Lord Byron

Sometimes he dreamt of America – but he was the typical  black romantic Englishman (with his tendency and belief into sexuality, melancholy, ghosts, longing…). All his life he was hobbling because of a stunting foot. In Greece he’s a hero up to nowadays. On the other side he had to leave England because of his love-affairs (similar to the Swiss student Johann Jacob Meyer, who went to be a Greek hero too. The prophet has no honor in his own country). Some – partly incestuous – affairs as well as his travels to France and Italy or his stay at the Swiss Villa Diodati near the Lake of Geneva are often better known than his poems… In that Swiss villa he took part in the birth of the “Frankenstein”-myth, the vampire-hype going on up to now (especially in the USA: Dance of the Vampires, Rosemarie’s Baby, Buffy, True Blood etc.)

During the famous year 1816 (the “year without summer”) the friends often couldn’t leave the house and so they decided to tell horror-stories to each other. Mary Shelley wrote the famous novel “Frankenstein”, John Polidori began his novel “The Vampire”. Mary’s step sister Claire – Byron’s secret lover – was there too. They took lots of Laudanum.

After that Byron went to Italy (Venice, Rome, Pisa, Livorno – was he there when Percy Bhysse Shelley drowned?) and finally he took part in the campaign to Greece, where he was even asked to take the command of all Greek troops. In Missolunghi he died of fever…

(im berühmten “Jahr ohne Sommer” 1816 konnte die versammelte Kumpanei wegen des schlechten Wetters oft das Haus nicht verlassen, so vereinbarten sie, sich Schauergeschichten zu erzӓhlen. Mary Shelley verfasste den Roman “Frankenstein”, John Polidori begann seinen Roman “Der Vampyr”. Mit von der Partie war auch noch Byrons heimliche Geliebte Claire – Marys Halbschwester. Waren Shelley und Keats auch dabei? Es wurde exzessiv Laudanum genommen). Aufenthalte in Italien (Venedig, Rom, Pisa, Livorno(?)) schlossen sich an, schliesslich der Feldzug im Epirus, wo Lord Byron der Oberbefehl über die griechischen Truppen angetragen wurde. Im Missolunghi starb der Exzentriker schliesslich 1824 an einem Fieber…..

 

Niemand würde sich Lord Byron als Amerikaner vorstellen können – und das, obwohl er manchmal von Amerika trӓumte. Niemand verkörpert so wie er alle Seiten der schwarzen Romantik (Sexualitӓt, Melancholie, Gespensterglaube, Fernweh, Sehnsucht….). Zeitlebens humpelte er aufgrund eines verkrüppelten Fusses. In Griechenland aber wird er noch heute als Heros und entscheidender Helfer im Befreiungskampf gesehen, obwohl er vermutlich nur seiner verschiedenen Affӓren wegen von England Urlaub nahm (ganz ӓhnlich dem abgebrochenen schweizer Medizinstudenten Johann Jacob Meyer, der ebenfalls zum Heroen des griechischen Befreiungskampfes wurde. Der Prophet gilt nichts im eigenen Land). Im Zusammenhang mit Byron werden denn auch stets seine zum Teil inzestuösen Affӓren, seine Reisen, nach Frankreich, in die schweizer Villa Diodati am Genfer See erwӓhnt, wo er zu Frankensteins Geburt und dem bis heute besonders in den USA anhaltenden Hype um Vampire (Tanz der Vampire, Rosemaries Baby, Buffy, True Blood etc.) Pate stand (im berühmten “Jahr ohne Sommer” 1816 konnte die versammelte Kumpanei wegen des schlechten Wetters oft das Haus nicht verlassen, so vereinbarten sie, sich Schauergeschichten zu erzӓhlen. Mary Shelley verfasste den Roman “Frankenstein”, John Polidori begann seinen Roman “Der Vampyr”. Mit von der Partie war auch noch Byrons heimliche Geliebte Claire – Marys Halbschwester. Waren Shelley und Keats auch dabei? Es wurde exzessiv Laudanum genommen). Aufenthalte in Italien (Venedig, Rom, Pisa, Livorno(?)) schlossen sich an, schliesslich der Feldzug im Epirus, wo Lord Byron der Oberbefehl über die griechischen Truppen angetragen wurde. Im Missolunghi starb der Exzentriker schliesslich 1824 an einem Fieber…..

