VS werd beschreven. Ze groeide op in Georgia, maar verhuisde op 17-jarige leeftijd naar New York om daar een cursus in Creatief Schrijven te volgen aan de universiteit. Ze trouwde met James Reeves McCullers in 1935, maar na 7 jaar huwelijk bleek de seksualiteit van beiden onduidelijk. Carson had ook een zwakke gezondheid, en werd haar hele leven geplaagd door ziekte, met name reuma, longontstekingen en kanker. Uiteindelijk overleed ze aan een zware hersenbloeding in 1967. Haar bekendste boeken zijn The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), geschreven toen zij 23 jaar was, en Reflections in a Golden Eye (1942). The Heart is a Lonely Hunter werd verfilmd in 1968 met Alan Arkin in een hoofdrol. Van Reflections in a Golden Eye maakte John Huston in 1967 een film met Marlon Brando en Elizabeth Taylor.

Uit: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

“In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together. Early every morning they would come out from the house where they lived and walk arm in arm down the street to work. The two friends were very different. The one who always steered the way was an obese and dreamy Greek. In the summer he would come out wearing a yellow or green polo shirt stuffed sloppily into his trousers in front and hanging loose behind. When it was colder he wore over this a shapeless gray sweater. His face was round and oily, with half-closed eyelids and lips that curved in a gentle, stupid smile. The other mute was tall. His eyes had a quick, intelligent expression. He was always immaculate and very soberly dressed.

Every morning the two friends walked silently together until they reac
hed the main street of the town. Then when they came to a certain fruit and candy store they paused for a moment on the sidewalk outside. The Greek, Spiros Antonapoulos, worked for his cousin, who owned this fruit store. His job was to make candies and sweets, uncrate the fruits, and to keep the place clean. The thin mute, John Singer, nearly always put his hand on his friend’s arm and looked for a second into his face before leaving him. Then after this good-bye Singer crossed the street and walked on alone to the jewelry store where he worked as a silverware engraver.”



Carson McCullers (19 februari 1917 – 29 september 1967)


De Duitse schrijver Thomas Brasch werd geboren in Westow,Yorkshire (Engeland) op 19 februari 1945, maar verhuisde twee jaar later naar het voormalige Oost-Duitsland Thomas Brasch schreef toneel, proza en gedichten waarin de weerstand van het individu tegen dwang en beperkingen centraal stond.. Hij werd van de journalistenschool gestuurd wegens ‘het belasteren van leidende persoonlijkheden van de DDR’ en ‘existentialistische opvattingen’. In 1968 werd hij veroordeeld tot 2 jaar en 3 maanden gevangenis wegens ‘vijandige ophitsing tegen de staat’ omdat hij pamfletten tegen de inval in Tsjechoslowakije had verspreid. Hij kreeg later publicatieverbod en emigreerde naar West-Duitsland waar hij overleed in 2001.

Ich weiß nicht wovor

Über mir die gelbe Sonne
Vor mir das Kottbusser Tor
Hinter mir leises Rufen und Flüstern
Jeder Schritt wird mir schwer
Wer tut mir was Keiner ist hier
Aber alle sind hinter mir her
Dann ist es in der Straße still
Ich bin ausgedacht
Welches Feuer ich will
Habe ich angefacht


Bleiben, wo ich nie gewesen bin

Was ich habe, will ich nicht verlieren, aber
wo ich bin will ich nicht bleiben, aber
die ich liebe, will ich nicht verlassen, aber
die ich kenne will ich nicht mehr sehen, aber
wo ich sterbe, da will ich nicht hin;
bleiben will ich, wo ich nie gewesen bin.


Thomas Brasch (19 februari 1945 – 3 november 2001)


De Estlandse schrijver Jaan Kross werd geboren op 19 februari 1920 in Tallin. Hij wordt beschouwd als de belangrijkste hedendaagse schrijver van Estland, zeker als de belangrijkste na Anton Hansen Tammsaare. Kross studeerde aan de Tartu universiteit rechten en sloot zijn studie in 1944 af. Hij werkte als docent en als professor voor de vrije kunsten. In 1944 werd hij gearresteerd door de Duitse bezetters en in 1946 door de Sovjets die hem deporteerden naar Siberië, waar hij tot 1954 vast zat in de Goelag. Na zijn vrijlating en terugkeer naar Estland, in die tijd nog een Sovjetrepubliek, werd hij zelfstandig schrijver en vertaler. Zijn romans zijn vrijwel allemaal historisch. In   Das Leben des Balthasar Rüssow beschrijft hij het leven in de 16e eeuw in Reval (na 1918: Tallin).


