Thursday, September 07, 2017


As  in the case of the novels with which I was involved, 
the involvement in several of the two dozen non-fiction titles was often more complex & deeper. 

The non-fiction titles I translated or edited affected me at least as profoundly if not more than the novelists with whose work I became intimately acquainted – Musil, Hesse, Peter Weiss, Uwe Johnson, Christa Wolf, Hans Erich Nossack, Alexander Kluge, George Bataille, Michael Brodksy, Franz Innerhofer, Bob Kalich, Marvin Cohen,  Erich Wolfgang Skwara & Josef Winkler:  

1] DID YOU EVER SEE HITLER by Walter Kempowski

DID YOU EVER SEE HITLER is the only book that you need to read to understand why Hitler had followers, why he held such a  sway. I translated the book for Peter Mayer at Avon Books around 1968 and Helen Wolf did the introduction.
I myself never saw or even heard Hitler during my German childhood although via grandfather Werner von

I lived within one degree of separation of a man whose actions had extraordinary direct and indirect influence on the lives of my family and therefore on me as I describe in SCREEN MEMORIES the memoir of my German-American childhood and youth

and who became an object of fascination: I would have loved to have published Fritz Redlich & Ted Dorpat’s first rate psychoanalytic studies of this monstrous, wounded, vengeful war-trigger fascist.
   At Farrar, Straus I only did novels, the Adorno Reader on which I had spent a year reading & selecting and for which Susan Sontag was going to write the introduction was shot down by twerp Michael DeCapua after I left & I did not get a chance to either translate or publish non-fiction until my years as editor at Continuum Books 1971-74, and I don’t recall placing important non-fiction when representing Suhrkamp Verlag via the Lantz-Donadio Agency  1969-1971. For my publishing history see:

Seabury Pres, with its imprints Crossroads and Continuum refused to publish novels, I think George Lawler, also influential on the ecumenical Crossroads, was to blame in concert with Werner Linz publisher of both Seabury Press imprints, Werner Linz, a true shit it turned out to be who had sold U.S. Herder & Herder to McGraw-Hill from under his superior Frank Schworer who went on to found Campus Verlag in Germany. Linz was not one to stand up for his authors… the machinations in which you then get caught up in unless you do due diligence in a world that was anything or only rarely gentlemanly if it had ever really been.  
I became editor at Herder McGraw-Hiil upon leaving the futile and financially so deleterious Suhrkamp representation and did so intending to develop the equivalent of an edition Suhrkamp… that kind of paperback line that comprised current affairs topics  & historical analytic mixed in with more permanent titles,  had been in my blood since my early 60s years in  New York when some people at Collier-McMillan – Villacanja is one name that I recall - were envisioning bringing the most demanding books into American drugstores!!! Which Collier-McMillan eventually did, e.g. most of Freud was done in the most reasonable paperback editions. It was the wave in publishing that created Doubleday Anchor, Vintage, Evergreen, Noonday and quite a few other quality paper lines, a veritable explosion of knowledge furthered by the quest for knowledge that the post WW II G.I. Bill had created. Publishing for me was always intended as an enlightening educational effort, not that a few more year in graduate school, especially a Grand Tour, would not have better equipped me.
The McGraw-Hill effort came to naught because Harold McGraw and his subsidiary rights person Beverly Loo allowed their greed to be fooled by a fake biography of Howard Hughes and instead of committing hari-kari, as any self-respecting Japanese would, they took the million dollar loss they incurred out on their trade division, including my American edition suhrkamp dream which then, in minimalist fashion, had a vestigial start at Continuum Books with Larry Birns The End of Chilean Democracy, Stanley Aronowitz’s Food, Shelter & the American Dream; Sam Hall Kaplan’s The Dream Deferred;  DelaCasa’s The Devastation of the Indies; Christian Enzensberger’s Smut (an investigation of dirt); the two collections of Hans Magnus Enzensberger essays The Consciousness Industry & Politics and Crime; Paul Sylbert’s Final Cut; RITUAL, PLAY AND PERFORMANCE by Richard Schechner;; INTRODUCTION TO THE SOCIOLOGY OF MUSIC by T.W. Adorno; THE INNERWORLD OF THE OUTERWORLD OF THE INNERWORLD by P. Handke;
 NEUROSIS AND CIVILIZATION by Michael Schneider which I not only published but translated to familiarize myself intimately with this the German New Left’s egalitarian program.
Not the worst start for a kind of combination of Edition & Bibliothek Suhrkamp! Regarded from that perspective, some titles were very much of the moment such as End of Chilean Democracy and Food Shelter & the American Dream, Drugs & Minority Oppression; others - Dark Soliloquy, Final Cut, the Dream Deferred, and Handke’s Innerworldwere perceived to have a greater duration.
What was fortunate about Continuum Books was that it had a Frankfurt School base with the Adorno/Horkheimer titles & a handful of Ernst Bloch volumes. Moreover, the Catholic left I believe had a home at Crossroad at that time.  All very Episcopalian & euconomical at that time. 
I’m leaving out the two-year representation of the Suhrkamp Verlag via Lantz-Donadio Agency where I don’t recall placing anything significant that involved the heart and mind as did e.g., finding a home for the Peter Weiss prose in 1965 where my efforts really were those of an agent more than editor or translator. Financially deleterious as those two agenting years proved to be, it was a great reading period that also allowed analysis of how Suhrkamp Verlag’s various editions developed. Thus the McGraw event is a kind of tragedy, and it is not all that surprising that the firm eventually got rid of its trade division altogether. All that under-developed talent at their various specialty magazines that I was planning to tap and that was most eager to be tapped; the only truly well-paid years I ever had yet not one book got published! Lots of NY editors had spent a well-paid year at McGraw! The absurdity of American corporate life, just as we had once feared it at Oakwood and Haverford when we discussed what aspect of the world outside our protective zoos we might want to enter and what to avoid.

