Jonathan Franzen, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, V. S. Naipaul, Ted Hughes, Anton Delvig, Robert Sabatier, Herta Müller

De Amerikaanse schrijver Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.

Uit: The Discomfort Zone


Our friend Kirby, it turned out, had charmed the owner of the Florida house, and the beer keg was fully operational, and so our last week of living like rich people unfolded amicably. I spent morbid, delicious amounts of time by myself, driven by the sort of hormonal instinct that I imagine leads cats to eat grass. The half-finished high-rises to our east were poised to engulf our idyll, even if we’d wanted to come back another year, but the transformation of a quiet, sandpiper-friendly beach into a high-density population center was such a novelty for us that we didn’t even have a category for the loss it represented. I studied the skeletal towers the way I studied bad weather.

At the end of the week, my parents and I drove deeper into Florida, so that I could be taken to Disney World. My father was big on fairness, and because my brothers had once spent a day at Disneyland, many years earlier, it was unthinkable that I not be given the equivalent treat of a day at Disney World, whether or not I was too old for it, and whether or not I wanted to be there. I might not have minded going with my friend Manley, or with my not-girlfriend Hoener, and mocking and subverting the place and allowing myself to like it that way. But mocking and subverting in the presence of my parents was out of the question.”



Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)


De Ethiopische schrijver Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin werd geboren op 17 augustus 1936 in Boda bij Ambo. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: Literature and the African Public


But as to why these trees of African languages were not, so fur, given enough chance to bear fruit, demands of us, to face certain rigid factors of history and politics.

What was Africa considered to be before the colonial days? The Westerners had mostly to rely on what their travelers, their ivory hunters and slave traders reported to them, followed by the information from their missionaries and finally through the suppressed echoes of the whip of their colonial administrators. As such, the first introduction of the black man in the concept of the Western, was in the image of a humiliated humanity. The slander to his dignity, to his way of life, to his values, which so incessantly recur as a matter of fact across the “civilized” world today, drew breath, then. Although his social systems were almost, destroyed although condemned to grapple with these world wide historic and current realities which negate his values, yet, it is still not by his capacity as an individual, not by his success or failure as a member of a group reflection, but the color of his skin and his physical characteristics appeared to be the core of the element by which the Western master judged him. He is put on trial by his very appearance and played the underdog of his country’s class structures.


Out of these and against these, the African was taught to protest in his master’s ways, in his master’s values, in his master’s language. Yet Africa was never mute in her own heritage of self expressions before or after the colonial days. The problem is how to record her abundant oral literatures in her own languages and preserve them for her children, how to record the very social traditions both in their similar and contradicting shades and evolve them in a harmony of oneness through the taste of time and the criteria of their own humane level, since any language should be given a chance to develop its potential of literature.”



Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (17 augustus 1936 – 25 februari 2006)


De Franse schrijver en diplomaat Roger Peyrefitte werd geboren op 17 augustus 1907 in  Castres. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: Les Amitiés particulières



Roger Peyrefitte (17 augustus 1907 – 5 november 2000)



De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: The Enigma of Arrival


To see the possibility, the certainty, of ruin, even at the moment of creation: it was my temperament. Those nerves had been given me as a child in Trinidad partly by our family circumstances: the half-ruined or broken-down houses we lived in, our many moves, our general uncertainty. Possibly, too, this mode of feeling went deeper, and was an ancestral inheritance, something that came with the history that had made me: not only India, with its ideas of a world outside men’s control, but also the colonial plantations or estates of Trinidad, to which my impoverished Indian ancestors had been transported in the last century – estates of which this Wiltshire estate, where I now lived, had been the apotheosis.
Fifty years ago there would have been no room for me on the estate; even now my presence was a little unlikely. But more than accident had brought me here. Or rather, in the series of accidents that had brought me to the manor cottage, with a view of the restored church, there was a clear historical line. The migration, within the British Empire, from India to Trinidad had given me the English language as my own, and a particular kind of education. This had partly seeded my wish to be a writer in a particular mode, and had committed me to the literary career I had been following in England for twenty years.
The history I carried with me, together with the self-awareness that had come with my education and ambition, had sent me into the world with a sense of glory dead; and in England had given me the rawest stranger’s nerves. Now ironically – or aptly – living in the grounds of this shrunken estate, going out for my walks, those nerves were soothed, and in the wild garden and orchard beside the water meadows I found a physical beauty perfectly suited to my temperament and answering, besides, every good idea I could have had, as a child in Trinidad, of the physical aspect of England.”



V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)


De Engelse dichter en schrijver Ted Hughes werd geboren op 17 augustus 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006.



He loved her and she loved him.
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her ey
es wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment’s brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was

Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
His glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon’s gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
Her vows put his eyes in formalin
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall

Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other’s face



Ted Hughes (17 augustus 1930 – 28 oktober 1998)


De Russische dichter Anton Delvig werd geboren op 17 augustus 1798 in Moskou. Hij studeerde samen met Aleksandr Poesjkin aan het lyceum Zarskoje Selo en raakte met hem bevriend. Samen gaven ze de Literaturnaya Gazeta uit (1830-1831). Delvig stond in de traditie van het Russische neoclassicisme.



