Saturday, February 24, 2007

Yellow Books

Every pupil in Germany knows these little yellow books. One has to read several of them during the years at school. The books are called "Reclam" and there is one for almost every classic play, important poem or famous novel.
I can remember reading "Faust I" from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 7th grade. We had to read a few chapters every day as homework. At the beginning of every lesson the teacher asked one person to stand in front of the class and tell about the last chapters and the lyrical feelings that reading invoked.
I really hated that rhyming stuff.
The good thing was that the teacher chose me for interpreting the very first chapter. I don't remember what mark I got but I didn't care. You know why? Our teacher, Mr. Neubig, never chose the same guy twice. From this day on I stopped reading the yellow book and felt like a free man whenever I looked at my comrades who were busy to browse the book in the last minutes before every German lesson.
Instead of reading I scribbled little drawings on the cover of the Reclam book - this task was very popular, too. Some books looked very amazing.

If you would have told me back in those days that I'd buy Reclam books just for pleasure I would have laughted out loud. Apart from that I already look forward to attend to a staging of Goethe's Faust I in summer although I already saw it.
Well, being an boring adult changes things - sometimes.
I got such a lot valuable hints for understanding literature at school and I simply didn't pay attention at all. It's such a pity to waste school lessons to kids - I had to become an grown up to be able to appreciate it. Too late.

I really have to search the attic of my parent's house for my old painted Reclam books.

Oh, by the way and just to prevent you from getting a wrong impression of me: The pile of yellow Reclam books on the photo is not my own - I simply shot it in a book store.


  1. How I miss my 30 - 35cm long amount of Reclam books. I love them so much. Thats a typical icon of german literature.

  2. I can remember! Faust I is okay. Faust II - this was a nightmare.