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)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Hanif Kureishi, Joan Didion, Calvin Trillin, Afanasy Fet, Eugenie Marlitt, Hans Helmut Kirst, Josh Malihabadi”

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

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. 


Uit: The Black Album


„The college was a cramped Victorian building, an old secondary school […]. It was sixty percent  black and Asian, with an ineffective library and no sports facilities. Its reputation was less in the academic area but more for gang rivalries, drugs, thieving and political violence. It was said that college reunions were held in Wandsworth Prison.

In the early morning rush […] he shoved through turnstiles, past the security guards who occasionally frisked students for weapons, and into the lightless canteen for coffee […]. He couldn`t wait to see Deedee Osgood.

Knowing it was time to take the initiative, he went to find her […]. After knocking on her door, in the moment before she introduced herself, he thought she was a student. Her office was only three times the size of a telephone booth. Pinned above the desk were pictures of Prince, Madonna and Oscar Wilde, with a quote beneath it, `All limitations are prisons.´

Deedee interrogated him about his life in Sevenoaks and his reading. Despite her difficult questions about Wright and Ellison, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, she was willing him to do well, he could feel that.

Noticing him looking at the Prince photograph, she said, `You like Prince?´

He nodded.


Idly he said, `Well, the sound.´

` Anything else?´

Grasping that this was not chatter but part of the interview he strained to order his words into sense, but for months he`d barely spoken to anyone with half a brain. She coaxed him. `He`s half black and half white, half man and half woman, half size, feminine but macho too. His work contains and extends the history of  black American music, Little Richard, James Brown, Sly Stone, Hendrix…´


Hanif Kureishi (Bromley, 5 december 1954)


Doorgaan met het lezen van “Hanif Kureishi, Joan Didion, Calvin Trillin, Eugenie Marlitt, Josh Malihabadi, Hans Helmut Kirst”

Godfried Bomans, Christina Rossetti, Fjodor Tjoettsjev, Afanasy Fet, Alois Brandstetter, Joan Didion, Hanif Kureishi, Calvin Trillin, Eugenie Marlitt, Josh Malihabadi, Hans Helmut Kirst

 Uit: De Kleine Catechismus van St. Nicolaas

Vraag: bestaan er meerdere Sinterklazen?
Antwoord: Er bestaat slechts één Sinterklaas, doch in meerdere personen.

Vraag: Wat moeten wij denken van de meening dat er geen Sinterklaas zou bestaan?
Antwoord: De meening dat er geen Sinterklaas zou bestaan, is een afschuwelijke ketterij, die wij met kracht moeten bestrijden.

Vraag: Hoe is het mogelijk dat Sinterklaas met paard en al door den schoorsteen komt?
Antwoord: Dat Sinterklaas met paard en al door den schoorsteen komt, is een mysterie, dat wij kinderlijk moeten aanvaarden.

Vraag: Zal ons dit mysterie ooit worden uitgelegd?
Antwoord: Dit mysterie zal ons in het hiernamaals door Sinterklaas zelf worden uitgelegd.

Vraag: Waarom rijdt Sinterklaas over de daken?Antwoord: Sinterklaas rijdt over de daken om vijf redenen:
1e omdat het een wonder is;
2e omdat daar het minste kwaad gebeurt;
3e omdat daar de meeste schoorstenen staan;
4e uit de macht der gewoonte;
5e omdat Hij boven hoogtevrees staat. 




Vraag: Hoe is het te verklaren dat Sinterklaas meer aan rijke dan aan arme kindertjes geeft?
Antwoord: Dat Sinterklaas meer aan rijke dan aan arme kinderen geeft, is wederom een mysterie.

Vraag: Zal ook dit mysterie ons in het hiernamaals verklaard worden?
Antwoord: Neen. Dit mysterie zal ons, naarmate wij ouder worden, reeds op aarde duidelijk worden.

Vraag: Heeft Sinterklaas ook vijanden?
Antwoord: Sinterklaas heeft drie vijanden, te weten: de Paaschhaas, het Kerstmannetje en zij, die weigeren Hem als ernst te beschouwen. Van de eerste twee zegt Hij dat Hij niet gelooft dat ze bestaan, en van de derde dat het niet bestaat dat ze niet gelooven.


Godfried Bomans (2 maart 1913 – 22 december 1971)


De Engelse dichteres en schrijfster Christina Georgina Rossettiwerd geboren in Londen op 5 december 1830. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006. En zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2007 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008.

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.


