Thursday, October 16, 2008

True devotion to Theodor Storm

My attempts to think about the achievement of Theodor Storm have been a failure. His art is too agile; it's slipped way from me. I am sure that many readers who wander by here would really love Immensee; others, not paying quite enough attention, or demanding something a bit more thrilling, might have trouble finding anything there at all.

His most famous novella after, or possibly before, Immensee is the 1888 The Rider on the White Horse, aka The Dykemaster. The Philosopher wrote about it recently. It has a supernatural element and for all I know is an exciting page-turner. Based on PRaymont's description, though, it also seems to have a lot of descriptions of tidal flats of Husum, which is more what I expect.

Husum? That's Storm's home town, on the North Sea, near the Danish border. The Theodor Storm Museum is there. Unfortunately it is not really on the way to anywhere, so I am unlikely to visit it soon, or ever. As an alternative, PRaymont points the curious reader to an amazing English Theodor Storm website, operated by Denis Jackson.

You want to see some love for a writer, check out that website. It has photos of dykes and farmhouses, 19th century maps and prints, and a fine bibliography of Storm-in-English that I am going to comb through. The proprietor has himself been translating Storm into English for over a decade; his fourth little collection was just published. They're all tiny books, containing no more than three stories each. I'll read them all and report back.

That's devotion to an author. I'll write about someone I like here, but I doubt I'll ever go to that length. It's shaming, just a little. Makes me feel selfish. Speaking of which, Denis Jackson, if you happen to stop by: a volume of Storm's poems, please? With facing-page German? Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, 'Rider on the White Horse' is definitely not a page-turner. While reading it I kept picturing the action in the stark black-&-white tone of a Carl Dreyer film.