Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology

  Picture of my Hometown

Paulinerkirche / St. Paul's Church.

The Pauliner Church once belonged to a Dominican monastery founded in 1294. The building fits the architectural tradition of the mendicant order and the Gothic style.

After secularization in the sixteenth century, a high school was established in the former Dominican monastery with the church as library. It soon enjoyed a national reputation. The school formed the heart of what became the university (founded in 1737) and its library (already founded in 1734).

Famous individuals such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, and the Brothers Grimm used the library.

During the Second World War, the Pauliner Church was bombed, one of the few buildings in Göttingen to suffer that fate. After it was reconstructed, the book hall was first set up as the largest lecture hall. Later it was used to house the Central Library Catalogue of Lower Saxony. Since the Göttingen State and University Library moved into its new building in 1992, the church has been used as an exhibition room, and some of the old vellums are still kept there.

  Günter Grass, Crabwalk

Crabwalk, Grass' latest novel is a remarkably short book compared to his other well known novels. But it gains by it, there are none of those drawn out and wordy passages which spoiled The Flounder and other books for me.

It is the story of a ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff (named after a Swiss Nazi assassinated by a Jew) which in January 1945 was torpedoed by a Russian submarine. More than 9000 refugees found their death in the icy waters of the Baltic Sea.

It is also the story of a land divided and reunited again. It is the story of three people, Tulla who gave birth to Paul on the only life boat that escaped the desaster, of Paul, and of Paul's son Konrad. Tulla lives in East Germany where she carves herself a niche in communism. Her world collapses with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Paul flees to West Germany when he is sixteen, but his attempts to found a family fail and he doesn't get along with his son Konrad. When the border opens again, Konrad finds emotional support with his grandmother who tells him her version of the Wilhelm Gustloff story, a story idealised by the distanced past. Konrad starts a website devoted to the ship and drifts more and more into the Neonazi world. Paul, upon his research about the subject, comes across the site and chatroom of his son, first without knowing who he is.

The Wilhelm Gustloff links and divides three generations and stands as symbol for the problems Germany still has with its past.

Crabwalk is a multi-layered, fast paced book that shows the dangers of denying history, the loss of identity, and the temptation of extreme political movements (Konrad likens himself with the historical person of Wilhelm Gustloff to establish a new identity). Contrary to his other novels, Grass here never preaches, he just tells a story and makes the reader think. For non-German readers, it proves a good lesson in the History of WW2 and the problems of the 90ies.

  Grammar Question of the Week

A tricky one:

It is me.
It is I.

Honestly, I never get that one.

Yes, I know I could look that stuff up, but I want to incite people to use the comment function here. *grin*
Nor would I mind some discussion, I know there isn't always a simple answer.

  Book Riddle

This was around in the LJ world some time ago, and I picked it up for some more people to have fun.
It's the first sentences of books. Name title and author. (A little hint: my reading habits are rather varied. *grin*)

1) The big groundcar jerked to a stop centimeters from the vehicle ahead of it, and Armsman Pym, driving, swore under his breath. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold

2) Was she beautiful or not beautiful? and what was the secret of form and expression which gave the dynamic quality to her glance? Daniel Deronda, George Eliot - Màili McVane's guess

3) It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance. Outlander (Cross Stitch), Diana Gabaldon - Màili's guess

4) Shadow had done three years in prison.
American Gods, Neil Gaiman - Doug's guess

5) No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen - Alex' guess

6) He should never have taken that shortcut. Timeline, Michael Crichton - Stephen's guess

7) Even in summer, Tintagel was a haunted place; Igraine, Lady of Duke Gorlois, looked out over the sea from the headland. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley - Alex' guess

8) On a brilliant day in May, in the year 1868, a gentleman was reclining at his ease on the great circular divan which at that period occupied the centre of the Salon Carré, in the Museum of the Louvre. The American, Henry James - Stephen's guess

9) Always remember that they come from the desert.

10) All happy families are like one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Anna Karenina, Lev Tolstoy - Alex' guess

11) Lest anyone should suppose that I am a cuckoo's child, got on the wrong side of the blanket by lusty peasant stock and sold into indenture in a shortfallen season, I may say that I am House-born and reared in the Night Court proper, for all the good it did me. Kushiel's Dart, Jacqueline Carey - Brenria's guess

12) The gale tore at him and he felt its bite deep within and he knew that if they did not make landfall in three days they would all be dead.

13) There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever. One for the Money, Janet Evanovich - Marianne from Romancing the Blog

14) Once upon a time, in a land that was called Britain, these things happened. The Winter King, Bernard Cornwell - Alex' guess

15) He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad - Màili's guess



That's where I'm going tomorrow.

My mother wanted to see the place for some time, and since it's a 2 hours drive, my parents are going to pick me up so I can share in the driving.

Not that I don't want to see the town myself, lol. Nicely situated at the Elbe river, Romanic monastery, Gothic cathedral and lots of history lurking in the background. And traveling with my parents means everything free including the film for my camera. One day usually works - I just can't be with my mother for a longer time without strain and stress.

I'll post something in my Travel Diary the next days. I really should do such stuff directly after the event and not a year later, which is the reason why I still haven't written much about my journey to the Hansa Towns.


  Grammar Question of the Week

May and might.

I have some suspicions that I use might a bit too often. ;)

The Lost Fort is a blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and other places (like Flanders and the Baltic States), with essays on Roman and Mediaeval history illustrated with lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes. You may also find the odd essay about geology or Mediaeval literature.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)