 

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Olympe de Gouges

Born only a year before Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but what a different life!. Born in Montauban she was being part of the French Revolution with joy. She wrote a manifesto about women’s rights and fought assiduous for a better life. See? If women do such a thing they’ll either be shot, thrown in a channel or beheaded, hanged, perforated by an iron bar while riding the tramway or disheartened they hang themselves at a door beam…Olympe was beheaded, like later on Sophie Scholl in Munich. Why didn’t they become queens? They cozily could’ve bred Corgies and would have been loved by the Germans…

 Gut ein Jahr älter als Goethe, aber was für ein anderer Lebenslauf! Aus Montauban geboren machte sie freudig die Revolution mit, schrieb ein Manifest über Frauenrechte und kämpfte unverdrossen für eine bessere Welt. Jaja, wenn Frauen das tun, werden sie entweder in Landwehrkanäle geschmissen, guillotiniert, erhängt, in der Tram von Eisenstangen durchbohrt, oder sie hängen sich gleich selbst am Türpfosten auf, weil man ihnen alles nahm…. So erging es Olympe wie später Sophie Scholl in München, sie wurde enthauptet…. Wären sie doch Königinnen geworden, sie hätten in Ruhe Corgis züchten können und die Deutschen hätten sie geliebt!

 

Çevat Şakir

Çevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, born 1876 in Crete, was a famous dissident, wrote Novels, Short stories and columns in newspapers. He studied in Athens, Oxford and İstanbul, he lived with his first wife in Italy, as the son of an Ottoman upper-class family he went to be a cosmopolitan too. Having killed his own father, maybe by mistake? (Psychologues and Mythology-specialists keep an eye on!), he spent years in prison and was put to exile to Bodrum, then a sleepy village in Turkey’s South-West. Through him – who obviously fell in love with Bodrum and it’s past and took the pen-name “Fisherman of Halikarnassus” (in Turkish: Halikarnas Balıkçısı) – Bodrum became the worldwide known tourist attraction it is today. Much of his stories reflect the life of the humble fishermen, divers, sponge-hunters and sailors of this region, much are impregnated with mythology too. In vain he claimed the remains and spolia of the Mausoleum, who are in the British Museum, to be returned….

He died 1973 in İzmir of bone-cancer.

Georges Perec

Kaybolmuş (A Void, Anton Voyls Fortgang)

This book was written by Giorgios P. It was translat’d into Turkish by C. Yardımcı and as  in original it contains as vow’ls “a”, “i”, “o” and “u” but nothing additional, what is a big thing for a book of about 300 pag’s.

At start it’s hard, and unhappily all allusions are for occid’ntal and not forTurkish folks (wich was additional work for Yardımcı). Main champion Anton Ssliharf (nam’ of protagonist = kind of charactr) go’s missing, but much mor’ individuals too: Augustus, Haig, Olga, Jonah and whole groups of publics ‘vaporat’. Book is lik’ an Agatha Christy with a vowl missing! Com’on, catch it too!

 

Leyla Erbil

She is born 1931 in İstanbul. While attending High School she already wrote poems. She studied English language and worked for international companies in İstanbul, Zürich and Ankara. In that time she began to write short stories and then novels. We must consider her as a very important modern writer, she broke away from the traditional techniques of Turkish literature, used her own syntax and applied the inner monologue in her novels. She died 2013.

İlhan Berk II

A tiny, lean old man when we met him in Bodrum, his interest in the world was mighty, and that he was a very good painter too we saw at his home. In those times my Turkish was “broken”, so we talked in French – he went to a French High School. He always encouraged us in our project of “Uçan Üniversite” (Flying University), but besides that he was friendly, modest and reticent.

We discovered – but too late! – that he dedicated a poem to Dilek’s father, who was his teacher once.

