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Jeremy Adler

Jeremy Adler is a senior research fellow at King’s College London and the author of The Magus of Portobello Road, a novel.

Simplicius Simplicissimus

Jeremy Adler, 16 March 2017

Hans​ Grimmelshausen’s Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus, first published in 1668, is one of the great picaresque novels. Like Cervantes and Hašek, Grimmelshausen invented a naive, feckless hero with a guileless yet lovable persona whose innocent wisdom shows up the folly of the world around him. Simplicissimus comes to symbolise sanity in a depraved, degenerate Europe...

Winifred Wagner

Jeremy Adler, 6 July 2006

In this, the first major biography of Wagner’s daughter-in-law, Brigitte Hamann tries very hard to be fair to a subject who, one might think, scarcely deserves it. It would be hard to find a better example than the Wagner dynasty of the continuity between the myth of a glorious Germany and its terrible enactment. Hamann introduces her book as follows:

In 1923 the 34-year-old politician...

Peter Singer

Jeremy Adler, 20 January 2005

For a generation after the Second World War it was difficult to discuss one’s German-Jewish origins or the Holocaust without embarrassment. Even children whose families had been murdered in the camps found it hard to speak about their loss. In Germany, the 1964 trial of Robert Mulka – former adjutant to Commandant Rudolf Höss – and 21 others for crimes committed at...

Georg Trakl

Jeremy Adler, 17 April 2003

In the spring of 1914 Wittgenstein gave a third of the annual income from his inheritance – 100,000 Austrian crowns – to Ludwig von Ficker, the editor of the journal Der Brenner, to be shared out between worthy poets. When Ficker chose Georg Trakl as one beneficiary, Wittgenstein said that he didn’t understand Trakl’s poems, but felt they bore the stamp of...

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