Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Went to my German class y'day and realised I had made a terrible mistake. The class was discussing the book it had been reading for the past month, Ein Julitag (A Day in July) by Hans Werner Richter. The book deals with a man and a woman who met when young during the Nazi era, got caught up in events. It is one of the set texts for the Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom. Another is Die Geschwister, by Brigitte Reimann, the story of a brother and sister who grow up in the DDR, are separated when he decides to flee to the West. Another is Die dunkle Seite des Mondes (The Dark Side of the Moon), by Martin Sufer: successful corporate lawyer has midlife crisis, meets bohemian Lucilie, goes off for a weekend to experiment with magic mushrooms, confronts dark, aggressive, previously repressed side of self...

Look at it this way. If the TestDAF takes the Fawlty Towers line on German history (Don't mention the war), the same can hardly be said of the KDS, which seems to select its texts for their usefulness as a base on which to thrash out Issues. It's unbearable. On the one hand, the critical naivety with which both issues and literary texts are discussed is an affront both to the texts and to a culture which has, after all, an extremely distinguished tradition of Kritik. And on the other hand, just about anything one could read independently is likely to be more rewarding. If one wants a text that engages with Issues, one would be a lot better off with Detlev Claussen's biography of Adorno, or Golo Mann's Erinnerungen und Gedanken, or for that matter Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre's Transkript.

Could not face another two months of this, so went into the office and asked to transfer to another class.

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