At Home

When I was dead, my spirit turned
To seek the much-frequented house:
I passed the door, and saw my friends
Feasting beneath green orange boughs;
From hand to hand they pushed the wine,
They sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
They sang, they jested, and they laughed,
For each was loved of each.

I listened to their honest chat:
Said one: ‘To-morrow we shall be
Plod plod along the featureless sands
And coasting miles and miles of sea.’
Said one: ‘Before the turn of tide
We will achieve the eyrie-seat.’
Said one: ‘To-morrow shall be like
To-day, but much more sweet.’

‘To-morrow,’ said they, strong with hope,
And dwelt upon the pleasant way:
‘To-morrow,’ cried they one and all,
While no one spoke of yesterday.
Their life stood full at blessed noon;
I, only I, had passed away:
‘To-morrow and to-day,’ they cried;
I was of yesterday.

I shivered comfortless, but cast
No chill across the tablecloth;
I all-forgotten shivered, sad
To stay and yet to part how loth:
I passed from the familiar room,
I who from love had passed away,
Like the remembrance of a guest
That tarrieth but a day.


Christina Rossetti (5 december 1830 – 27 december 1894)
Geschilderd door haar broer Dante Gabriel Rossetti


De Russische dichter Fjodor Tjoettsjev werd geboren op 5 december 1803 in Ovstug in het gouvernement Orjol. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006  en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008.


Say Not He Loves Me

Say not he loves me as before, as truly, dearly
As once he did… Oh no! My life
He would destroy, he does destroy – though see I clearly
The trembling of the hand that holds the knife.
Resentment, anger, tears, a pain now fierce, now muffled –
I’m wounded, stung, and yet I love… He is
All of my life, but I… I do not live – I suffer…
How bitter is existence such as this!
As to a mortal foe, in dozes scant and meagre
The air I breathe he measures out.. Each breath
I take is painful, yet… I breathe, for fresh air eager…
But life … life slowly ebbs… I cannot ward off death.


Fjodor Tjoettsjev (5 december 1803 – 27 juli 1873)
Portret door Andrej Alexandrovsky



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


When you were reading those tormented lines

When you were reading those tormented lines

In which the heart’s resonant flame sends out glowing streams

And passion’s fatal torrents rear up,-

Didn’t you recall a single thing?

I can’t believe it! That night on the steppe

When, in the midnight mist a premature dawn,

Transparent, lovely as a miracle,

Broke in the distance before you

And your unwilling eye was to this beauty drawn

To that majestic glow beyond the realm of darkness,-

How could it be that nothing whispered to you then:

A man has perished in that fire!



Afanasy Fet (5 december 1820 – 3 december 1892)
Portret door Ilya Repin



De Oostenrijkse schrijver en taalkundige Alois Brandstetter werd op 5 december 1938 in Aichmühl bei Pichl, Oberösterreich geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008.

Uit: Hier kocht der Wirt

»Wegen einem hängt der Wirt den Reif nicht auf. «

Das ist ein altes Sprichwort, das ich gern benutze. Es stammt aus dem Altertum, als es noch keine festen Öffnungszeiten gegeben hat. Damals hat sich ein Wirt also wirklich nach der Nachfrage gerichtet, und das Geschäft ist frei vor sich gegangen. Heute muß jeder Wirt und jeder Geschäftsmann sein Angebot nach der Nachfrage der Behörde ausrichten, der Wirt und die Gäste können dann zusammenkommen, wenn es der Politik paßt und wenn der Wirtschaftsminister den Reif aufhängt. Jetzt kann’s sein, daß der Wirt den Reif wegen einem aufhängen muß und wegen oder trotz zwanzig den Reif nicht aufhängen darf!

Bei mir in Gerlamoos in Oberkärnten schaut die Geschichte natürlich ein bisserl anders aus. Wo kein Kläger ist, da ist kein Richter, heißt ein anderes altes Sprichwort, und Wien ist weit! Was also mich, Peter Glantschnig, Wirt zu Gerlamoos, betrifft, so halte ich mich im eigenen Interesse an die Sperrstunde. Von einer Vorschrift, den ganzen Tag und die halbe Nacht offenhalten zu müssen, weiß ich aber nichts. Und wenn eine Reisegruppe ankommt und die Georgskirche besichtigen will und eine Führung braucht, dann mache ich mein Wirtshaus dicht und hänge dieses Schild da, mit der Aufschrift BIN IN DER KIRCHE, an die Wirtshaustür.

Es wird deswegen schon nicht gleich einer verdursten oder verhungern. Und die paar Gäste, die ich heute noch habe, kennen meinen Hausbrauch auch schon, die setzen sich geduldig auf eine Bank im Gastgarten und warten halt ein bisserl, wenn ich nicht grad eine Aushilf hab.