THE DEVASTATION OF THE INDIES by Bartholomew de las Casas with one of those marvelous H.M. Enzensberger essays as an introduction.

 The Devastation of the Indies is an eyewitness account of the first modern genocide, a story of greed, hypocrisy, and cruelties so grotesque as to rival the worst of our own century. Las Casas writes of men, women, and children burned alive "thirteen at a time in memory of Our Redeemer and his twelve apostles." " He describes butcher shops that sold human flesh for dog food ("Give me a quarter of that rascal there, " one customer says, "until I can kill some more of my own"). Slave ship captains navigate "without need of compass or charts, " following instead the trail of floating corpses tossed overboard by the ship before them. Native kings are promised peace, then slaughtered. Whole families hang themselves in despair. Once-fertile islands are turned to desert, the wealth of nations plundered, millions killed outright, whole peoples annihilated. In an introduction, historian Bill M. Donovan provides a brief biography of Las Casas and reviews the controversy his work produced among Europeans, whose indignation--and denials--lasted centuries. But the book itself is short. "Were I t describe all this, " writes Las Casas of the four decades of suffering he witnessed, "no amount of time and paper could encompass this task."


POLITICS AND CRIME by H.M. Enzensberger

I continue to be amazed that Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s so intelligent essay work has never found the proper response in the U.S. It’s too intelligent I suspect. Susan Sontag much cared for it, but I don’t recall any one else right now. I translated the bulk of the pieces in these two volumes during my half-year trip halfway around the world and back prior to starting my new job as editor at Continuum. Enzensberger was intelligent company and highly educational.

SMUT (An Essay on Filth) by Christian Enzensberger
is one of the half dozen book I am most pleased to have helped whelp in this country. A fabulous bibliography which I a great reader of bibliographies of work that I like consumed in it entirety. I was in a University of Munich seminar on modernism with Christian I then recalled when we met in New York, but we had not talked then in fall 1956.

