Catalogue


The author of himself : the life of Marcel Reich-Ranicki /
Marcel Reich-Ranicki ; translated from the German by Ewald Osers ; with a foreword by Jack Zipes.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2001.
description
x, 407 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691090408
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
personal subject
More Details
uniform title
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2001.
isbn
0691090408
general note
Includes index.
language note
Translated from the German.
catalogue key
4726741
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This is an extraordinary autobiography written in a unique style that is very smooth, conversational, and frank. Reich-Ranicki is the most important literary critic on the German scene and has had a singular influence on German culture. His life reads like a novel."--Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota "This is a remarkable book. Reich-Ranicki has produced a beautifully written and sharply observed testament to a lifelong love/hate relationship with the Germany that fascinated him as a youth, destroyed his family and his prewar world, and finally--ambivalently and deeply ironically--anointed him as its pope of literature."--Atina Grossmann, Cooper Union
Flap Copy
"This is an extraordinary autobiography written in a unique style that is very smooth, conversational, and frank. Reich-Ranicki is the most important literary critic on the German scene and has had a singular influence on German culture. His life reads like a novel."-- Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota "This is a remarkable book. Reich-Ranicki has produced a beautifully written and sharply observed testament to a lifelong love/hate relationship with the Germany that fascinated him as a youth, destroyed his family and his prewar world, and finally--ambivalently and deeply ironically--anointed him as its pope of literature."-- Atina Grossmann, Cooper Union
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-01-01:
Reich-Ranicki's autobiography has been a best seller in Germany, where the author has established himself as the nation's leading literary critic. Literary editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine and host of the popular TV show Literary Quartet, he is referred to as the "pope" of German literature, the authority who determines the fate of a book. Polish Jewish by birth, Reich-Ranicki is a naturalized citizen of the Federal Republic but considers himself an outsider. His life, therefore, represents the greatest irony: a Jew whose passion for German literature has made him into a cultural icon in a post-Holocaust Germany. Reich-Ranicki's life is a survivor's tale. In addition the events of his life after the war and the controversies of his later professional life, he vividly describes his school years during the 1930s under the Nazis in Berlin, his fair treatment by teachers, the rich theater life in the capital, his deportation back to Poland, and the horrors of the Warsaw ghetto (his work as a translator for the SS and the Jewish authorities made him privy to many episodes of ghetto life told here for the first time). Narrated in an engaging, matter-of-fact style void of sensationalism, this book transforms Reich-Ranicki's story into an unforgettable document of modern times. All collections. R. C. Conard University of Dayton
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2001-07-02:
From the German critic whose "word can make or break a writer's career" (according to Jack Zipes I his foreword) comes The Author of Himself: The Life of Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ewald Osers. In describing his Polish childhood, experiences during WWII (his Jewish family's annihilation; his harrowing escape from the Warsaw ghetto with his wife), postwar stint with the Polish secret service, expulsion from the Communist Party and resulting ostracism in Poland, early career as a book reviewer and rising star upon moving to Germany, Reich-Ranicki examines issues of identity ("I have... no homeland.... On the other hand, I am not... entirely... without a country"), reconciliation ("to hate properly, for any length of time no, that I could never do") and many things literary ("the boldest and most original ideas... spawn pitiful books, while seemingly absurd motifs can result in magnificent novels"). Spanning much of the 20th century's horror and literary activity, this moving, erudite autobiography (the top-seller in Germany for 53 weeks) makes an important contribution to Holocaust literature. ( Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2001-09-01:
Reich-Ranicki, one of Germany's foremost contemporary literary critics, or "the pope of German letters," declares in the first chapter of this autobiography that he is "half Polish, half German, and wholly Jewish." Born in Poland in 1920, he moved to Berlin as a boy, where he developed his passion for literature before his family was deported by the Nazis and forced into the Warsaw ghetto. Following the war years and the loss of most of his family, he returned to Germany to a highly successful literary career. Reich-Ranicki's account of life in the Polish ghetto are some of the most vivid and compelling ever written. The main thread of this autobiography, however, is the author's complex relationship to Germany in general and the German language in particular. The issue explored throughout is how a civilized nation of high culture carried out war and the Holocaust and, on a more immediate level, how and why a Jew like Reich-Ranicki was able to reconcile himself to a country that perpetrated such horrors. This book headed the German best-sellers list for more than a year when it came out in 2001. Strongly recommended for all academic libraries, large literary collections, and all other libraries with any interest in the history of the Holocaust. Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Reich-Ranicki's accounts of life in the Polish ghetto are some of the most vivid and compelling ever written. . . . The book headed the German best-sellers list for more than a year when it came out."-- Library Journal
Reich-Ranicki's accounts of life in the Polish ghetto are some of the most vivid and compelling ever written. . . . The book headed the German best-sellers list for more than a year when it came out. -- Library Journal
[T]his autobiography is far more than the account of a literary career; it is an unforgettable piece of Holocaust literature.
