[lit-ideas] Re: Dishes

  • From: cblists@xxxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 08:45:18 +0100

On 26-Jan-12, at 10:38 AM, I wrote:

... [James Elroy] Flecker died of tuberculosis at Davos in 1915 ... [so] his presence there [was perhaps] at least briefly contemporaneous with the fictitious Hans Castorp, protagonist of Thomas Mann's _Der Zauberberg_ ... Flecker's ... time there [c]ould have indeed overlapped with Thomas Mann's presence in Davos in 1912 ...

Does anyone know further?

To which  Judith Evans replied:

I don't know. He lived and worked in Beirut from 1911 to 1913, then retired. He could well have moved to Switzerland then.

I had up to now been relying on English-language Internet sources for my information. Oddly, the German Wikipedia entry for Flecker is far more informative than the English entry, even though the German page reports Flecker as relatively unknown in German, and that 'the few details known about him are generally falsely reported' ["Im deutschen Sprachraum ist Flecker ... relativ unbekannt und die wenigen Details zu ihm werden in der Regel fehlerhaft angegeben."] The German page states that Flecker's TB was diagnosed in 1910 and that he spent the 18 months before his death on Jan. 13, 1915 in Davos. This would have put his arrival in Davos sometime in July, 1913.

Flecker, born Nov. 5, 1884, was roughly 9 years younger than Thomas Mann (born June 6, 1875). Thomas Mann outlived him by over 40 years (and died in Zurich on August 12, 1955).

Mann's _Zauberberg_, set in the years 1907-1914, has as a central theme the death of an era, a way of life, a dream (partially realized in the society of the sanatorium at Davos) of an enlightened cosmopolitan Europe. An atmosphere of pre-war belligerence - which reaches its height in Davos precisely at the time of Flecker's presence there - pervades the closing chapters of the novel ...

Thanks, Judy, for posting 'Old Ships'.

It was so old a ship - who knows, who knows?
- And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain
To see the mast burst open with a rose,
And the whole deck put on its leaves again.

I'm overwhelmed ('wonder's breath indrawn') by how much metaphoric cargo that vessel can carry ...

Chris Bruce,
belatedly resolving to add at least half
an hour of poetry to his daily regimen, in
Kiel, Germany
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