Russisches Lied


Sang wohl, sang das Vögelein,
Und verstummte.
Ward dem Herzen Freude kund,
Und Vergessen.


Vöglein, das so gerne singt,
Warum schweigt es?
Herz, was ist mit dir geschehn,
Daß du traurig?


Ach, das Vöglein tötete
Rauher Schneesturm,
Und das Herz des Burschen brach
Böses Reden.


Wär’ das Vöglein gern geflogen
Fort zum Meere,
Wär’ der Bursche gern entflohen
In die Wälder.


In dem Meere treibt die Flut,
Doch kein Schneesturm –
Wilde Tiere birgt der Wald,
Doch nicht Menschen.



Vertaald door Friedrich Bodenstedt



Der Dichter


Lang verbirgt er im Herzen die tiefen Gefühl’ und Gedanken:
Scheint mit den Menschen, mit uns, nicht sie zu teilen bereit!
Selten nur so – nach demWillen des Himmels? – beginnt er zu singen,
Götter! dann bringt uns sein Lied Leben und Liebe und Glück,
Ganz wie in uraltem Wein, dem teuren Gaste kredenzet,
Schmeicheln den Sinnen zugleich: Farbe und Duft und



Vertaald door Rolf-Dietrich Keil



Anton Delvig (17 augustus 1798 – 26 januari 1831)


De Franse dichter en schrijver Robert Sabatier werd geboren op 17 augustus 1923 in Parijs. Sinds 1971 is hij lid van de l’Académie Goncourt. Hij schrijft gedichten die de invloed verraden van het surrealisme. In zijn proza draait het vaak om outsiders Sabatier schreef eveneens een Histoire de la Poésie française.




Adieu mon livre, adieu ma page écrite,
Se détachant de moi comme une feuille,
Me laissant nu comme un cliché d’automne.


Je vous dédie une arche de parole
Pour naviguer, mes amis, naviguer
Dans ma mémoire où se taisent les loups.


Vole ma feuille au-dessus de la ville,
Franchis le fleuve et détruis la frontière.
Amour, amour, ô ma géographie!


Et si tu cours au fil de l’onde, un songe
Recueillera mes images mouillées
Que dans un pré le soleil séchera.


Poète ici, poète comme un arbre
Offrant sa feuille à la terre gourmande
Et dans l’humus herbe ressuscitant.


Un autre livre, une parole neuve,
Les mêmes mots dans d’autres mariages
Et toujours l’homme et son tapis volant.



Robert Sabatier (Parijs, 17 augustus 1923)


De Duitse schrijfster Herta Müller werd geboren op 17 augustus 1953 in Nitzkydorf, Roemenië. Zij studeerde germanistiek en Roemeense literatuur aan de universiteit van het westen in Timişoara. Vanaf 1976 werkte zij als vertaalster in een machinefabriek, maar toen ze in 1979 niet wilde samenwerken met de Securitate werd zij ontslagen. Zij werkte tijdelijk als docente en privélerares. In 1982 kon haar eerste roman slechts in een gecensureerde versie verschijnen. In 1987 emigreerde zij met haar man naar de BRD. Ze kreeg in de volgende jaren verschillende leeropdrachten als writer in residence.


Uit: Der König verneigt sich und tötet


In der Dorfsprache – so schien es mir als Kind – lagen bei allen Leuten um mich herum die Worte direkt auf den Dingen, die sie bezeichneten. Die Dinge hießen genauso, wie sie waren, und sie waren genauso, wie sie hießen. Ein für immer geschlossenes Einverständnis. Es gab für die meisten Leute keine Lücken, durch die man zwischen Wort und Gegenstand hindurch schauen und ins Nichts starren mußte, als rutsche man aus seiner Haut ins Leere. Die alltäglichen Handgriffe waren instinktiv, wortlos eingeübte Arbeit, der Kopf ging den Weg der Handgriffe nicht mit und hatte auch nicht seine eigenen, abweichenden Wege. Der Kopf war da, um die Augen und Ohren zu tragen, die man beim Arbeiten brauchte. Die Redewendung: »Der hat seinen Kopf auf den Schultern, damit es ihm nicht in den Hals regnet,« dieser Spruch konnte auf den Alltag aller angewendet werden. Oder doch nicht? Warum riet meine Großmutter meiner Mutter, wenn es Winter und draußen nichts zu tun, wenn mein Vater ohne Unterlaß Tage hintereinander sturzbesoffen war: »Wenn du meinst, daß du nicht durchhältst, dann räum den Schrank auf.« Den Kopf still stellen durchs Hin- und Herräumen von Wäsche. Die Mutter sollte ihre Blusen und seine Hemden, ihre Strümpfe und seine Socken, ihre Röcke und seine Hosen neu falten und stapeln oder nebeneinander hängen. Frisch beieinander sollten die Kleider der Beiden verhindern, daß er sich aus dieser Ehe heraus säuft.”



Herta Müller (Nitzkydorf, 17 augustus 1953)