Julia Franck, Heike Geissler, Maxim Leo, Norman Ohler, and Bernhard Schlink look back on the opening of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath. (The Observer, 11/3/19)

“Inadvertently or not, most of today’s far right speak in Heideggerian terms: lamenting the rootlessness of modern life and the ravishing of national character by the liberal world order; longing for a lost social harmony between land and people.”  (New Statesman, 9/11/19)

“He is a fine writer, who combines great insight with shocking ethical blindness.” The world of arts and letters is stunned by the Swedish Academy’s decision to award Peter Handke the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature.  (The Guardian, 10/10/19; The New Republic, 10/10/19;

Whether we needed them or not, there are two new Hitler biographies out in 2019.  (The Guardian, 9/27/19; The New York Times, 9/29/19)

In Thomas Mann’s War: Literature, Politics, and the World Republic of Letters, Tobias Boes retraces Thomas Mann’s journey from nonpolitical man to anti-fascist public intellectual.  (The National Interest, 8/14/19)

Every translation is also a reinterpretation. Here’s how German literary translators are dealing with the linguistic and political pitfalls in Huckleberry Finn, Gone with the Wind, the works of James Baldwin, and more.  (Deutsche Welle, 9/30/19)

Adorno was right—you can buy a t-shirt that says so. Peter E. Gordon  examines the Frankfurt School thinker’s legacy, fifty years after his death.  (The New York Review of Books, 8/5/19)

“Gabriele Tergit wrote Käsebier in 1931, but its depictions of fake news, sudden stardom, and bitter culture wars between left and right feel unnervingly contemporary.” So it’s very good news that translator Sophie Duvernoy has brought us Käsebier Takes Berlin in 2019. (The Paris Review, 7/30/19)

Empty Hearts by Juli Zeh (translated by John Cullen) “has the veneer of a thriller but it’s more accurate to call it a chiller: chilling in the accuracy of its satire and chilling in its diagnosis of our modern malaise.”  (The New York Times, 7/26/19)

Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself, Florian Huber’s history of the suicide epidemic that accompanied the end of Nazi Germany, has now been published in English, in a translation by Imogen Taylor.  (The Guardian, 6/20/19; The Economist, 7/11/19)

Else Ury’s ‘Nesthäkchen’ books for young readers “sold millions of copies from 1918 to 1933. Then, with the Nazis in power, she was barred as a Jew for publishing her work, even though her last book featured Adolf Hitler as a hero.” She died at Auschwitz in 1943.  (The New York Times, 7/10/19)

Dystopian fiction about Brexit Britain has become a German literary trend.  (The Guardian, 6/30/19)

Audre Lorde, the black feminist lesbian poet who “played a pivotal role in the birth of the Afro-German identity movement,” spent formative years in Berlin during the 1980s and early 90s, before her untimely death.  (The New York Times, 7/19/19)

“When people discuss together, in conditions free of domination, there is an assumption that it is possible to reach a consensus, by what Habermas calls ‘the pressureless pressure of the better argument.‘ That almost no arguments in real life are actually like this is part of Habermas’s point.”  (New Statesman, 6/26/19)

Fake news! In 1963, Hans Traxler concocted an elaborate literary hoax about the real Hansel and Gretel.  (Atlas Obscura,  7/3/19)

“Bachmann’s vision is so original that the effect is like having a new letter of the alphabet.” Ingeborg Bachmann’s 1971 novel Malina has a fresh translation by Philip Boehm.  (The Nation, 6/18/19; The Guardian, 6/29/19)

“In Elvia Wilk’s ‘Oval,’ Berlin is where the late capitalist apocalypse finally happens.”  (The Nation, 6/4/19; NPR, 6/7/19)

“Tell me who your enemy is, and I will tell you who you are”: The anti-liberalism of legal theorist Carl Schmitt is making a comeback.  (Financial Times, 1/11/19; New Statesman, 4/10/19)

Tim Bouverie’s new history of the road to World War II depicts the evolution of appeasement “from a reactive, fearful policy to an enthusiastic, idealistic project to what can only be deemed a strenuous exercise in willful denial.”  (The Guardian, 4/14/19; The New York Times, 6/4/19)

“Weimar bureaucrats began exerting ever greater state supervision over radio content to try to depoliticize it.” In News from Germany, Heidi Tworek shows how these attempts to regulate new media didn’t turn out as planned.  (The Washington Post, 4/19/19; The Atlantic, 5/26/19)

“The Great American Novel that came from Germany”: Here’s a lovely introduction to Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl, newly translated by Damion Searls.  (The Baffler, 5/2019)

What’s not to love about Bauhausmädels: A Tribute to Pioneering Women Artists, a new Taschen book by Patrick Rössler?!  (Afar, 4/18/19; Creative Boom, 4/30/19)

Martin Buber “had preached the importance of saying ‘You,’ but the Holocaust represented the ultimate triumph of the ‘It’,’ reducing human beings to mere things.”  (The New Yorker, 4/29/19)

Now you, too, can hike vicariously with Nietzsche and philosophy professor John Kaag.  (The Atlantic, 10/2018; The Guardian, 4/10/19)

In The Fourth Reich: The Specter of Nazism from World War II to the Present, Gavriel Rosenfeld has written a compelling history of something that never happened.  (New Statesman, 3/13/19; Los Angeles Review of Books, 4/1/19)

Now you can read Metropolis, Philip Kerr’s last Bernie Gunther story: “Wonderfully plotted, with elegant prose, witty dialogue, homages to German Expressionism and a strong emotional charge, this is a bittersweet ending to a superb series.”  (The Guardian, 4/4/19; The Washington Post, 4/9/19)

Christian Petzold’s adaptation of Anna Seghers’s 1944 novel Transit is “unstuck in history. . . unfolding like a remake of ‘Casablanca’ as written by Franz Kafka.”  (Indiewire, 2/17/18; The New York Times, 2/28/19)

“The story is fictional, and the ink is true.” Benedict Wells’s fourth novel, Vom Ende der Einsamkeit, has been translated into English by Charlotte Collins (The End of Loneliness).  (The New York Times, 1/24/19; The Guardian, 3/20/19)

Kurt Vonnegut grappled with his traumatic memories of the firebombing of Dresden for more than two decades before publishing Slaughterhouse-Five in 1969.  (The New York Times, 3/21/19)

In Time and Power, Christopher Clark examines how Prussian and German leaders “learnt to bend the past to suit the present” in four different centuries.  (New Statesman, 2/13/19; Standpoint, 3/2019)

Just in time for anguished end-stage Brexit negotiations, Robert Menasse’s “unexpectedly delightful book about Brussels” (translated by Jamie Bulloch as The Capital) has at last made it to English bookstores.  (The Economist, 2/16/19; The Arts Desk, 3/10/19)

Wolfgang J. Fuchs shares a few words on the art of comic book translation—he’s been working in the field since 1965.  (Deutsche Welle, 3/13/19)

“Ernst Jünger’s Second World War was less dramatic than his first; it could hardly be otherwise.” Find out more from his journals as an officer in occupied Paris, newly translated by Thomas and Abby Hansen.  (The Washington Post, 1/16/19; New Statesman, 2/20/19)

“‘Faust’ was the original viral content, and it’s still relevant today.” Olivia Giovetti looks back at retellings of the 400-year-old story, from Christopher Marlowe to The Americans.  (Electric Literature, 2/19/19)

“When a refugee flees to another country and claims asylum, she is, in effect, petitioning the state to listen to her story . . .  Where the state has failed to meet its moral obligation to listen, writers like Jenny Erpenbeck have stepped in.”  (Longreads, 2/2019)

Ali Fitzgerald’s graphic memoir, Drawn to Berlin: Comic Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories from a New Europe depicts “a city and the refugees who’ve tried to adopt it as their own, as well as the medium of comics as a tool for self-knowledge.”  (The Atlantic, 11/7/18; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/9/19)

We can read Christa Wolf’s journals, writes Becca Rothfeld, “not as the sum of her worst lapses and most public mistakes, not as a political symbol or a work of history, but as a testament to her haltingly singular self.”  (The Nation, 2/22/19)