NDSU Libraries publishes new German-Russian anthology

Feburary 1, 2003

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo, is pleased to announce publication of "Autumn Thoughts--Under Ruins and Snow: An Experiment in Ethnic Anthology. Two Centuries of German-Russian Poetry, Short Stories, and Essays", by Samuel D. Sinner.

This compelling anthology presents for the first time in English translation a wealth of captivating works by ethnic-German writers of Russia and the Soviet Union. Many of the authors whose dramatic works are found between these covers led creative literary lives and were harassed by Soviet authorities obsessed with cultural uniformity and thought control; some were executed, others vanished forever in the Gulag. The brilliant and alluring voices of these men and women authors have been silent for decades. Now they speak again, offering an illuminating glimpse into their provocative lives caught between two worlds.

The editor, Samuel Sinner, also presents his own striking literary compositions, in which he intensifies the traditional themes of the earlier translations, adding to them imaginative motifs from Jewish mysticism, Scandinavian mythology, fantasy and philology, and even quantum physics, in an overpowering attempt to understand and explain the haunting nature and mystery of a universe where individuals are capable of persecuting and liquidating their fellow human beings.

With marvelous skill, Sinner gathers the most widely disparate literary traditions and themes and sews them together, creating a uniquely eclectic and breathtaking unity, a vision at once epic, tragic, and magical. Including translations of Russian, German, and ethnic German-Russian works, this rich literary volume is a truly German-Russian anthology in the fullest sense.

Samuel Sinner's, subtitled "An Experiment in Ethnic Anthology," is a work of striking and multifaceted originality. A mother lode of imagination, of language, of history, both personal and ethnic, this book intentionally blurs the distinctions between literary genres, and besides the author's own works, reveals to the American public for the first time a variety of powerful Germans from Russia artists and writers. -- Ronald Vossler, award-winning author and documentary film-script writer

With this important new anthology, German-Russian writers long absent from the scene of world literature now take their rightful place at center stage. Firmly grounded in the history and steeped in the cultural traditions of the people whose ethnic identity he shares, Dr. Samuel Sinner as editor, author, and translator of "Autumn Thoughts" presents a skilled evocation of a lost world. His judicious selection of representative works by recognized authors among the Germans in Russia, a nation now in diaspora, is set against the backdrop of ancient Germanic and contemporary Russian works which offer the reader glimpses into the literary milieu and political context which inspired these creations. Thanks to Sinner's immense erudition and inerrant ear for language, voices once stilled by Stalin speak again. More than mere translations, the pieces in the collection read like English language reincarnations of the spirit of this vanished people. In his own original compositions! included here, Sinner reveals mystical depths and a muscular writing style that prove him the apt inheritor of his relative and namesake, Johann Peter Sinner--that prescient poet who, while recalling a German-Russian golden age, perceived the sharp winter winds of persecution and exile about to descend on his people. -- Dr. Nancy Bernhardt Holland, former executive director of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia.

About The Author

Ethnic activist, author, and scholar, Samuel D. Sinner, grew up in California. He holds a doctorate in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research on the Jewish Holocaust has been published by Oxford University Press and will soon be published by Berghahn Books (Oxford and New York). His translations and essays on history and literature have been published in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Journal of Genocide Research, Nebraska History, Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, and Germans from Russia Heritage Review. Forthcoming essays on German-Russian literature and the Holocaust will appear in Russia and Switzerland.

To purchase "Autumn Thoughts", send $45 per book plus $4 postage payable to NDSU Library. Mail to: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Autumn Thoughts Book, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599. Website to order the book is library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/general/sinner2.html.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller