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Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea
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Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea

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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  839 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
This is a very Italian book, reminiscent of Italo Calvino and Roberto Calasso. Part history, part philosophy, part travelogue, this is literature in the richest, most amply rewarding sense. Writing with tremendous exuberance, Claudio Magris has produced a paean to what Hölderlin called "the river of melody"--the Danube, Europe's main artery, and the heart of that elusive b ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1986)
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William1
Dec 30, 2014 William1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erudite meditations on the Danube and the blood-soaked lands through which it winds. Danube is not a travel narrative in the classic sense. The river is here a device for writing about a mix of colorful events and persons associated with it. Magris is a critic and his assessment of cultural phenomenon along the river's course is often excellent, especially when he deigns to tell the reader what he's writing about. It's a densely allusive work.

That said, the long essay on Louis-Ferdinand Céline
...more
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Όσο με δυσκόλεψε στην αρχή και το παράτησα για 2 μήνες, τόσο με συνεπήρε όταν βρήκα χρόνο να του δώσω τη δέουσα προσοχή και εν τέλει να το απολαύσω μέχρι τέλους.

Το βιβλίο είναι πραγματική εγκυκλοπαίδεια. Μικρές αφηγήσεις που συνθέτουν εν συντομία την ιστορία, τον πολιτισμό, τα γράμματα των παραδουνάβιων περιοχών των τελευταίων αιώνων.
Zozetta
Feb 16, 2017 Zozetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Τα πέντε αστεράκια δεν είναι αρκετά. Από τα ωραιότερα βιβλία που έχω διαβάσει.
dely
Jun 02, 2017 dely rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-italy, ebook
I really struggled to finish this book. The author travels from the source of the Danube to its outfall and it could have been an interesting travelogue but it isn't. First of all, the language is too difficult, pompous and erudite. Sometimes I had the feeling that the author wanted only to show how cultured he is. The author also uses too long sentences with several subordinate propositions and it was a torture to read those sentences. But, maybe the worst part of this book, is that the author ...more
Carla
Jun 09, 2014 Carla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CEMITÉRIOS NA ESTRADA

Há uma poesia de Novomeský dedicada a um cemitério eslovaco. Em numerosas aldeias, entre as montanhas, os cemitérios não têm muros ou têm-nos tão baixos que não se notam, são cemitérios abertos e transbordam pelas ervas dos prados, correm ao longo do caminho, como em Matiasovce, em direcção à fonteira polaca, ou ficam à entrada da aldeia, como um jardim diante da porta de casa. Esta familiaridade épica com a morte – que reencontramos por exemplo nas sepulturas muçulmanas da
...more
Caroline
This is an amazing compendium of history, literary criticism, travelogue, and meditation on twentieth century European crises. Giving four stars is perhaps picky, but a number of times Magris gets so wound up in his prose that he goes off in paragraphs that don’t really make any sense or contribute anything. The book is so long that I began to begrudge him these self-indulgences. Also, it sags in the middle, as he talks about Vienna. In contrast to the really focused and insightful things he has ...more
Ryan Iseppi
This one almost broke me.

I reckon it took me about six months to finally come to the end of this book, reading it as I did in short angry spurts, and while it made a certain impact on me psychologically, I don't expect to retain much at all of the dizzying accumulation of historical happenings, personal anecdotes, literary analyses, and harebrained philosophizing that Claudio Magris packages as a "travel" book.

Danube is relentlessly intellectual, pedantic, and frankly, aimless, as Magris attempt
...more
SurferRosa
May 13, 2016 SurferRosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italiana
Appassionante e interessantissimo viaggio nella geografia, nella storia, nella letteratura e cultura dell'Europa danubiana, dalle incerte e dubbie sorgenti alla foce placida e stanca, ma ugualmente non univoca, del grande fiume. Disincantata e spesso malinconica avventura interiore, le cui sponde sono lambite da acque cangianti come quelle dell'esistenza che scorre dalla nascita alla morte, comparendo inaspettata per poi disgregarsi e sciogliersi nella sua fine.
Il viaggio di Magris è un viaggio
...more
Terry
Oct 05, 2008 Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fred
Shelves: water, lit-crit, travel
"On one such night a famous Greek corn merchant gambled away his fortune, his red neo-classical palace near the Danube, and his wife."
Danube is full of lost-treasure-like passages such as this. I felt, when I reached the end, as if I'd just read some sort of sacred text. As travelogue it's absolutely everything you could want and more (well, it doesn't always tell you which hotel to choose or where to eat, though it does accomplish that sometimes). What it does do is expound upon the history, my
...more
Kelly
Update: this is just not going to happen now. I am not in a place for its prose. I'll try again in the winter.
* **
This was on the shelf next to the Fermor I just bought. Clever clever salespeople. I bought both.
Kevin Tole
Jul 26, 2011 Kevin Tole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash, non-fiction
I am not sure who is to blame more - the learned poet translator or the wannabee poet intellectual author. Like another reviewer I dragged my way through this book continually affronted by Magris' attempts to blind us with his knowledge and name dropping. This Italian Melvyn Bragg's attempts to provide a book on the diversity of the Danube just ends up as an opportunity for him to namecheck various obscure figures of European thought. HE revels in it along with his bootiful Italian companions. I ...more
Martha
Jun 09, 2012 Martha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the travel book I was expecting! I haven't met so far any actual inhabitants along the river or much of the actual river itself - rather historical vignettes, philosophical musings and grappling with the third Reich.(which are very interesting and kept me going to my iPad to find out more) But I haven't put it down as I keep thinking I might. Still, I wish I were traveling with Femor.

