Diary-of-a-Man-in-DespairThis month, we are joined by Nick During of NYRB Classics to discuss Friedrich Reck’s political memoir, Diary of a Man in Despair.

My life in this pit will soon enter its fifth year. For more than forty-two months I have thought hate, have lain down with hate in my heart, have dreamed hate, and awakened with hate. I suffocate in the knowledge that I am the prisoner of a hoard of vicious apes, and I wrack my brains over the perpetual riddle of how this same people, which so jealously watched over its rights a few years ago, can have sunk into this stupor, in which it not only allows itself to be dominated by the street corner idlers of yesterday, but actually, height of shame, is incapable any longer of perceiving its shame for the shame that it is.

This is a passage written by Friedrich Reck on August 11, 1936, and recorded in a journal of sorts that he kept from 1936 unti l1944. It was a dangerous document that he kept hidden in various places. Certainly, had it been found, it would have led to his death. Regardless, at the end of 1944, Reck was arrested and killed in early 1945.

This journal was first published in German in 1947 and gained footing in 1964. It first came to English in 1970 as Diary of a Man in Despair. It was reprinted in 2000 with portions that were previously expunged.

NYRB Classics published their edition of Diary of a Man in Despair in February of 2013, and it is the book we’ll be talking about in Episode 5 of The Mookse and the Gripes Podcast.

In Episode 6 we will be discussing Nancy Mitford’s The Sun King.

Show Notes (58:27)

  • Intro (xx:xx)
  • Brief Friedrich Reck Bio (xx:xx)
  • General Thoughts (xx:xx)
  • The Complexity of Reck: Monarchist, Hero (xx:xx)
  • Psalms and Lamentations (xx:xx)
  • Deliberate Structure (xx:xx)
  • Women (xx:xx)
  • Victor Serge (and a couple of other NYRB Classics authors): (xx:xx)
  • “The Liar” (xx:xx)

Some Links

Episode Credits

  • Co-Host Trevor Berrett
  • Co-Host Brian Berrett
  • Guest Nick During, Marketing & Sales Associate of NYRB Classics
  • Introduction Music — “Where We Fall We’ll Lie” by Jeff Zentner, from his album The Dying Days of Summer (used with permission)
  • Outro Music — “Promise Me That You Will Never Die” by Jeff Zentner, from his album Hymns to the Darkness (used with permission)
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