Am Anfang, wie ich den Schlüssel zur Georgskirche mit den Fresken des Thomas von Villach, den ich aber meistens Thomas oder Meister von Gerlamoos nenne, wie es auch in den älteren Büchern steht, übernommen hab, damals vor ungefähr zwanzig Jahren, da hab ich alles ehrenamtlich gemacht. Ich verlange natürlich auch heute für den Schlüssel nichts, aber nachdem ich auch Erklärungen und Führungen anbiete, wehre ich mich jetzt gegen freiwillige Spenden und kleinere Zuwendungen, die man mir in die Tasche steckt oder in die Hand gibt, keineswegs. Einen Hut habe ich keinen.

Schließlich entstehen mir durch den »Kirchendienst« im Wirtshaus Ausfälle und Unkosten. Heute verdiene ich freilich am Thomas von Villach oft schon mehr als mit dem Villacher Bier. Einmal hat ein Gast aus dem Ort ein bisserl letzmäulig gemeint, ich betreib inzwischen zwei Geschäfte, die Georgskirche und das Wirtshaus, und zwar in dieser Reihenfolge.“


Alois Brandstetter (Aichmühl , 5 december 1938)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Joan Didion werd geboren in Sacramento Valley op 5 december 1934. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008.


Uit: The Year of Magical Thinking

Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity.

Those were the first words I wrote after it happened. The computer dating on the Microsoft Word file (“Notes on change.doc”) reads “May 20, 2004, 11:11 p.m.,” but that would have been a case of my opening the file and reflexively pressing save when I closed it. I had made no changes to that file in May. I had made no changes to that file since I wrote the words, in January 2004, a day or two or three after the fact.

For a long time I wrote nothing else.

Life changes in the instant.
The ordinary instant.

At some point, in the interest of remembering what seemed most striking about what had happened, I considered adding those words, “the ordinary instant.” I saw immediately that there would be no need to add the word “ordinary,” because there would be no forgetting it: the word never left my mind. It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now that there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred, the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings where the children were playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy. “He was on his way home from work—happy, successful, healthy—and then, gone,” I read in the account of a psychiatric nurse whose husband was killed in a highway accident. In 1966 I happened to interview many people who had been living in Honolulu on the morning of December 7, 1941; without exception, these people began their accounts of Pearl Harbor by telling me what an “ordinary Sunday morning” it had been. “It was just an ordinary beautiful September day,” people still say when asked to describe the morning in New York when American Airlines 11 and United Airlines 175 got flown into the World Trade towers. Even the report of the 9/11 Commission opened on this insistently premonitory and yet still dumbstruck narrative note: “Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States.”


Joan Didion (Sacramento Valley, 5 december 1934)


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


Uit: Gabriel’s Gift

“School — how was, today?”

“Learning makes me feel ignorant,” said Gabriel. “Has Dad rung?”

As well as the fact he didn’t know where his father was, something strange was happening to the weather in Gabriel’s neighborhood. That morning, when he left for school with Hannah, there was a light spring shower, and it was autumn.

By the time they had reached the school gates, a layer of snow sat on their hats. At lunchtime in the playground, the hot floodlight of the sun — suddenly illuminated like a lamp — had been so bright the kids played in shirtsleeves.

In the late afternoon, when he and Hannah were hurrying home along the edge of the park, Gabriel became certain that the leaves in the park were being plucked from the ground and fluttered back to the trees from which they had fallen, before turning green again.

From the corner of his eye, Gabriel noticed something even odder.

A row of daffodils were lifting their heads and dropping them like bowing ballerinas at the end of a performance. When one of them winked, Gabriel looked around before gripping Hannah’s hairy hand, something he had always been reluctant to do, particularly if a friend might see him. But today was different: the world was losing its mind.

“Has he been in touch?” Gabriel asked.

Hannah was the foreign au pair.

“Who?” she said.

“My father.”

“Certainly no. Gone away! Gone!”

Gabriel’s father had left home, at Mum’s instigation, three months ago. Unusually, it had been several days since he had phoned, and at least two weeks since Gabriel had seen him.

Gabriel determined that as soon as they got back he would make a drawing of thewinking daffodil, to remind him to tell his father about it. Dad loved to sing, or recite poetry. “Fair daffodils, we weep to see / You haste away so soon…” he would chant as they walked.

For Dad the shops, pavements and people were alive like nature, though with more human interest, and as ever-changing as trees, water or the sky.

