Sunday, August 7, 2016

Deutschstunde By Sigfried Lenz, dtv And Celestino Piatti

I found my copy of Deutschstunde by Sigfried Lenz. It looks like this:


I had been looking for it for several days, and was beginning to think I must have lost it, sold it or given it away. Then I found it right next to my copy of Max Frisch' Tagebuch,


which I had found months ago after thinking for years that I must have lost it or sold it or given it it away. The irony.

We had been discussing the covers of dtv paperbacks online several days ago. We were discussing the ones which had covers designed by the late Celestino Piatti, like the edition of Deutschstunde shown above, and like these:


Piatti designed thousands of covers for dtv (Deutsche Taschenbuch-Verlag, which translates to German Paperback Publisher) from the early 60's until the early 90's, maybe longer, and for hundreds if not thousands of those covers he drew or painted an original picture. Piatti really had some style, and because of him, most of the paperbacks published by dtv back then really had some style. In their appearance, at least. I don't think Piatti had any say about their contents.

Anyway, now that I've found my copy of Deutschstunde I don't want to read it. I've had it for over 20 years, probably over 25, and i don't want to read it. I don't know why. I guess the main reason is that something about Lenz' face


makes me not trust him to write what I would consider to be a good novel. I don't have a rational reason for not reading it. I've read the first page or so several times, and the description of the book inside the front cover, where it says that the narrator, Siggi, is in a reform school and has been sent to his room after failing in German class (Deutschstunde), and must stay there until he finishes a paper on the subject of duty, and how in 1943 his father had been chief of police in the fictional town of Rugbuell and had delivered to the famous painter Nansen the official notice that he had been forbidden by the Nazis to paint, and how Siggi, 10 years old in 1943, had helped Nansen to smuggle painting after painting out of his home, and yes isn't that ironic how Siggi and his father have different ideas about duty.

Anyway, it was nice to be reminded about the Piatti dtv's.


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