Wednesday, October 18, 2006

BERLIN IN LIGHTS: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler
Translated & Edited by Charles Kessler
Introduction by Ian Buruma

“His diaries, which begin with the Armistice of 1918 and end with his death in 1937, form a lens through which the turbulent Weimar years come vibrantly to life” – Library Journal

It has taken me some time to finish this book, as it has got a vast amount of information to take in. Berlin in Lights brings together a fascinating collection of Count Harry Kessler’s diaries, from 1918 to 1937. Kessler was born in France . He had a German father and an Irish mother. His mother caught the eye of Kaiser Wilhelm I, and it is believed that she later became his mistress. In his diaries he describes the changing mood of Germany and Europe between the First and the Second World Wars. Harry Kessler was a diplomat and a publisher, who had many contacts in the world of art, politics and society. He had contact with some extraordinary people, such as Einstein, Josephine Baker, Bertolt Brecht, Virginia Woolf, Jean Cocteau and André Gide. In his diaries he describes the collapse of the Weimar republic, and the arrival of the Nazis. Kessler’s diaries also include descriptions on the artistic and cultural movements that flourished at that moment in time. I thought the book was marvellous, and his life extraordinary. It is definately a good read for anyone who has an interest in the social and cultural history of Europe in the period inbetween the Two World Wars. I couldn't put it down.

Monday, October 16, 2006

More Battle of Hastings

This weekend we've been to the Hastings to see the 940th Anniversary of the Battle between King Harold of England versus William of Normandy. The landscape where the battle took place, has ofcourse changed, but with this reconstruction of the battle, you can put yourself in the place of the men and women who came to fight here in 1066. The battle was one of the longest and bloodiest fought in Medieval times. There was lots to see....the arrival of King Harold, a Norman banquet, an archaery display, etc....and ofcourse the battle itself.