Category: Central Europe

  • From the north

    From the north

    I first became aware of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy through a reading of Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks during my sophomore year of college. Towards the end of the book, middle-class merchant Thomas Buddenbrooks, in late middle age and grimly contemplating the slow disarray into which his business and family had fallen over three or four generations, takes […]

  • Anniversary day

    Anniversary day

    Today, November 17, marks the 33rd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the 1989 protest in Czechoslovakia that led to the overthrow of the Communist regime there and the rise of Václav Havel to the presidency of the new republic. I visited Prague for the first time the following year, and, as the saying goes, “Bliss […]

  • My people

    My people

    As I repost some of my past essays, I offer the below, originally published here in 2019, before the current anguish. I should note that additional research points to the very real possibility that small municipalities like Urman were incorporated into the Ternopil administrative region some time ago — rendering genealogical research even more difficult […]

  • Thirty years ago

    Thirty years ago

    In 2021 (we plan ahead), Marilyn and I plan to bundle our family into a transatlantic airliner for a journey to the Czech Republic. Our daughters are old enough now to appreciate the architecture and a little history, but for me, it will be a return to a part of the world for which I’ve […]

  • On the periphery

    On the periphery

    I want to start the month off by recommending Marjorie Perloff’s Edge of Irony: Modernism in the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire, published last year by the University of Chicago Press (a paperback edition will be published in January 2018). The book defines what Perloff calls “Austro-Modernism,” a form of modernist thinking engendered in the […]

  • My Vienna

    My Vienna

    Originally published here in 2014. Earlier iterations of the journal featured Vienna’s Burgtheater in their banners; it disappeared for a while, now it reappears again. I can’t say that Vienna is the city in which I feel most at home; that Vienna is long gone. (Besides, my German language skills are, if not non-existent, laughable.) […]