In contrast, Hannah looked straight ahead, as if she were walking in a cupboard. She understood little English and when Gabriel spoke to her she grimaced and frowned like someone trying to swallow an ashtray. Perhaps they were both amazed that a kid spoke better English than she did.”



Hanif Kureishi (Bromley, 5 december 1954)



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.

Uit: Feeding a Yen

Not long after the turn of the millennium, I had an extended father-daughter conversation with my older daughter, Abigail, on the way back from a dim sum lunch in Chinatown. Abigail, who was living in San Francisco, had come to New York to present a paper at a conference. As a group of us trooped back toward our house in Greenwich Village, where she’d grown up, Abigail and I happened to be walking together. “Let’s get this straight, Abigail,” I said, after we’d finished off some topic and had gone along in silence for a few yards. “If I can find those gnarly little dark pumpernickel bagels that we used to get at Tanenbaum’s, you’ll move back to New York. Right?”
“Absolutely,” Abigail said.
There’s a great comfort in realizing that a child you’ve helped rear has grown up with her priorities straight.
When I phoned Abigail from the Oakland airport once to ask if she knew of an alternative route to her house in San Francisco–I’d learned of a huge traffic jam on the normal route, toward the Bay Bridge–she said, “Sure. Go south on 880, take 92 west across the bridge to 101, and we’ll meet you at Fook Yuen for lunch.” Fook Yuen is a dim sum restaurant in Millbrae, about five minutes from the San Francisco airport, and its way with a dumpling has persuaded us that flights in and out of San Francisco are best scheduled in the middle of the day.
I report this response to a traffic jam as a way of demonstrating not simply that Abigail always has a fallback career as a taxi dispatcher awaiting her but also that she has the sort of culinary standards that could induce her to switch coasts if the right bagel came along.“


Calvin Trillin (Kansas City, 5 december 1935)



De Duitse schrijfster Eugenie Marlitt werd geboren op 5 december 1825 in Arnstadt. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008.

Uit: Reichsgräfin Gisela

Seit dem Tode des Hüttenmeisters waren elf Jahre verflossen… Wäre – wie ein frommer Wahn annimmt – der abgeschiedene, unsterbliche Menschengeist wirklich verurteilt, in ewig beschaulicher Untätigkeit auf die alte irdische Heimat herabzusehen, dann hätte der Verstorbene, dessen Herz so warm und so treu für seine bedürftigen Landsleute geschlagen hatte, die tiefste Genugtuung empfinden müssen beim Anblick des Neuenfelder Tales.

Das weiße Schloß freilich lag noch so unberührt von Zeit und Wetter auf dem grünen Talgrunde, als sei es während der langen elf Jahre von einer konservierenden Glasglocke überwölbt gewesen… Da sprangen die Fontänen unveränderlich bis zu dem wie in den Lüften festgezauberten Gipfelpunkt, und ihr niederfallender Sprühregen ließ die Lichter des Himmels als Gold- und Silberfunken auf der beweglichen Wasserfläche des Bassins noch immer unermüdlich tanzen. Die Boskette, die Lindenalleen, das grüne Gefieder der Rasenplätze verharrte pflichtschuldigst in den Linien, die ihnen die künstlerische Hand des Gärtners vorgeschrieben. Auf den Balkonen leuchtete das unverblichene Federkleid der Papageien – sie schrien und plapperten die alten eingelernten Phrasen –, und im Schlosse flüsterten und huschten die Menschengestalten mit gebogenem Rücken und scheu devotem Fußtritt genau wie vor elf Jahren. Und sie waren wie hineingegossen in ihre Kniehosen und Strümpfe, und auf den blankgeputzten Rockknöpfen prangte das adlige Wappen, das den freigeborenen Menschen zum »Gut« stempelte.

Um alle diese wohlkonservierten Herrlichkeiten aber legte sich das ungeheure Viereck der Schloßgartenmauer, leuchtend weiß, sonder Tadel – es war ein streng behütetes Fleckchen Erde, konservativ, unverrückbar stillstehend in den einmal gegebenen Formen, wie die Adelsprinzipien selbst.“


Eugenie Marlitt (5 december 1825 – 22 juni 1887)


Zie voor onderstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 5 december 2008.

De Duitse schrijver Hans Helmut Kirst werd  geboren op 5 december 1914 te Osterode (voorm. Ost Preussen, nu Polen).

De Indische dichter Josh Malihabadi werd geboren in Malihabad in Brits India op 5 december 1898.