MUMYALAR…
Hocam S. Behzat’a
Silindi hatıram gözümden bütün,
Bir ömür kaybettim tam bir asırlık.
Ve şimdi öyle ki, öyle ki artık;
Bana uzak bugün, benim olan dün!..

Hiç biri kalmadı, önnfctnm (o bir kadın adı, Thomas) kim di?
Esiriyken daha dön, her hevesin!
Ne rengi kaldı, ne hülyası şimdi
Bir zaman esiri olduğum sesin! . .
Kokulu yüzlerin bendeki yâdı ,
İçimde geçmişden kalma bir, enin .
Ve hayallerinin mumyası kaldı
 

Hemingway/ Gellhorn

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Ernest Hemingway remains for us – besides, that he created a revolutionary new literary style – the macho, the bearded womanizer, the egotist, the alcoholic (“Harry’s Bar”), the lover of cats, the adventurer, the hunter and fisher, the bonvivant (except, that he ended his life by shooting himself. Martha Gellhorn but, his wife for some years was the intellectual, more and more non-sensual lady, who always promoted women’s rights and peace – writing nearly always about war though. Both had common interrests though: to drink and to travel. They owned a villa in Cuba with pets and tropical garden. Both their fathers were physicians and obstetricians (their children gave birth to much writings). Both they underwent the Spanish civil war, where they fought, wrote and lived together. We all know “A farewll to arms” I think, or “For whom the belltolls” or “The old man and the sea”, but who knows Gellhorn or any of her articles and stories? I recommend “Selected Letters of Martha Gellhorn (2006), edited by Caroline Moorhead. A broad spectrum of war correspondents, lovers, adopted children, professors, editors, generals and friends had her long letters, among them her mother and her very good friend Elinor Roosevelt.

“Life is a dunghill, and I’m the cock that gets to crow on it.” (Hemimgway)

“…and all I got was a pleasure of being wanted, I suppose, and the tenderness (not nearly enough) that a man gives when he is satisfied. I daresay I was the worst bed partner in five continents.” (Gellhorn)

 

Ausnahmsweise nicht “Ladies first”: Ernest Hemingway ist für uns – ausser dass er den literarischen Stil revolutionierte – der Inbegriff des Machos – bȁrtiger Womanizer, Egozentriker, Alkoholiker (“Harry’s Bar”), Katzenliebhaber, Abenteurer, Grosswildjȁger, Angler und Bonvivant (ausser, dass er sich letztendlich mit einer Schrotflinte erschoss). Martha Gellhorn aber die feine, intellektuelle, mehr und mehr unsinnliche, sich für Frauenrechte und ein friedliches Miteinander einsetzende Lady. Beide hatten aber wohl auch etwas gemeinsam, etwa die Drinks und das Reisen. Beide waren auch – man staune – eine Zeit verheiratet, hatten eine Villa auf Kuba mit Haustieren und tropischem Garten. Beider Vȁter waren Ärzte und Geburtshelfer. Was sie aber vor allem verband, war der Spanische Bürgerkrieg, wo sie gemeinsam kȁmpften, schrieben und sich gegenseitig anregten und korrigierten. Wir alle kennen Hemingways Romane und Kurzgeschichten, etwa “A Farewell to Arms”, “Wem die Stunde schlȁgt”, “Der alte Mann und das Meer”,  wer aber kennt die Publikationen Gellhorns? Ich empfehle “Selected Letters of Martha Gellhorn (2006), (deutsch: Ausgewȁhlte Briefe) von Caroline Moorehead herausgegeben wurden. Dort schreibt sie an ein breites Spektrum von Leuten: Mit-Kriegsberichterstatter, Lover, adoptierte Kinder, Professoren, Herausgeber, die Mutter, Generȁle und immer wieder an die Freundin Eleanor Roosevelt. Viel Zeitgeschichte spiegelt sich in diesen Briefen.

“Life is a dunghill, and I’m the cock that gets to crow on it.” (Hemimgway)

“…and all I got was a pleasure of being wanted, I suppose, and the tenderness (not nearly enough) that a man gives when he is satisfied. I daresay I was the worst bed partner in five continents.” (Gellhorn)