Europe, Europe (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
The essays that constitute Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s collection of “forays into a continent” are sophisticated and darkly pessimistic views of Europe’s present and future. With the exception of the last, each represents the fruits of a protracted visit to a single country by the essayist, one of West Germany’s foremost intellectuals and writers. The countries that serve as both scene and material for his meditations range from Sweden to Spain, from Poland to Portugal, and include Hungary and Italy for good measure. The collection’s final essay, printed as an “epilogue,” is a futuristic fantasy on the state of Europe in the year 2006. Here Enzensberger pulls out all the stops. A nuclear explosion in the wine-growing region of France has made wine from before the accident the investment of choice of multimillionaires (much as Impressionist paintings are today); environmental activists are pleading for the preservation of the Berlin Wall as a wildlife habitat.
With the exception of this last essay, however, the book consists of the author’s views of six seemingly disparate European countries, based on visits ranging from 1982 (Sweden) to 1986 (Poland). They are so diverse, in fact, that the casual reader may think that the author has chosen his countries at random. The structure of these initial six essays seems random as well:...
(The entire section is 1711 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Booklist. LXXXV, April 15, 1989, p.1424.
Bookwatch. X, August, 1989, p.S.
Foreign Affairs. LXVIII, Fall, 1989, p.210.
Kirkus Reviews. LVII, April 1, 1989, p.517.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. May 21, 1989, p.6.
The New York Review of Books. XXXVI, September 28, 1989, p.13.
The New York Times. September 2, 1989, p. 11(N).
The New York Times Book Review. XCIV, June 4, 1989, p.13.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXV, March 31, 1989, p.48.
Saturday Night. CXIV, August, 1989, p.49.
Travel. CLXXII, August, 1989, p.32.
(The entire section is 65 words.)