Christina Rossetti, Fjodor Tjoettsjev, Afanasy Fet, Alois Brandstetter, Joan Didion, Hanif Kureishi, Calvin Trillin, Josh Malihabadi, Hans Helmut Kirst, Eugenie Marlitt

De Engelse dichteres en schrijfster Christina Georgina Rossetti werd geboren in Londen op 5 december 1830. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006. En zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2007.




I WATCHED a rosebud very long

Brought on by dew and sun and shower,

Waiting to see the perfect flower:

Then, when I thought it should be strong,

It opened at the matin hour

And fell at evensong.


I watched a nest from day to day,

A green nest full of pleasant shade,

Wherein three speckled eggs were laid:

But when they should have hatched in May,

The two old birds had grown afraid

Or tired, and flew away.


Then in my wrath I broke the bough

That I had tended so with care,

Hoping its scent should fill the air;

I crushed the eggs, not heeding how

Their ancient promise had been fair:

I would have vengeance now.


But the dead branch spoke from the sod,

And the eggs answered me again:

Because we failed dost thou complain?

Is thy wrath just? And what if God,

Who waiteth for thy fruits in vain,

Should also take the rod?






OH why is heaven built so far,

Oh why is earth set so remote?

I cannot reach the nearest star

That hangs afloat.


I would not care to reach the moon,

One round monotonous of change;

Yet even she repeats her tune

Beyond my range.


I never watch the scatter’d fire

Of stars, or sun’s far-trailing train,

But all my heart is one desire,

And all in vain:


For I am bound with fleshly bands,

Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;

I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,

And catch at hope.



Christina Rossetti (5 december 1830 – 27 december 1894)


De Russische dichter Fjodor Tjoettsjev werd geboren op 5 december 1803 in Ovstug in het gouvernement Orjol. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006.


Vandaag vriend

Vandaag vriend, is het vijftien jaar geleden
sinds die gezegende, fatale dag
waarop zij mij haar hartstocht heeft beleden
en heel haar wezen voor mij openlag.

En al een jaar, zonder verwijt of klagen,
draag ik mijn lot, al nam het alles af:
eenzaam tot aan het einde mijner dagen,
zo eenzaam als ik zijn zal in het graf.


Vertaald door Jean Pierre Rawie



Fjodor Tjoettsjev (5 december 1803 – 27 juli 1873)



De Russische dichter Afanasy Afanasievich Fet werd geboren op 5 december 1820 nabij  Mzensk. Hij studeerde in Moskou en diende een tijd in het Russische leger. In 1850 bracht een jonge vrouw die verliefd op hem was, maar met wie om financiele redenen niet kon trouwen zichzelf om het leven door zich te verbranden. In talrijke gedichten bleef Fet op deze gebeurtenis terugkomen. Fets Duitse moeder was twee keer getrouwd en het is nooit echt duidelijk geworden wie van de twee mannen zijn vader was. Pas vanaf 1876 mocht hij de naam van haar tweede, Russische, man, aannemen. Fet was een van de belangrijkste Russische dichters van het laatste kwart van de 19e eeuw.



I Have Come To You Delighted


 I have come to you, delighted,

To tell you that sun has risen,

That its light has warmly started

To fulfil on leaves its dancing;


To tell you that wood’s awaken

In its every branch and leafage,

And with every bird is shaken,

Thirsty of the springy image;


To tell you that I’ve come now,

As before, with former passion,

That my soul again is bound

To serve you and your elation;


That the charming breath of gladness

Came to me from all-all places,

I don’t know what I’ll sing, else,

But my song’s coming to readiness.




With One Firm Thrust


With one firm thrust to force the boat of living

From off the sands, and, by a wave tossed high,

Be toward a new life borne, a new beginning,

To feel the wind from scented shores sweep nigh,


To wake from torpid sleep a mind turned sluggish,

To revel in the strange and the unknown,

To lend fresh breath to life, and joy to anguish,

To make another’s cares and griefs your own,


To speak of things it numbs the tongue to utter,

To fire the timid heart that fierce ‘tmay pound –

This can the chosen songsmith do, no other,

And ‘tis for this that he is known and crowned! 


Afanasy Fet (5 december 1820 – 3 december 1892)
Portret door Ilya Repin



De Oostenrijkse schrijver en taalkundige Alois Brandstetter werd op 5 december 1938 in Aichmühl bei Pichl, Oberösterreich geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006.