Uit: Das Leben des Balthasar Rüssow


Ehrenwerte Handwerksleut, fürnehme Stutzer und Bauernvolk! Ernveste hern und frawn von der adell! Förärade och nadigaste borgare! Herbei, herbei, herbei! Ihr erlebt ein Wunder, desgleichen Ihr Euer Lebtag weder gesehen habt noch sehen werdet!”
Der Ausrufer, ein blutjunger Bursche mit Flaum auf dem Kinn, schwitzender Nase und hellen Kulleraugen, riss sich den feuerroten goldbebänderten Hut vom Wuschelkopf. Mit derselben Bewegung wischte sein ausgefranster Ärmel die Schweißtropfen von der Nase, und sein rot-goldener Hut wies mit weit ausholendem Bogen zum blauen Himmel.
“Ein ersam rad! Schöne frawn! Tichtig junkfer! Steinmetzen und Schuhmacher! Herbei, herbei, herbei!”
Eigentlich taten das schrille dreisprachige Heroldsgeschrei und das Hutschwenken himmelwärts gar nicht mehr not, denn die durch die Große Strandpforte zur Reeperbahn hinausdrängende Volksmenge blinzelte ohnehin zum wolkenlosen Lenzhimmel.
Durch die Strandpforte kamen der vor lauter Eile seine Würde vergessende rotwangige Ratsherr Vegesack mit seiner spindeldürren, heute aber rosig angehauchten Frau sowie weitere Ratsherren mit ihren Ehegesponsen, Kaufherren, Krämer, bierbäuchige Meister und sommersprossige Gesellen, aufgeregte Bürgerstöchter mit ihren gewichtigen Mamas, flinke Dienstmägde, blaubewamste Ratssoldaten und das graue Arbeitsvolk. Alle gafften unentwegt nach oben und bogen die Hälse nach links.
Weiter rechts hastete ein Haufe Lübecker Matrosen polternd die Anlegebrücke entlang. So etwas hatten auch sie noch nicht zu Gesicht bekommen. Links rannte das Volk von Fischermai in Gruppen die Reeperbahn hinauf, gewaltige Staubwolken auf den Fersen.
Wer sich durch die Pforte gezwängt, die Grabenbrücke überschritten und sich so weit von der Mauer entfernt hatte, dass die Giebel der letzten Stadthäuser in sein Blickfeld traten, sah sämtliche Dachluken offenstehen und aus ihnen runde Augen gen Himmel blicken. Drei Knechte eines Kaufmannshauses waren sogar durch eine Luke auf den Windenbalken geklettert und saßen dort in Reih und Glied, wie Dorfjungen, die auf einem Nix reiten. Dabei starrten sie in die Luft und baumelten über der Leere mit den Beinen, was bei anderer Gelegenheit jeden in Schrecken versetzt hätte. Selbst auf die Mauer des mit Gräben und Zäunen umgebenden Pockenhauses waren Neugierige gestiegen: Von dort blickten die lilagefleckten nasenlosen Gesichter der Lustseuchigen zum Himmel.“



Jaan Kross (Tallin, 19 februari 1920)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster en essayiste Siri Hustvedt werd geboren op 19 februari 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. Haar moeder is Noorse en Hustvedt groeide tweetalig op. Toen zij veertien was wilde zij al schrijfser worden en op de Highschool schreef zij al gedichten. In 1982 trouwde zij met de acht jaar oudere schrijver Paul Auster. Zij studeerde literatuur aan de Columbia University. Haar bekendste romans zijn The Enchantment of Lily Dahl (1996) en What I Loved (2003).


Uit: A Plea for Eros (2005)


“My father once asked me if I knew where yonder was. I said I thought yonder was another word for there. He smiled and said, “No, yonder is between here and there.” This little story has stayed with me for years as an example of linguistic magic: It identified a new space—a middle region that was neither here nor there—a place that simply didn’t exist for me until it was given a name. During my father’s brief explanation of the meaning of yonder, and every time I’ve thought of it since, a landscape appears in my mind: I am standing at the crest of a small hill looking down into an open valley where there is a single tree, and beyond it lies the horizon defined by a series of low mountains or hills. This dull but serviceable image returns when I think of yonder, one of those wonderful words I later discovered linguists call “shifters”—words distinct from others because they are animated by the speaker and move accordingly. In linguistic terms this means that you can never really find yourself yonder. Once you arrive at yonder tree, it becomes here and recedes forever into that imaginary horizon. Words that wobble attract me. The fact that here and there slide and slip depending on where I am is somehow poignant, revealing both the tenuous relation between words and things and the miraculous flexibility of language”.