"[T]his autobiography is far more than the account of a literary career; it is an unforgettable piece of Holocaust literature."-- Peter Graves, Times Literary Supplement
[T]his autobiography is far more than the account of a literary career; it is an unforgettable piece of Holocaust literature. -- Peter Graves, Times Literary Supplement
[Reich-Ranicki] is an eloquent, thoughtful critic, prodigiously well read in German language literature, who, despite the loss of his family in the Holocaust and his experiences in the Warsaw ghetto, never lost his passion for that literature. That enduring love is the cornerstone of his autobiography. -- Tess Lewis, The New Criterion
"[An] unforgettable book. Reich-Ranicki's position in German culture is unimaginable in any other country except perhaps, Russia. For more than twenty years, German writers have trembled, fumed, wept, and on occasion preened themselves over his verdicts on their work. . . . [H]e established an almost imperial ascendancy over German literary criticism."-- Neal Ascherson, New York Review of Books
Narrated in an engaging, matter-of-fact style void of sensationalism, this book transforms Reich-Ranicki's story into an unforgettable document of modern times.
"Narrated in an engaging, matter-of-fact style void of sensationalism, this book transforms Reich-Ranicki's story into an unforgettable document of modern times."-- Choice
Narrated in an engaging, matter-of-fact style void of sensationalism, this book transforms Reich-Ranicki's story into an unforgettable document of modern times. -- Choice
One of the great literary memoirs of the twentieth century.
"One of the great literary memoirs of the twentieth century."-- Edward Timms, Times Literary Supplement
One of the great literary memoirs of the twentieth century. -- Edward Timms, Times Literary Supplement
[Reich-Ranicki] is an eloquent, thoughtful critic, prodigiously well read in German language literature, who, despite the loss of his family in the Holocaust and his experiences in the Warsaw ghetto, never lost his passion for that literature. That enduring love is the cornerstone of his autobiography.
"[Reich-Ranicki] is an eloquent, thoughtful critic, prodigiously well read in German language literature, who, despite the loss of his family in the Holocaust and his experiences in the Warsaw ghetto, never lost his passion for that literature. That enduring love is the cornerstone of his autobiography."-- Tess Lewis, The New Criterion
[An] unforgettable book. Reich-Ranicki's position in German culture is unimaginable in any other country except perhaps, Russia. For more than twenty years, German writers have trembled, fumed, wept, and on occasion preened themselves over his verdicts on their work. . . . [H]e established an almost imperial ascendancy over German literary criticism.
This is an extraordinary autobiography written in a unique style that is very smooth, conversational, and frank. Reich-Ranicki is the most important literary critic on the German scene and has had a singular influence on German culture. His life reads like a novel.
This is a remarkable book. Reich-Ranicki has produced a beautifully written and sharply observed testament to a lifelong love/hate relationship with the Germany that fascinated him as a youth, destroyed his family and his prewar world, and finally--ambivalently and deeply ironically--anointed him as its pope of literature.
"Written in a deceptively simple and beautifully wrought German and ably translated, . . . [this] is one of the most poignant and important memoirs of the last century. . . . Reich-Ranicki is the quintessential outsider, and few lives reveal as much about the past century and where the new one may be headed."-- Jacob Heilbrunn, Los Angeles Times Book Review
Reich-Ranicki's accounts of life in the Polish ghetto are some of the most vivid and compelling ever written. . . . The book headed the German best-sellers list for more than a year when it came out.
