Book review: Baron Bagge by Alexander Lernet-Holenia (Austria, 1897-1976)

This sounds very interesting and reminds me of Egon Sciele’s sketches of despondent captured Russian officers.

Imogen is Reading and Watching the World: On Books, Film, Art & More

Translated by Richard and Clara Winston

Austrian author Alexander Lernet-Holenia’s 1936 novella Baron Bagge has been difficult to find in English translation, but has recently been re-issued in a beautiful hardback edition by Penguin Classics, with an introduction by rock memoirist Patti Smith. The English translation by Richard and Clara Winston dates back to 1956.

The book tells the story of Lieutenant Bagge, fighting against Russia with Austro-Hungarian forces, who are overpowered and forced to retreat over the Carpathian Mountains. Their seemingly deranged commander orders them to head north to carry out reconnaissance, in ominous weather, with a Russian assault anticipated at every turn.

They eventually set up camp in a small village, Nagy Mihaly, where the inhabitants seem strangely celebratory, and utterly unfazed by the Russian threat. On his arrival there Bagge immediately meets Charlotte, a passionate, very forward young woman, blonde and pale, who captivates him, and with…

View original post 160 more words

By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.