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Wolfgang Hilbig
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message 1: by Larou (new)

Larou | 21 comments An East-German author, but published almost exclusively in West-Germany before the reunification. Used to be quite well-known among the literary inclined in Germany, not sure how things are today, as he died in 2007. He received the prestiguous Georg Büchner Prize but as far as I'm aware is buried under a huge mountain of ignorance outside of Germany.

He wrote some poetry but his main work is in his prose, my personal favourite being Alte Abdeckerei: Erzählung. His books are dark to the point of being bleak but told in a very lyrical and extremely dense prose that shows some influence of expressionism but turned into some uniquely his own. I don't think there is another writer who has caught the bleakness and despair of life in Eastern Europe as well as he did, or of life under capitalism at that.

Not an easy author to read, but one of the most remarkable German writers during the second half of the twentieth century. Some more info here and some tranlated prose bits here.


message 2: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments Larou wrote: "buried under a huge mountain of ignorance outside of Germany."

And did I receive not a hint of a whiff of an English translation aside from the brief weblink above? Although his Ich found its way into Croatian and Spanish. Is a Hilbig book on the schedule of Herr John E. Woods?


message 3: by Larou (new)

Larou | 21 comments I just noticed that there appear to have been two works by Wolfgang Hilbig released in English translation in the last few months, namely I and The Sleep of the Righteous which I strongly urge everyone to pick up.

There are reviews of Sleep of the Righteous here and here (and conveniently the foreword by Krazhanorkai is just long enough to fit into the Amazon preview). This is strong (read: unrelentingly bleak as well as very densely written and intensely poetic - you can see why Krazhanorkai of all people would recommend it) stuff and offers a chance to the English-speaking public to finally discover one of the greatest German prose writers of te past decades.


message 4: by Caroline (new)

Caroline (carobibliophile) | 9 comments The work published by the Center for the Art of Translation (Two Lines) is terrific. Bleak in a way, but also some luminous and haunting writing. He is lucky to have an excellent translator (or at least, someone who makes his work sound wonderful). This will definitely be in contention for prizes this year.


message 5: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments Larou wrote: "I just noticed that there appear to have been two works by Wolfgang Hilbig released in English translation in the last few months, namely I and [book:The Sleep of the Righteous|2469..."

Thanks for the update. I'd been hearing his name recently and wondering why it sounded familiar.


message 6: by Larou (new)

Larou | 21 comments A worthwhile article on Hilbig from the LA Review of Books here - "Hilbig’s sentences wrench themselves along with the aid of dashes and ellipses. Never quite finishing but soldered to each other with intrusive punctuation, disjointed clauses coagulate into paragraphs. The sentences seem to sprout and branch, copulating like the nefarious bottles."


message 7: by S̶e̶a̶n̶ (new)

S̶e̶a̶n̶ (nothingness) | 92 comments This year Two Lines Press has continued its steady release of Hilbig's phenomenal cryptic fiction into English with the November publication of Old Rendering Plant. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Below are several reviews that capture different aspects of what is a complex, multi-faceted novel, despite its brevity:

Joseph Schreiber writing at The Quarterly Conversation

Nathan Scott McNamara writing at LA Review of Books Blog

Kai Maristed writing at The Arts Fuse


message 8: by Larou (new)

Larou | 21 comments Oh, thanks, very nice to see that Alte Abdeckerei got an English translation. :)


message 9: by S̶e̶a̶n̶ (new)

S̶e̶a̶n̶ (nothingness) | 92 comments Thank you for starting this thread! I hope more people start reading him in English. He deserves a wider readership.


message 10: by Nate (new)

Nate (rockhyrax) | 354 comments I just picked up a copy from the Brooklyn library, so this is exciting.


message 11: by S̶e̶a̶n̶ (new)

S̶e̶a̶n̶ (nothingness) | 92 comments Just an update to note that in mid-November Two Lines Press published an English translation of Hilbig's 1987 novella Die Weiber.


message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) And they published Die Kunde von den Bäumen (Tidings of the Trees) in June this year as well, which was excellent

Still waiting my copy of The Females (Die Wieber) though.


message 13: by Nate (new)

Nate (rockhyrax) | 354 comments Glad to see this continued flood of Hilbig into translation, looking forward to reading more.


message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) I put together for my most recent review of a Hilbig work, a bibliography of his published fiction and English translations where applicable.

Das Provisorium seems the key missing work in English.
 
Unterm Neomond (1982), stories
 
Der Brief (1985), 3 stories
 
Die Weiber (1987), novella, translated as The Females (2018)
my review
 
Eine Übertragung (1989), his first novel
 
Alte Abdeckerei (1991), novella, translated as The Old Rendering Plant (2017)
my review
 
Die Kunde von den Bäumen (1992), novella, translated as The Tidings of the Trees (2018)
my review
 
»Ich« (1993), novel, translated as I (2015)
my review
 
Grünes grünes Grab (1993), stories
 
Die Arbeit an den Öfen (1994), stories
 
Das Provisorium (2000), novel
 
Der Schlaf der Gerechten (2003), stories, translated as The Sleep of the Righteous (2015)
my review
 
In addition he published a number of books of poems and of prose pieces.
 
Source: https://www.wolfgang-hilbig.de/wolfga...
 


message 15: by S̶e̶a̶n̶ (new)

S̶e̶a̶n̶ (nothingness) | 92 comments Thanks, Paul. Very helpful.


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