It is understandable why Mr. Ranicki's autobiography has become such a huge bestseller in Germany. His personal experiences are not only woven around the most critical historical events but they have intersected with the lives of the most prominent German authors such as Joachim Fest, Heinrich Boll, and Gunter Grass. Mr. Ranicki is above all respected for his honesty and clarity and he spares no one from the thrust of his literary insight. -- Janusz Bugajski, The Washington Times
Written in a deceptively simple and beautifully wrought German and ably translated, . . . [this] is one of the most poignant and important memoirs of the last century. . . . Reich-Ranicki is the quintessential outsider, and few lives reveal as much about the past century and where the new one may be headed. -- Jacob Heilbrunn, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"An unforgettable piece of Holocaust literature that forces the reader to consider the long-term effects of unimaginable loss."-- Elaine Margolin, Partisan Review
An unforgettable piece of Holocaust literature that forces the reader to consider the long-term effects of unimaginable loss. -- Elaine Margolin, Partisan Review
It is understandable why Mr. Ranicki's autobiography has become such a huge bestseller in Germany. His personal experiences are not only woven around the most critical historical events but they have intersected with the lives of the most prominent German authors such as Joachim Fest, Heinrich Boll, and Gunter Grass. Mr. Ranicki is above all respected for his honesty and clarity and he spares no one from the thrust of his literary insight.
"It is understandable why Mr. Ranicki's autobiography has become such a huge bestseller in Germany. His personal experiences are not only woven around the most critical historical events but they have intersected with the lives of the most prominent German authors such as Joachim Fest, Heinrich Boll, and Gunter Grass. Mr. Ranicki is above all respected for his honesty and clarity and he spares no one from the thrust of his literary insight."-- Janusz Bugajski, The Washington Times
Written in a deceptively simple and beautifully wrought German and ably translated, . . . [this] is one of the most poignant and important memoirs of the last century. . . . Reich-Ranicki is the quintessential outsider, and few lives reveal as much about the past century and where the new one may be headed.
[An] unforgettable book. Reich-Ranicki's position in German culture is unimaginable in any other country except perhaps, Russia. For more than twenty years, German writers have trembled, fumed, wept, and on occasion preened themselves over his verdicts on their work. . . . [H]e established an almost imperial ascendancy over German literary criticism. -- Neal Ascherson, New York Review of Books
An unforgettable piece of Holocaust literature that forces the reader to consider the long-term effects of unimaginable loss.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, July 2001
Library Journal, September 2001
Choice, January 2002
Los Angeles Times, July 2002
Books in Canada, August 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Marcel Reich-Ranicki is remarkable for both his unlikely life story and his brilliant career as the "pope of German letters." His sublimely written autobiography is at once a fascinating adventure tale, an unusual account of German-Jewish relations, a personal rumination on who's who in German culture, and a love letter to literature. Reich-Ranicki's life took him from middle-class childhood to wartime misery to the heights of intellectual celebrity. Born into a Jewish family in Poland in 1920, he moved to Berlin as a boy. There he discovered his passion for literature and began a complex affair with German culture. In 1938, his family was deported back to Poland, where German occupation forced him into the Warsaw Ghetto. As a member of the Jewish resistance, a translator for the Jewish Council, and a man who personally experienced the ghetto's inhumane conditions, Reich-Ranicki gained both a bird's-eye and ground-level view of Nazi barbarism. Written with subtlety and intelligence, his account of this episode is among the most compelling and dramatic ever recorded. He escaped with his wife and spent two years hiding in the cellar of Polish peasants--an incident later immortalized by GÜnter Grass. After liberation, he joined and then fell out with the Communist Party and was temporarily imprisoned. He began writing and soon became Poland's foremost critical commentator on German literature. When Reich-Ranicki returned to Germany in 1958, his rise was meteoric. In short order, he claimed national celebrity and notoriety as the head of the literary section of the leading newspaper and host of his own television program. He frequently flabbergasted viewers with his bold pronouncements and flexed his power to make or break a writer's career. His list of friends and enemies rapidly expanded to include every influential player on the German literary scene, including Grass and Heinrich BÖll. This, together with his keen critical instincts, makes his memoir an indispensable guide to contemporary German culture as well as an absorbing eyewitness history of some of the twentieth century's most important events.
