Summer Reading Challenge


Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Country called literature ( The Author of Himself, The Life of Marcel Reich-Ranicki)

Polish born in 1920, Marcel Reich-Ranicki was raised and educated in Germany. The Nazis deported him back to Poland just prior to the 1938 invasion. There, although his parents and brother were murdered, he and his wife survived the war, first in the Warsaw Ghetto and later, sheltered by some decent Poles who felt it was the small way they could defy Hitler and the Germans. Out of loyalty to the Russian army who liberated them, Reich-Ranicki lived in Communist Poland, first doing intelligence work and then writing literary criticism on German literature. In the late 1950s he once again left nearly everything behind, defecting to Germany where he built a career as a powerful, popular reviewer of German literature in the leading German magazines, newspapers, and later on television. He is now serving the role of an elder statesman of letters.

Ranicki writes how when he was denied by everyplace he could have called home, it was literature that helped him survive. This is a memoir of an impressive life and the role literature played in it. You can read my complete thoughts here.



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