Uit: Der geborene Gärtner

“Du hättest besser, mein Wernher, unserer großen Wohltäter gedenken sollen, als Dich in die Gefahr zu begeben, der Komplizenschaft mit den Feinden in der Heiligen Kirche bezichtigt zu werden und zwielichtige und mißverständliche Äußerungen zu machen. Du kennst mich als einen Mann des Ausgleichs und der Mäßigung, der harte und überharte Worte scheut und auch allen Manichäismus der Schwarzweißmalerei verabscheut. Aber nicht einmal ich kann jenen Herren im Konvent aus voller Überzeugung widersprechen, die Dich mit dem häßlichen alten bairischen Wort “Nestbeschmutzer” bedenken! Während also Du offenbar nach Deinem Selbstverständnis Dich für einen hältst, der “ausmistet” und den Augiasstall von Auswurf befreit, nennen Dich Deine Confratres “Nestbeschmutzer”! Du gereichtest, sagen sie, Ranshofen nicht zur Zier, wenn Dich auch einige sogenannte Intellektuelle im Literaturfach als kritischen Geist und Mann der Distinktion und der Diskretion, das heißt der Unterscheidung der Geister, rühmen und Dir so ein Charisma, eine Gabe des Heiligen Geistes, nachsagen und zusprechen. Für die anderen bist du ein Nestbeschmutzer, der sich der Illoyalität schuldig gemacht, weil er die Kirche der Raffgier bezichtigt, indem er die Partei der Bauern ergreift. Weil ich nun dem Ausgleich das Wort rede und sicher auch, weil ich selbst als Bauernfreund dem Bauerntum nahe stehe, gebe ich, wenn solche Vorwürfe vor allem während Deiner langen Abwesenheit infolge der “Lesereisen” laut werden, immer zu bedenken, daß Du als Bauernbürtiger doch wohl entschuldigt bist, oder wenn nicht ganz enschuldigt bist, so doch ein wenig Nachsicht verdienst, wenn Du Deinem Herkunftsstand ein gutes Andenken bewahrst und ihm Dein Wort leihst.:”



Alois Brandstetter (Aichmühl , 5 december 1938)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Joan Didion werd geboren in Sacramento Valley op 5 december 1934. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006.

Uit: Slouching towards Bethlehem


“Just to watch the front-page news out of Los Angeles during a Santa Ana is to get very close to what it is about the place.  The longest single Santa Ana period in recent years was in 1957, and it lasted not the usual three or four days but fourteen days, from November 21 until December 4.  On the first day 25,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains were burning, with gusts reaching 100 miles an hour.  In town, the wind reached Force 12, or hurricane force, on the Beaufort Scale; oil derricks were toppled and people ordered off the downtown streets to avoid injury from flying objects.  On November 22 the fire in the San Gabriels was out of control.  On November 24 six people were killed in automobile accidents, and by the end of the week the Los Angeles Times was keeping a box score of traffic deaths.  On November 26 a prominent Pasadena attorney, depressed about money, shot and killed his wife, their two sons and himself.  On November 27 a South Gate divorcée, twenty-two, was murdered and thrown from a moving car.  On November 30 the San Gabriel fire was still out of control, and the wind in town was blowing eighty miles an hour.  On the first day of December four people died violently, and on the third the wind began to break.


It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination.  The city burning is Los Angeles’s deepest image of itself.  Nathaniel West perceived that, in The Day of the Locust, and at the time of the 1965 Watts riots what struck the imagination most indelibly were the fires.  For days one could drive the Harbor Freeway and see the city on fire, just as we had always known it would be in the end.  Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability.  The winds shows us how close to the edge we are.”



Joan Didion (Sacramento Valley, 5 december 1934)


De Britse schrijver en regisseur Hanif Kureishi werd geboren op 5 december 1954 in Bromley, Kent, als zoon van een Pakistaanse vader en een Engelse moeder. In 1981 won hij met zijn stuk „Outskirts“ de George Devine Award, een jaar later werd hij door het “Royal Court Theatre“ tot stadschrijver benoemd. In 1990 verscheen zijn eerste roman „The Buddha of Suburbia“. Hij kreeg er de Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel voor. Er volgden drie films: „My Beautiful Laundrette“,„Sammy and Rosie Get Laid“ en “London Kills Me“. „My Beautiful Laundrette“ leverde een Oscarnominatie op.


Uit: Something to Tell You


“Secrets are my currency: I deal in them for a living. The secrets of desire, of what people really want, and of what they fear the most. The secrets of why love is difficult, sex complicated, living painful and death so close and yet placed far away. Why are pleasure and punishment closely related? How do our bodies speak? Why do we make ourselves ill? Why do you want to fail? Why is pleasure hard to bear?