Drugs & Minority Oppression by John Helmer

I am drawing a complete blank how I came upon the Helmer? Who suggested this so important book? Was there an agent? But I published two of his titles.

THE DREAM DEFERRED by Sam Hall Kaplan was a pleasure to edit in New York with NY Times, later L.A. Times writer Sam Kaplan who now resides in Malibu where I then spent six productive years in them thar hills among some very crazy folk?! Sam felt abandoned since publication of his Dream coincided with my leaving Continuum to start Urizen Books, and I could not take him with me.

Paul Sylbert FINAL CUT
Having seen both friend Paul’s cut and then the studios FINAL CUT was a slam dunk for me. Great project to edit and have Paul design it too. Publisher Linz was not supportive against the pushback from the Hollywood types.

Great book about how a Hollywood film can be made, and then undone by studio interference. Fascinating to read now, 40 years after it was written, because even though Sylbert's point is that commercialism trumps art, the book shows that a lot more art got through back then than would today. Today, Sylbert's film wouldn't even get made.”

TRUTH & METHOD by Georg Gadamer
I only edited the translation, but what learning experience on the history of interpretation it is to read this great book paying an editor’s close attention.

INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY OF MUSIC by Theodor Adorno is one of those I am closest to and proudest to help transition into the U.S.


is one of those books I picked up entirely by the chance that Continuum’ Lexington Avenue address was near the U>N> and that Larry, a U.N. officer for Chile, I think bumped into each other on the street, I think he had the papers that comprised the book with him! And it was just what I was looking for! Larry who has been running COHA for many years COUNCIL OF HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS are still in touch

Food Shelter and the American Dream by Stanley Aronowitz also was what I was looking for at that time of economic and oil crises!
I became acquainted with Stanley via Joyce Johnson who was the editor of his McGraw-Hill title False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness and Food, Shelter was a natural for the time of the mid-70s   I learned a lot from Stanley and his work. I forget why at Urizen I did not do a book of his, perhaps he was committed elsewhere. But we stayed in touch, and the introduction to Fred Jameson proved fruitful.


The title speaks for itself, it is a collection of essays and played into my interest in psychoanalysis and eventually I entered this amazing procedure and if I had done so earlier I would have saved the world!

Tilman Moser’s

Years of Apprenticeship on the Couch

also features in the precedings for an analysis of my own. Lots of resistance at the time – mid 70s - among American analysts. I myself now more than ten years ago wrote up my analysis as A Patient’s Experience of his Analysis.

At Urizen I was also keen on doing a Self-Psychology Reader – a hot subject a that time - but Robert Sussman-Stewart , this was his  original idea - had proved unreliable & I had my hands full and could not pursue this interesting  project on my own.


The idea for this reader originated during my Continuum days & took a while to get out since Gebhardt had a hard time then writing the headnotes to the pieces that he selected. A big success as an introduction. Volume II, to cover the Frankfurt School’s second generation never materialized for lack of editorial resolve.