At the very end of this challenging book , I found what I was thinking I would be reading - just a few lines
...more
orsodimondo
Tutta la mia stima a Magris, lo leggo spesso sui giornali. Ma i suoi libri sono un'altra cosa. Si parla da anni di premio Nobel per lui, ma non credo che ce la far�� mai. E confermerebbe la mia opinione sul Nobel alla Letteratura: spesso non va ai veri grandi scrittori viventi, ma a quelli importanti. Che �� un'altra cosa.
Maria Beltrami
Ci sono libri che ti guardano per anni dagli scaffali della libreria, di cui senti parlare, ai quali altri scrittori fanno riferimento, tu li guardi, con un misto di diffidenza e senso di inferiorità, e li lasci lì, finché una notte non riesci a dormire, e quasi per caso te li ritrovi in mano.
Questa è la storia della relazione tra me e il capolavoro di Magris.
Pensavo che fosse un libro di viaggio, e infatti lo è, ma il Danubio, il suo stravagante e infinito percorso tra una sorgente assimilabile
...more
Liviu
Aug 30, 2015 Liviu is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
read the last 4 chapters (Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania but only roughly as the story moves all around the Danube area the author is in, both in time and space); excellent stuff - even if some of the current at the time (1986) had become dated only a few years later when the seemingly forever communist regimes collapsed like house of cards everywhere;

as someone born and raised in those parts and steeped in the local culture (at least what was approved officially or tacitly under commun
...more
Christopher
Oct 20, 2011 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
This book, arch frenemy of my summer reading plans, would not be rushed.

After three full months of plodding through it a page or two at a time, my mind remains a fog of Central European history.

However slow, the beginning of one paragraph, written somewhere in the tangle of the Danube delta, brought me to the present tense, and beckoned me to experience the river for myself:

