what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Going to the Dogs

I stayed in Koln last year for almost 3 months and was a regular visitor to its various bookshops and bookstalls. One post looked at the fairly negative picture of contemporary German society which was to be found then in the pages of the books on the shelves of these shops.
On the same note, Der Spiegel has a nice little feature in its current issue on the atmosphere in the towns and villages on the route of this year’s Tour de France, making the point that
Stacks of books at a local bookstore are dedicated to a new genre in French literature: the downfall. It includes titles like "Reinventing France," "France, a Peculiar Bankruptcy," "If We Only Wanted To, "When France Wakes Up," "A Dangerous Game in the Elysée," "Fellow French, Are You Ready for the Next Revolution?" "France, A Challenge" and many, many more.Around two dozen such titles were published last month alone. They always seem to have the same central message as well -- that things can't continue as they are and that France is in decline. It seems like the term "déclinisme" has already emerged as its own school of thought.
Two dozen sounds an amazing number….I well remember the blitz of critical books with titles such as “The Stagnant Society” which hit us in Britain in the early sixties. They clearly helped pave the way for the election of a Labour Government in 1964 after 13 years of post-war Conservative rule.
Nowadays, such books are just water off a duck’s back.
As a genre, I think I prefer the social histories – which give a better sense of perspective or books which plot the development of literature over significant periods of a country eg post-war Germany

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