came to us via our Trotskyite British distributors Pluto Press who would not do it, Burchett – from their p.o.v. - being a Stalinist, not that they woouldn’t distribute it then. Burchett was first-of-all a journalist whose political affiliation had allowed him unique access to the way the Vietcong fought.
There are a few stories associated with Wilfred’s visit to New York. As I as usual went to my corner all-purpose newsstand around 4 p.m. one of those days to get my sugar fix in the form of a Mars bar I saw Wilfred’s pudgy face on the cover of the New York Post with the headline “Torturer of US POW’s in the US.” I called the White House information office and was assured that nothing of the kind was true, Wilfred has also covered the Korean War, as what war had he not covered! The headline was the making of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian machinations against their  fellow  Aussie communist journalist Burchett.
I took Wilfred to Elaine’s to meet with American journalists who had been in Vietnam – now five years in the past – and all was well until an infamous Post Reporter showed up with his photographer. Elaine suggested leaving through the adjacent kitchen, a room parallel to the restaurant and I made the mistake of doing so with Wilfred and his darling Bulgarian wife, whereupon shoved me so that his photographer could get a shot of “Burchett leaving” or perhaps it read “escaping through the kitchen” and I called the police and eventually took Donleavy to court. At that point I had the record of his violent behavior from his days in the Far East and I read it into the court record. The judge said he’d give me a conviction of Donleavy on the order of having left his garbage can uncovered but I would have to bring all the witnesses from Elaine’s to court three times or I could leave it at having Donleavy’s record in the court record. As we left together - I had presented myself per se - Donleavy was accompanied by a NY Post lawyer - Steve asked whether I didn’t regard myself as fortunate that he had not gouged out my eyes, as he supposedly had in the Far East. I must say I appreciated his sense of humor. We had been the first case called that morning of hundreds at the Leonard Street court. Another Aussie who now works the Far East for the New York Times then wrote all this up for the Soho Weekly news. Indeed, Donleavy, a Kiwi rugby star, could have destroyed this Bantam weight in short order.


was a title of the kind of which I did too few, that is, a book related to my immediate neighborhood and the way I was living. Jim, an ex UPI journalist, did the electricity for my first loft, which is how the idea for the book originated, and we sent him all over the country to get a feel for urban pioneering, that kind of conversion as it was occurring in the mid-70s everywhere. The printing in the book when we finally got it out     was seriously over-inked, but I decided to accept the job anyway, there was something appropriate about smudginess to the subject.

END PRODUCT by Sabath & Hall
was a lot of fun to do, Howard Linzer, who was in charge of sales, took the lead here.

Rudolf Augstein JESUS SON OF MAN
was a lot of fun for the animosity it generated among the fundamentalists. The book has hundreds of typos courtesy of its editor Hassan’s boyfriend to whom he farmed out the proofs. And I failed to double check before it went to the printer!

Quarks : The Stuff of Matter: Harald Fritzsch

Provides an account for the general reader of what physicists have learned about the atomic nucleus, protons, neutrinos, and quarks - the basic constituents of all matter.

Was an editing translating job for my friend Martin Kessler at Basic Books. With all the background reading I needed to do it got me back to snuff on sub-atomic physics and the non-sensicals – e.g. charms + anti-charms! – that then entered my dream life since I did this work while in analysis. Mesons. Bosons. Leptons as leopards!

Consists of the trial transcripts of  Maurice Bavaud a would be Hitler assassin & translating the book while in analysis proved torturous not only for its parricidal theme but also because that period in analysis coincided with the reliving of my torturous childhood with my governess, as well as my guilt for not having “taken care of” the partner in Urizen who had proved evil, that is not in time; ambivalences, punishment, fears of being beheaded like poor Bavaud.

Wolfgang Roth MEMOIR
Es haengt alles von der Beleuchtung ab/ It all depends on the lighting

while in analysis on my walk back three times a week I would stop by “Rothy’s” apartment and we would go over a section of his memoir that appears not to have been published. Rothy – because he was so tiny - was a stutterer, he had started to stutter when a dog had seized a hotdog he had in his mouth as a kid in Berlin’s Tiergarten section. I think I earned back a third of the cost of an analytic hour in delightful company with tea & cookies! We met when he did the set for Carl Weber’s production of Handke’s KASPAR which I had translated.

During my Urizen days I also edited a memoir by Margaret Cooke, 100 hours for 10 k which went into the firm.

 Interesting work with a woman who from early on in life had been the prisoner and stunted into fragility by great wealth and a forbidding father. Editing the Kalich novelfor 40 k  meant that outside editing introduced a total of 50 K into the firm, I also subscribed to half the debt to our printer, the darling George E. Banta Co, 80 k, but failed to abort partner Schulz from sluicing his alleged investments through, etc etc.

LOVE LETTER TO JEAN GENET WINKLER I cover already at the end of:


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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website


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