Siri Hustvedt (Northfield, 19 februari 1955)


De Nederlandse schrijver Mark Prager Lindo, beter bekend als Den Ouden Heer Smits werd geboren in Londen op 19 februari 1819. Als 19-jarige arriveerde Lindo in Nederland en werd na het vertalen van enkele romans van Walter Scott redacteur van het tijdschrift De Nederlandse Spectator. Dit tijdschrift schreef hij zelf vol met halfserieuze maatschappijkritische opstellen en schetsen na het voorbeeld van de Engelse Spectators. Deze stukken werden al snel gebundeld. Hij was erg populair in zijn tijd.  Samen met zijn vriend Lodewijk Mulder schreef hij zijn bekendste bundel Afdrukken van indrukken (1854).

Uit: Mooi-Ann van Velp

“Haar liefelijke glimlach verkwikte hem. Hij voelde hoelang hij gezworven had, en hoe mat hij was. Hij wilde in haar armen dromen, terwijl zij hem aankeek. Al het leed en geluk van deze wereld zouden haar kussen hem kunnen geven. Voor ’t eerst strekte hij zijn armen naar een vrouw uit. “Kom aan de vijver zitten,” nodigde hem Mooi-Ann. Hij volgde haar. Was hij anders dan een dronkaard in zijn liefde? Met wankelende passen ging hij, blind-starende. Als Mooi-Ann eens, toen ze de jonkheer van Biljoen had gezien, was hij. De naam van zijn moeder had hij vergeten. Zijn ziel was door de liefde bevlekt, ja, zo hij was blijven leven, voor altijd besmet. Van de eersten, teedere droom, vóór ze hem gevraagd had, met haar mee te gaan, bleef zelfs de herinnering niet over. Het was gelukkig, dat hij stierf. Het maanlicht was over land en water gelijk. Hij merkte niet dat hij met haar in de vijver schreed. Hij zonk in de diepte neer, en smetteloos, vol van glans, sloot zich het water over hem. De nacht verloor niets van de gloed. Mooi-Ann lachte niet, want ze dacht aan haar eigen ondergang terug.

Dit is de sage van Mooi-Ann. Zij gaf dezelfde smart, welke zij ontvangen had, eerlijk terug, en ze was een schakel uit de ketting des verderfs”.


Mark Prager Lindo  (19 februari 1819 – Den Haag, 9 maart 1877)


De Russische schrijver Dmitri Lipskerov werd geboren op 19 februari 1964 in Moskou. Na zijn afstuderen aan de Schukin Theater Academie in 1985 begon hij met het schrijven van toneelstukken. In het begin van de jaren 1990 werden zijn stukken opgevoerd door belangrijke regisseurs als Mark Zakharov en Oleg Tabakov. Lipskerov woont in Moskou en is naast schrijver ook een bekend restauranthouder. In 1998 stelde hij samen met anderen een “debuutprijs” in voor jonge Russische schrijvers. Controversieel werd hij door een open brief aan de journalisten van radiostation Echo van Moskou in 2005, waarin hij zijn steun uitsprak voor de overname van de oliemaatschappij Yukos door de Russische staat.

Uit: The Last Sleep of Reason  (vertaald door Dmitri Priven)

“Captain Vladimir Sinichkin, of the Pustyrki precinct, was in bed in the departmental hospital, waiting for the Guinness Book of Records man to arrive with his film crew. Waiting for the Guinness man were also the whole staff of the hospital, and the owner of the phenomenal thighs was being treated with something slightly more homemade than one would find in the hospital cafeteria.

The detective lay with his wealth spread over three beds, and dreamed of fame.

“Unto each his own!” concluded Volodya. “Some people sing, some write books, some are brilliant composers or orchestra conductors. Me, I’ve got a pair of brilliant legs!”. He lay still for a moment to get the feeling in his thighs and found that they were not sore at all. On the contrary, they felt pleasantly cool. “That’s also good,” rejoiced the captain.