Main Description
Marcel Reich-Ranicki is remarkable for both his unlikely life story and his brilliant career as the "pope of German letters." His sublimely written autobiography is at once a fascinating adventure tale, an unusual account of German-Jewish relations, a personal rumination on who's who in German culture, and a love letter to literature. Reich-Ranicki's life took him from middle-class childhood to wartime misery to the heights of intellectual celebrity. Born into a Jewish family in Poland in 1920, he moved to Berlin as a boy. There he discovered his passion for literature and began a complex affair with German culture. In 1938, his family was deported back to Poland, where German occupation forced him into the Warsaw Ghetto. As a member of the Jewish resistance, a translator for the Jewish Council, and a man who personally experienced the ghetto's inhumane conditions, Reich-Ranicki gained both a bird's-eye and ground-level view of Nazi barbarism. Written with subtlety and intelligence, his account of this episode is among the most compelling and dramatic ever recorded. He escaped with his wife and spent two years hiding in the cellar of Polish peasants--an incident later immortalized by G nter Grass. After liberation, he joined and then fell out with the Communist Party and was temporarily imprisoned. He began writing and soon became Poland's foremost critical commentator on German literature. When Reich-Ranicki returned to Germany in 1958, his rise was meteoric. In short order, he claimed national celebrity and notoriety as the head of the literary section of the leading newspaper and host of his own television program. He frequently flabbergasted viewers with his bold pronouncements and flexed his power to make or break a writer's career. His list of friends and enemies rapidly expanded to include every influential player on the German literary scene, including Grass and Heinrich B ll. This, together with his keen critical instincts, makes his memoir an indispensable guide to contemporary German culture as well as an absorbing eyewitness history of some of the twentieth century's most important events.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. vii
1920-1938
'What Are You Really?'p. 3
'Half Dragged, Half Plunging, so He Sank ...'p. 14
Herr Kastner: 'To Be Applied to the Soul'p. 21
Reverence for Writp. 29
Racial Theoryp. 44
Several Love Affairs at the Same Timep. 54
My Most Wonderful Refuge--the Theatrep. 71
A Suffering which Brings Happinessp. 88
The Door to the Next Roomp. 98
With Invisible Luggagep. 103
1938-1944
Poetry and the Warp. 113
Hunting Down Jews Is Funp. 123
The Dead Man and His Daughterp. 131
From Quarantine District to Ghettop. 138
The Words of a Foolp. 144
'If Music Be the Food of Love ...'p. 151
Death Sentences to the Accompaniment of Viennese Waltzesp. 161
An Intellectual, a Martyr, a Herop. 170
A Brand-new Riding Cropp. 176
Order, Hygiene, Disciplinep. 183
Stories For Bolekp. 193
1944-1958
My First Shot, My Last Shotp. 209
From Reich to Ranickip. 222
Brecht, Seghers, Huchel and Othersp. 235
Josef K., Stalin Quotations and Heinrich Bollp. 247
A Study Trip with Consequencesp. 261
A Young Man with a Massive Moustachep. 269
1958-1973
Recognized as Germansp. 281
Group 47 and its First Ladyp. 287
Walter Jens, or the Friendshipp. 297
Literature as Awareness of Lifep. 304
Canetti, Adorno, Bernhard and Othersp. 312
A Tavern and a Calculating Machinep. 327
1973-1999
The Sinister Guest of Honourp. 339
Make Way for Poetry!p. 344
A Genius only during Working Hoursp. 353
The Magician's Familyp. 358
Max Frischp. 367
Yehudi Menuhin and Our Quartetp. 373
Joachim Fest and Martin Walserp. 382
''Tis a Dream ...'p. 391
Thanksgivingp. 393
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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