“WOLF AMONG WOLVES”: HANS FALLADA NOVEL ABOUT GERMANY FROM 1938

July 10, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Books, Economics, Financial, Germany, History, Literary | Leave a comment

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Wolf Among Wolves

(2010/1938)

A novel by Hans Fallada

“Fallada can be seen as a hero, a writer-hero who survived just long enough to strike back at his oppressors.”
Alan Furst

This sweeping saga of love in dangerous times – the 1923 collapse of the German economy, when food and money shortages led to rioting in the streets and unemployed soldiers marauding through the countryside – is deemed by many to be Hans Fallada’s greatest work. Yet its 1938 publication made his publisher so fearful of Nazi retribution that he told Fallada, ‘If this book destroys us, then at least we’ll be destroyed for something that’s worth it.’

It appears here in its first unabridged translation into English, based on a contemporaneous translation by Philip Owens that has been revised and restored in full by Thorsten Carstensen and Nicholas Jacobs. Carstensen also provides an afterword discussing why the original version of the book was so heavily edited . and why Fallada’s publisher thought a love story might get them killed.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“His most ambitious novel… deeply moving…he has evoked more than one can bear in comfort, but not more than it is necessary to learn, to keep and to understand.”
Alfred Kazin, The New York Times

“What other living German novelist shares with Fallada the power to grip the reader on the first page and hold him unremittingly through 1100 more?”
—Bayard Q. Morgan, World Literature Today (1938)

“Fallda can be seen as a hero, a writer-hero who survived just long enough to strike back at his oppressors.”
—Alan Furst

Product Description:

This sweeping saga of love in dangerous times – the 1923 collapse of the German economy, when food and money shortages led to rioting in the streets and unemployed soldiers marauding through the countryside – is deemed by many to be Hans Fallada’s greatest work. Yet its 1938 publication made his publisher so fearful of Nazi retribution that he told Fallada, “If this book destroys us, then at least we’ll be destroyed for something that’s worth it.”

It appears here in its first unabridged translation into English, based on a contemporaneous translation by Philip Owens that has been revised and restored in full by Thorsten Carstensen and Nicholas Jacobs. Carstensen also provides an afterword discussing why the original version of the book was so heavily edited … and why Fallada’s publisher thought a love story might get them killed.

Product Details:

· Paperback: 816 pages

· Publisher: Melville House Unabridged edition

· May 25, 2010

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 1933633921

· ISBN-13: 978-1933633923

This book, written in 1936-1937 still resonants with relevancy to our contemporary 2lst Century. It is an inspiring tale of perservance during political, social, and economic upheaval. This beautiful novel is a masterpiece of critical realism. It represents a clarion call to humanism and compassion amidst economic devastation. It depicts a depraved world ruined by incompetence, indifference, and greed. The protagonist Wolf Pagel, lives among wolves, but refuses to become one of them. This wonderful book, a hundred years before its time, declares that the individual can rise above the social and moral ills of his time. One of the most moving passages asserts what courage is:

“I used to think that courage meant standing up straight when a shell exploded and taking your share of the shrapnel. Now I know that’s mere stupidity and bravado; courage means keeping going when something becomes completely unbearable.”

“Wolf Among Wolves,” is a study of the psychology of individuals in everyday life, entangled in the circumstances of his time.

The novel also gives us direct insight of how economical devastation and social depravity leads to fear and insecurity and which can then result in Fascism.

The novel itself, in spite of the brutality of life, manages to be optimistic in its view of humankind. Fallada celebrates the idea “that the brave manage to keep afloat, whereas the unfit fail.”

Comment:

See also Erich Maria Remarque’s comparable novel “The Black Obelisk” about Germany 1923.

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