David's Reviews > Sagen des klassischen Altertums

Sagen des klassischen Altertums by Gustav Schwab
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's review
Sep 30, 2010

really liked it
Read in January, 1978 — I own a copy

On the inside front page of my copy of this book, I have just rediscovered the following inscription:

Fur Daithi Mac Giolla tSeanain
fur gute Leistungen in der deutschen Sprache
mit den besten Wuenschen

Dr. Karl-Gustav Gerold
Kultur-Attache der Deutschen Botschaft

Dublin, 2. Febr. 1972

Doctor Gerold's spidery inscription triggered a sudden, vivid recollection of a cold, wet February day in Dublin (is there any other kind?). My classmate Seamus Higgins and I had the day off class, but we weren't free to roam at will. Instead, we made our way to the German Embassy, where we were guests of honour (with a third student, Willie O'Brien, from one of the snooty Dublin city prep schools) at an award ceremony, the three of us having scored highest in the country in the previous year's Inter Cert German exam. The book was a handsome prize (though my German wasn't actually good enough to read it for another five years, when I spent a year in Berlin). But it wasn't the best part of the very formal, slightly awkward ceremony, at which we had to make fractured small talk with the cultural attache and the ambassador, while trying to manoeuver the delicate hors d'oeuvres and alcohol-free sparkling grape juice. I had only just turned 15, and found the whole occasion a bit of an ordeal. But it all became much more tolerable when the ambassador broke the big news, that there was a second part to the award, namely a fully paid 4-week trip to Germany for the following September (including tickets to the Munich Olympics).

It was the beginning of a highly enjoyable, and lucrative, relationship with the German government, who subsequently paid for not just that month's initial visit, but also bankrolled the first year of my Master's degree at the Technical University in Berlin.

Those were the good times.

What's that? You were expecting a book review? That will be over here, where the English translation is listed, as soon as I get it written:


{end shameless boasting about childhood accomplishments}

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