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Finally, in burning, Notre Dame reminds us of the fragility of our history and heritage, of the precariousness of what we have built, and of the finite nature of millennial Europe, homeland of the arts, to which Notre Dame is one of the loftiest testaments. Looking ahead, what are we to think? What should we do? More than a political union, it is a great work of art, a brilliant bastion of shared intelligence, but also home to an endangered legacy. That legacy is too important to lose.

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We cannot allow pyromaniacs to divide the people of Europe. We must remember that we, together, are builders of temples and palaces, creators of beauty. That is the lesson of Notre Dame in this Holy Week. French President Emmanuel Macron , who for two years has appealed for unity in rebuilding Europe, now is appealing for unity in rebuilding Notre Dame. Together, we must restore the heart of France. I urge all readers to do the same. We the people are the masons. It appears that you have not yet updated your first and last name.

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Translation:Ode to Joy

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Friend's name. Friend's email. First Name. Last Name. Phone number. The present plods along, day by day, and the German past is excavated beneath it, as Gesine tells her bleak family history to her ten-year-old daughter, Marie. We tack between modern New York and the German backwater of Jerichow—a fictional town lying in the nonfictional northern region of Mecklenburg, on the Baltic coast—where Gesine was born into the Third Reich, on March 3, This elaborate suicide occurs on November 9, , of all nights: Kristallnacht.

The present is filtered through the Times , which Gesine reads in its entirety every day; whole passages are pasted into the text. The tally of deployment and death in Vietnam ticks grimly by. Uwe Johnson was born in and grew up in Mecklenburg. His father, like Heinrich Cresspahl, was imprisoned by the Soviets after the war.

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Like many a modern European writer, Johnson saw America in fiction before he saw it in fact. Enzensberger argued that the U. To get his credibility back, Enzensberger decided to take his talents to Cuba.


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Sometimes it captures the desire to lay a claim, to define or redefine oneself in a new country, to assimilate. Among its vast cast is Mrs. A thousand pages in, she becomes a U. Johnson dies. Just as often, the novel captures the awkwardness and alienation of being in a new country—particularly of being a German in a new country.

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The America yearned for in this novel is not white America. We see the clumsy drafts:. Dear Mrs. This was a motley jumble of brooches and rings, which the donors may have overlooked on lapels or in pockets as they hurried to stuff the clothes into bags. The Croat gave me the odd bit of advice as I studied the jewellery. This brooch was very becoming, or that ring showed off my hand very nicely, but I was not persuaded. I sometimes met her there.

Ode to Our Lady of Europe

On one occasion I wanted to tell her about my instant pictures, indeed I had even prepared a little talk in my head about the relationship between these pictures and memory, but the talk went awry, my words sounded muddled, and she regarded me with disbelief. I mistrust memory, she said. The next time we met, she mentioned that she had started work on a photographic study. She mumbled an attempt to explain the study to me. You know, she said, beauty, light, reality, that sort of thing.

A kind of law. Her voice became ever quieter, and I could barely understand what she was saying, but when I gave her a quizzical look, she shrugged her shoulders. A kind of law, she repeated, craning her face so far forward that it almost came up against my own. What is actually beautiful in what we see? Following this conversation I stayed away from the shop, but a few weeks later Sonja came to see me.

She was pregnant. Her features had become sharper; the weather-worn stone angel was no more, while her red hair, plaited into a braid, hung down in front of her shoulder. She lowered her eyes and soft bluish eyelids; she was no longer Sonja but a pre-Raphaelite vignette. As a farewell gift she had brought me two photographs she had taken with her pinhole camera. On one of them I recognized a view of the garden behind where I lived: the flat gravel-strewn roof, the sycamore, the window of my small room, where I had so often stood. For a moment I was taken aback; I felt watched, and caught at trying to memorize things.

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The window of the little room looked empty, however; there was no sign of any figure. It really did look like a drawing. An angel! It was a blot of the kind that had occasionally appeared in the photos I took with my old instant camera: white shadows, caused by light penetrating the primitive casing.

Sonja, who since her metamorphosis may have been called Gabriella, took her leave. She walked slowly and ponderously, not towards the Abney Park Cemetery, but in the other direction. I began to imagine her in Springfield Park, where, who knows, she might cross paths with the King, but then I saw her turning down the lane that ran along between my back garden and the embankment above the train station. The moment she vanished I was no longer certain I would recognize her if I saw her again in a different place.

I gave the two pinhole photographs a place in my flat. And there they stood, one at either end of the series I had taken of the Lea, like two distant relatives from a branch of the family thought to have withered away. The translation of this work was supported by a grant from the Goethe-Institut which is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Abashed by the harm I had wreaked on the picture left behind, and unsure where the cut-out might end up next, I lived a provisional existence. I did so in a place where I knew none of my neighbours, where the street names, views, smells and faces were all unfamiliar to me, in a cheaply appointed flat where I would be able to lay my life aside for a while.