And they’re off… farewell to the 2011 graduates

‘Tis the season of gowns and mortarboards. A time of rewards for hard work, hopes for the future, goodbyes and new beginnings…

I’ve blogged elsewhere (in my departmental guise) about the graduation ceremony for the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, but wanted to say in my own name too: good luck to all the students I’ve taught over the last four years, happy travels wherever you go!

Highs and Lowlands: desperately seeking Romanian publications by Herta Müller

It might not look like much – the cover is a grainy black and white, with a picture of a rather unattractive toad – but this book, Niederungen, is probably the most sought-after of Herta Müller’s publications… or at least it is from where I’m sitting. There is only one copy to be found for sale on the internet (believe me, I’ve looked hard!) and it’s going for just shy of 1000 Euros – which is a little bit beyond my budget…

The book has a fascinating publication history: it’s Müller’s first book, published by Kriterion in Bucharest in 1982. The book is a collection of short stories which largely deal with life in the rural Banat, in surreal, dark, poetic texts, often from a child’s point of view. Continue reading