A woman has just left my consulting room. Another will arrive in twenty minutes. I adjust the cushions on the analytic couch and relax in my armchair in a different silence, sipping tea, considering images, sentences and words from our conversation, as well as the joins and breaks between them.

As I do often these days, I begin to think over my work, the problems I struggle with, and how this came to be my livelihood, my vocation, my enjoyment. It is even more puzzling to me to think that my work began with a murder — today is the anniversary, but how do you mark such a thing? — followed by my first love, Ajita, going away forever.

I am a psychoanalyst. In other words, a reader of minds and signs. Sometimes I am called shrinkster, healer, detective, opener of doors, dirt digger or plain charlatan or fraud. Like a car mechanic on his back, I work with the underneath or understory: fantasies, wishes, lies, dreams, nightmares — the world beneath the world, the true words beneath the false. The weirdest intangible stuff I take seriously; I’m into places where language can’t go, or where it stops — the “indescribable” — and early in the morning too.

Giving sorrow other words, I hear of how people’s desire and guilt upsets and terrorises them, the mysteries that burn a hole in the self and distort and even cripple the body, the wounds of experience, reopened for the good of the soul as it is made over.”



Hanif Kureishi (Bromley, 5 december 1954)


De Amerikaanse schrijver, journalist  en columnist Calvin (Bud) Marshall Trillin werd geboren op 5 december 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Als ‘humorcolumnist’ past Trillin in de Amerikaanse traditie van wijlen Art Buchwald en Dave Barry van de Miami Herald. Veel van zijn columns gaan over eten en reizen. Een deel van zijn journalistieke en fictionele werk is serieuzer van aard.

Uit: About Alice


I once wrote that tales about writers’ families tend to have a relation to real life that can be expressed in terms of standard network-television fare, on a spectrum that goes from sitcoms to Lifetime movies, and that mine were sitcoms. Now that I think of it, maybe they were more like the Saturday-morning cartoons. Alice played the role of the mom—the voice of reason, the sensible person who kept everything on an even keel despite the antics of her marginally goofy husband. Years ago, at a conference of English teachers where we were both speakers, the professor who did the introductions said something like “Alice and Bud are like Burns and Allen, except she’s George and he’s Gracie.” Yes, of course, the role she played in my stories was based on the role she played in our family—our daughters and I sometimes called her T.M., which stood for The Mother—but she didn’t play it in the broad strokes of a sitcom mom. Also, she was never completely comfortable as the person who takes responsibility for keeping things on an even keel; that person inevitably misses out on some of the fun. (“I feel the need to break out of the role of straight person,” she said in a Nation review of Alice, Let’s Eat that cautioned readers against abandoning long-planned European vacations in order to scour the country for “the perfect roast polecat haunch.”) The sitcom presentation sometimes made her sound stern as well as wise, and she was anything but stern. She had something close to a child’s sense of wonderment. She was the only adult I ever knew who might respond to encountering a deer on a forest path by saying, “Wowsers!”



Calvin Trillin (Kansas City, 5 december 1935)


De Indische dichter Josh Malihabadi werd geboren in Malihabad in Brits India op 5 december 1898. In 1914 studeerde hij af in Cambridge. In 1925 werd hij supervisor voor vertaalwerk aan de univesiteit in Hyderabad, maar hij werd er weggestuurd omdat hij zich in een gedicht tegen de politieke leider van de staat gekeerd had. Hij begon steeds meer te ijveren voor de onafhankelijkheid van India en kreeg uiteindelijk de titel Shaayar-e-Inquilaab (Dichter van de Revolutie).


Beauty And Toil


There she sweats on the road, a beauteous, restless lass,

In scorching sun she breaks the stones, her bangles clink and clash.


what pain is it so strangely mingling with the music,

At each stroke drops of tears trickle down her eyes.


Dust-splattered are her cheeks, her locks embroiled in dust,

Her deep depressed eyes a tender grace reflect.


The blood-red sun sucks her blood without a touch of ruth,

Each heavey hammer stroke tells upon her budding youth.


In the sun her fragrant locks are flying about adrift,

Her limber self is getting wrecked amid the stones and bricks.


Ruddy rays of the sun are drinking undefied,

nectar of narcissus’ eyes, the wine of frangipani cheeks.


Clouds of sorrow heavily hang o’er her tender heart,

Are these her cheeks, or roses two which are fading fast?


Through her tatters can be glimpsed her youthful shape, sorrow-gripped,

Like the moon that wanders through bits of drifting clouds.



