Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Europe's Tragedy - Simplicissimus

This is the "Defenestration of Prague", an incident that sparked off  the bloodiest conflagration in Europe before the 20th century.  It's a scary image, bearing  in mind what happened to Jan Masaryk in the early years of the Cold War. 

K A Hartmann's Des Simplcius Simplicissimus Jugend, (read my review HERE). ("Covert Resistance - An anti-facist, anti-war opera written in Germany while the Nazis were in power?") inspired me to find out more about the Thirty Years War.

By odd coincidence, the recording came out soon after the publication of Peter H Wilson's Europe's Tragedy : a history of the Thirty Year's War (2009)  It covers the period more comprehensively and intensively than anything else in English before. It shows how tensions in society erupt into conflict. This was the real "First World War" because all Europe was involved, and overseas empires. At 1000 pages it's not light reading, yet gripping enough that it can be followed as narrative.  Wilson's methodology is sound, his prose clear. A model reference work. This is an extremely important book because it shows how modern Europe was shaped. What happened nearly 400 years ago impacts on us today.

Back to Simplicius Simplicissimus  the saga that grew from The Thirty Years War.  There's a new edition. "Nun ist er lebendiger denn je. Denn in Reinhard Kaisers Übersetzung liest sich das Werk endlich nicht mehr verstaubt und verquält – man versteht, welcher Lebensquell damals der Bezug auf das abendländische Erbe war" Read more about it HERE

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