"An uprooted oak-tree lies rotting in the water, a vulture swoops like lightning on a little coot. A girl takes off her
...more
Erwin Maack
Jul 17, 2014 Erwin Maack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Procurar as origens da Torre de Babel? Não me seria surpreendente se algum entrevistador conseguisse esta dúvida como resposta ao porquê de ter escrito tal livro. Foi o que senti no decorrer destas páginas. Desde as suas origens (do rio) até o seu delta as histórias se aprimoram nos fatos e nos deixam um grande espaço para refletir e sonhar. Afinal de contas não saberemos jamais a resposta para a nossa mais profunda dúvida, como é que poderíamos encontrá-la em algum lugar? Entretanto não é ela q ...more
Carlos Manzano
Mar 08, 2013 Carlos Manzano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"El Danubio" es algo así como el paradigma de la literatura de viajes. No es un libro de anécdotas, historias más o menos triviales ni sucesos sin apenas importancia: “El Danubio” se adentra hasta el tuétano en la cultura y la historia centroeuropeas, nos lleva de la mano por sus principales hitos, por su idiosincrasia y por supuesto también por sus aspectos más indignantes, supeditando el viaje físico al intelectual, a la experiencia verdaderamente vital.
Selma
Oct 22, 2013 Selma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading Claudio Magris is like reading Thomas Carlyle translated into German then back into English. Whose fault is this? The writer's, the translator's? Does ploughing through this allusion-larded (some would say, "show-offy" or "pedantic") text tell you anything about the Danube and its territories? A little. If you have a lot of time and idle curiosity, go for it.
Olla Dilas
Sep 13, 2012 Olla Dilas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this piece! This book is a unique geneology of a river, a continent and human society within it and around it. It is a well written analysis of Central European culture, ethos and philosophy through centuries. Danube the book and Danube the river are two sides of one coin. Danube and its everlasting presence serves as a constant reminder for Europens and humans everywhere of just how vague our knowlage or belief about who we assume we are is. Wonder, learn, think about it!
Liberis
Dec 27, 2015 Liberis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ενα ωραίο ταξίδι, κάποιες φορές κουραστικό, άλλες φορές ανάλαφρο κι όμορφο, είναι όμως ένα βιβλίο που εισχωρεί στον παραδουνάβιο πολιτισμό, με ιδιαίτερη έμφαση όμως στη γερμανόφωνη κουλτούρα. Έτσι, θεωρώ εξαιρετικά τα κεφάλαια του βιβλίου μέχρι τη Βουδαπέστη, μετά λίγο χάθηκε σε ελάσσονες συγγραφείς ειδικού ενδιαφέροντος. Στη μετάφραση έχει ψιλολαθάκια σε όρους κυρίως και ονομασίες. Ωστόσο, χάρηκα που ξαναβγήκε και μπόρεσα να το διαβάσω
Russell
May 18, 2012 Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really thought this was a masterpiece when I first read it ten years ago, and when I look back at passages again now, I still think so. Maybe Magris gets a little long-winded with the Austrian literary references, but that is part of the point, and he certainly knows his stuff enough to make them effectively. I don't know if one can write this kind of book anymore.
Chuck McGrady
The book tracks the Danube River from its meager beginning to its many mouths emptying into the Black Sea. The author is like an encyclopedia on history and literature. My thought was to read this while on the Danube but that didn't work out. While recognizing the scholarship and the writing style, this was just not a book that did anything for me.
Dymbula
Jan 19, 2017 Dymbula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Další kniha, které jsem dal s nadšením 5 hvězdiček. Výborný nápad, navléct na šňůrku Dunaje příběhy historické i literární, básníky... prostě umělce. Od pramene do ústí. Kniha, která mi rozšířila obzor a nutila mě hledat souvislosti a nabídla jména, o která se začnu zajímat.
Tom Hannis
Nov 22, 2012 Tom Hannis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


An amazing work that took me months to get through - and I will spend several more days going back to do further research on dozens of literary and historical references.
Lorenzo Berardi
I am in love with river Danube.
Yet Claudio Magris came first in romanticism.

It doesn't matter. I can easily tolerate him as a rival.
As long as the river flows.
Lisa Listgarten
Got through two chapters. Totally unreadable.
Jeroen
Jan 03, 2013 Jeroen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surely one of the things that defines rivers is their continuity. Their flow is an uninterrupted one from beginning to end. There is no lunch break, no skipping classes. As obvious as it is to say so, it is important to remember that the Danube is filled with water, has banks, and is lived at, at every single point on the line that it forges across the map of Europe.

I say this because Magris does not always make it clear in his book. My Dutch version of the book is billed as a “journey of discov
...more
Harald
"Danube" has the misleading subtitle "A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea." However, it is not a travel book in the ordinary sense, it is rather an extended essay on literature with the Danube providing the linear structure instead of a chronology, which is nowhere to be seen. Claudio Magris discusses a large number of Central European authors, who for most readers will be quite obscure and deservedly so. The first chapter on the sources of the Danube is especially demanding a ...more
Patricia
Apr 04, 2014 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Patricia by: Deborah Kovacs
This is a brilliant book unlike any other I've read. Though dense, the writing is by turns lyrical, philosophical, cynical, and funny. It's taken me a long time to munch through it, short chapter by short chapter, one or two a night, with long interludes setting it aside . . . and yet it was delicious to munch. It impelled me to read on and lent itself to this episodic reading, with each short chapter capable of standing alone. It's like traveling--along the length of the Danube, in this case--w ...more
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Claudio Magris was born in Trieste in the year 1939. He graduated from the University of Turin, where he studied German studies, and has been a professor of modern German literature at the University of Trieste since 1978.

His major work is Danubio (1986), which is a magnum opus. In this book Magris tracks the course of the Danube from its sources to the sea. The whole trip evolves into a colorful
...more
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“History shows that it is not only senseless and cruel, but also difficult to state who is a foreigner.” 23 likes
“The Danube is not blue, as Karl Isidore Beck calls it in the lines which suggested to Strauss the fetching, mendacious title of his waltz. The Danube is blond, 'a szöke Duna', as the Hungarians say, but even that 'blond' is a Magyar gallantry, or a French one, since in 1904 Gaston Lavergnolle called it Le Beau Danube blond. More down to earth, Jules Verne thought of entitling a novel Le Beau Danube jaune. Muddy yellow is the water that grows murky at the bottom of these [the Strudlhof] steps.” 4 likes
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