Josh Malihabadi (5 december 1898 – 22 februari 1982)


De Duitse schrijver Hans Helmut Kirst werd  geboren op 5 december 1914 te Osterode (voorm. Ost Preussen, nu Polen). Kirst verhuisde als kind veelvuldig daar vader Kirst politieambtenaar was en veelvuldig van standplaats moest wisselen. Hij bezocht o.a. het Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gymnasium in zijn geboorteplaats waarna hij de handlsschool bezocht.  Op aanraden van zijn vader nam hij in 1933 dienst in deReichsweht in Köningsberg. In 1941 viel hij met de Wehrmacht Rusland binnen. In 1943 werd hij bevorderd tot luitenant. Van 1943 tot 1945 onderwees hij krijgsgeschiedenis in Schonau (Beieren) en werd uiteindelijk kapitein en leider van de stadsbatterij. In 1946 moest hij voor een commissie verschijnen die hem moest denazificeren. Deze legde hem een publicatie verbod van 2 jaar op. Zijn grote voorbeeld was Erich Maria Remarque en in 1950 kwam zijn eerste boek uit; “Wir nannten ihn Galgenstrick“.  Dit werd in 1954 gevolgd door zijn beroemde 08/15, een satirisch geschreven verhaal over enkele Duitse soldaten gedurende de oorlog In 1962 had hij enorm succes in de USA met “De nacht der generaals”. Kirst won verschillende literatuurprijzen.


Uit: 08/15

„Ich übernehme hier das Kommando“, sagte der fremde Oberst, der Hauk hieß oder der sich doch zumindest als „Oberst Hauk“ vorgestellt hatte. Und er hatte das mit der unnachgiebigen Höflichkeit eines überzeugten Vorgesetzten getan.


Der Oberst Hauk betrachtete die Offiziere, die sich in dem Birkenwäldchen um ihn versammelt hatten. Sein flächiges, graubleiches Gesicht blieb regungslos. Müdigkeit lag in seinen Augen; doch sie entbehrten nicht einer gewissen Vornehmheit.


„Bin ich verstanden worden?“ fragte der Oberst, und seine Stimme klang sanft fordernd. …..



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


De Duitse schrijfster Eugenie Marlitt werd geboren op 5 december 1825 in Arnstadt. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 december 2006.

Uit: Die zwölf Apostel


“Am äußersten Ende einer kleinen mitteldeutschen Stadt, da, wo die letzten Gäßchen steil den Berg hinaufklettern, lag das große Nonnenkloster. Es war ein unheimliches Gebäude mit seinen eingesunkenen Fenstern, seinen kreischenden Wetterfahnen und den unaufhörlich um den First kreisenden Dohlenschwärmen. Aus dem Mauergefüge quollen dicke Grasbüschel, und zwischen den zerbröckelten Steinzieraten über dem gewölbten Torweg nickte ein kleiner Wald von Baumschößlingen. Wie zwei altersschwache Kameraden, deren einer den andern stützt, lehnten sich der Bau und ein uraltes Stück Stadtmauer aneinander, und das war vorteilhaft für das Kloster, denn

die Mauer war sehr dick; man hatte ihren breiten Rücken mit Erde belas
tet, und nun sproßte und blühte es da droben so üppig, als gäbe es keine Mauersteine unter der Erdschicht. Freilich war das Ganze nur ein längliches Blumenbeet, von einem kaum fußbreiten Weg durchschnitten; dafür war es aber auch saubergehalten wie ein Schmuckkästchen. An den Wegrändern blühte ein Kranz weißer Federnelken; Lilien und Nachtviolen standen auf dem Beet, und die glühroten Früchte der Erdbeeren, samt ihren breiten, gezackten Blättern, mischten sich mit dem wilden Thymian, der, am Mauerrand hinabkletternd, seine feinen Zweige behutsam in die Steinritzen legte. Hinter der Mauer lag der ehemalige Klostergarten, jetzt ein wüster ungepflegter Grasfleck, auf dem die wenigen Ziegen der Klosterbewohner ihr karges Futter suchen durften. Aber an der Mauer selbst stand eine ganze Wildnis von Syringen und Haselstauden; die bildeten droben am Gärtchen eine grüne undurchdringliche Wand. Die Syringen hingen im Frühjahr ihre blauen und weisen Blütentrauben über das einzige hölzerne Bänkchen des kleinen Gartens, und ein alter Kastanienbaum breitete seine Äste weit über die Mauer bis in die Straße hinein, deren armselige Häuserreihe hier mündete und von dem letzten Haus nur die Rückwand ohne Fenster sehen ließ.”


Eugenie Marlitt (5 december 1825 – 22 juni 1887)