He also fantasized a bit about (why the heck not!) getting an early promotion, or better yet skipping a rank and becoming Major Pogosian’s superior.

The detective closed his eyes and imagined himself as a general, parked in a fancy wheelchair, his front all decorated. Beside him standing to attention would be Zubov, offering him a handful of pumpkin seeds… Gradually he got completely carried away to a different kind of life – an international stardom – where he traveled around the world, all expenses paid by the Guinness Book, displaying his outstanding limbs for a hefty sum. He saw his wife Anna Karlovna and himself staying in five-star hotels, his other half very proud of her husband’s achievements…”



Dmitri Lipskerov (Moskou, 19 februari 1964)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Amy Tan werd geboren in Oakland, Ohio, op 19 februari 1952. Zij is de dochter van Chinese immigranten. Amy Tan was veertien jaar toen haar vader en haar oudere broer stierven aan een hersentumor. Met haar moeder en haar jongere broer verhuisde zij naar Montreux in Zwitserland. Tan haalde een graad in linguistiek aan de San José State University en werkte eerst als spraaktherapeute voor kinderen. In haar werk draait het vaak om de moeder – dochter relatie en om wat het betekent om op te groeien als eerste generatie Aziatisch –Amerikaanse. Haar populairste boek The Joy Luck Club werd met veel succes verfilmd.

Uit:  The Bonesetter’s Daughter

“For the past eight years, always starting on August twelfth, Ruth Young lost her voice.

The first time it happened was when she moved into Art’s flat in San Francisco. For several days, Ruth could only hiss like an untended tea
kettle. She figured it was a virus, or perhaps allergies to a particular mold in the building.

When she lost her voice again, it was on their first anniversary of living together, and Art joked that her laryngitis must be psychosomatic. Ruth wondered whether it was. When she was a child, she lost her voice after breaking her arm. Why was that? On their second anniversary, she and Art were stargazing in the Grand Tetons. According to a park pamphlet, “During the peak of the Perseids, around August 12th, hundreds of ‘shooting’ or ‘falling’ stars streak the sky every hour. They are actually fragments of meteors penetrating the earth’s atmosphere, burning up in their descent.” Against the velvet blackness, Ruth silently admired the light show with Art. She did not actually believe that her laryngitis was star-crossed, or that the meteor shower had anything to do with her inability to speak. Her mother, though, had often told Ruth throughout her childhood that shooting stars were really “melting ghost bodies” and it was bad luck to see them. If you did, that meant a ghost was trying to talk to you. To her mother, just about anything was a sign of ghosts: broken bowls, barking dogs, phone calls with only silence or heavy breathing at the other end.”



Amy Tan (Oakland, 19 februari 1952)


De Duitse schrijver Herbert Rosendorfer werd op 19 februari 1934 in Gries geboren. Hij studeerde beeldende kunst en rechten in München en werkte als strafpleiter en rechter in Bayreuth en München. In 1990 werd hij in de laatste stad hoogleraar honoris causa aan de Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Rosendorfer is schrijver van een omvangrijk oeuvre dat naast romans en verhalen ook toneel, televisiespelen, historisch werk, essays over muziek, libretti, reisgidsen, composities en schilderijen omvat. Zijn proza heeft vaak een satirische en groteske inslag.


Uit: Die springenden Alleebäume


“Der deutsche Alleenbaum … ist bösartig …Es ist ganz merkwürdig, daß die Alleebäume – wenn man der Ygdrasilovic´- Studie glauben darf – übermüdete, schlafende oder betrunkene Autofahrer offenbar von Weitem schon erkennen.
Mit ganz besonderer Vorliebe springen die Alleebäume solchen Autofahrern in den Weg, die ja viel langsamer reagieren als andere , also gegen die Tücken der Alleebäume so gut wie wehrlos sind.
Daß die Alleebäume fast ausschließlich nachts den Autofahrern in den Weg springen, erklärt sich ganz einfach aus der angeborenen Tücke der Bäume.
Wie raffiniert sie dazu noch sind, erhellt auch die Tatsache, daß drei Viertel aller Fälle, in denen Alleebäume sich Autos in den Weg stellen, bei Regen geschehen.
Da das Auto nach dem Zusammenstoß oft zu brennen anfängt, wählen die Alleebäume für ihre Überfälle gern feuchtes Wetter, wo sie selber naß sind, und so der Brand nicht auf sie übergreifen kann.”


Herbert Rosendorfer (Gries, 19 februari 1934)