Jozef Banas introduces the Literature of German – speaking countries

on . Posted in English pages

The Oct.-Dec. 2014 issue of SAAR SANSAR is, to some extent, a special one. It contains literature from 4 countries , out of which 3 - Germany, Austria and Switzerland - are German-speaking countries, and the fourth country is Slovakia, which is an immediate neighbour of Austria - so near that from Vienna Airport that one can reach Bratislava, the Capital City of Slovakia, in 40 minutes by bus. Till 100 years back Slovakia was a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire, and has been greatly influenced by the Austro-German culture.

The first text in this issue is by Jozef Banas, the most popular writer of Slovakia, who has paid his heart-felt tribute to the life and work of Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe can easily be identified as the greatest poet the German speaking world has produced, and one of the greatest writers of all times in the world. Goethe believed in the equality of religions; his philosophy was very much like our "Sarvadharma sambhaav". Goethe, who coined the axiom "World Literature" for the whole world, was an admirer not only of Moliere, Swedenborg, Corneille, Shakespeare, Kant and Lessing, but also a great fan of Kalidasa and his epic "Abhigyan Shakuntalam". This essay offer a good opportunity to those lovers of German literature, who are not much acquainted with many facets of Goethe's life and times.

The above mentioned text by a Slovak author is thus, in a sense, totally devoted to German literature. Apart from this the issue also contains the serialized biography of Guenter Grass by Volker Neuhaus. Then there are stories by Swiss-German Franz Hohler, German Ruth Kluege, and Austrian Robert Menasse. Additionally there are poems by Austrians Franz Vesele and Margret Kreidl. In the end there is a review of the Hindi Translation (Ek Joker ki Yaaden) of Marianne Grubers latest novel "Die Erinnerungen eines Narren". We do not, in normal course, publish any reviews. But this book is very special; Gruber toured a few cities of India and recited from this deeply moving and philosophical book, which narrates the travails of a Circus-Joker in the 2nd world war. And Prof. Rameshwar Das of Panipat found it so inspiring that he sent me a review of the same.

As the year has drawn to an end, we are glad to inform our readers that we have added one more such name to our list of translators, who translate literature from a source foreign language into Hindi. His name is Prashant Kumar Pandey, and his source language is German. He is 78th such translator produced by SAAR SANSAAR. Please click at for reading the magazine. 

Amrit Mehta, editor


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