The OF Blog: Perhaps the oddest pairing yet in a weekly poll of mine

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Perhaps the oddest pairing yet in a weekly poll of mine

Was just now thinking of two vastly different books, one that I've not yet read, and the other that I endured when doing my undergraduate and graduate research.  So I thought I'd put a poll up to see which would make for the more interesting review possibility, St. Thomas Aquinas' most famous work, or the autobiography/manifesto of Adolf Hitler.

I feel as though I am parodying a Frank Stockton tale in thinking, "What will it be, the Saint or der Führer?"


Gabriele C. said...

Mein Kampf is the most boring, dull, badly written book ever. Makes Goodkind and Stanek look like literature. ;)

I vote for the Aquinate.

Larry said...

You don't have to tell me that, Gabriele, as I had to re-read that turgid thing several times when writing my thesis.

Gabriele C. said...

Oh dear. I didn't even finish it the first time.

I wrote my thesis about Mediaeval literature, that was more fun. ;)

Larry said...

Mine was on the problems in sussing out Hitler's religious identity. Nice to see that there's been much more work done on this since 1997, as there was shockingly little in either German or English before then.

Gabriele C. said...

And what was Hitler's religious identity? I never thought about that question before.

Mine was about the translations / adaptations of Medieaval French epics (chansons de geste) in Old Norse literature. There's some uncharted territory there as well.

Larry said...

That was the "problem," as after I glanced through dozens of speeches from 1920-1945, his "Table Talk," the memoirs written by various associates of varying degrees of closeness to him from 1905-1945, it becomes very problematic to discern anything with certainty. I used the methodological framework established by Eberhard Jäckel to explore the development of Hitler's Weltanschauung. I came to the conclusion that there was never a definitive break with Christian (or more specifically, Catholic) thought, but rather that like most people, he held contradictory opinions. Thus he could blast Christian leaders in Germany and arrest several (and Martin Bormann, an anticleric, certainly emphasized these elements in his editing of the "Table Talk"), but he viewed with derision the Deutsche Kirche idea of Rosenberg and others.

Currently reading Kevin Spicer's 2008 work, Hitler's Priests: Catholic Clergy and National Socialism, and I'm probably going to review it in a couple of weeks. So far, his methodology is sound and his takes on the 138 "Brown Priests" echo some of my sentiments after I read not just a tiny bit about them, but also what I recalled about Hitler's own comments over the last 25 years of his life. Fascinating stuff. Almost makes me want to go back and get my Ph.D. in it :P

Gabriele C. said...

That's interesting. I thought he had mixed up some Viking style monotheism out of all sorts of sources from the Edda to misinterpreted runes. Didn't know he kept his Catholic roots somehow. I know that is attitude to the official Church(es) was somewhat ambivalent, but I considered it a practical move - it would have upset lots of people if he downright forbade those.

Spaeking about PhDs, I've an half finished one in my drawer, mostly an expansion of the MA thesis. But things went awry at university, I lost my job there and somehow I also lost interest in the PhD for some time and started writing fiction. Now it would be a helluva work to go back to the stuff. I'd have to reread pretty much every book and essay and the original texts, and havimg a title wouldn't open me any doors in the current situation (the Scandinavian Studies department has cut down to the very basics and will probably close and thus follow most others in Germany). I'm playing with the idea to turn what I have into essays, rewrite them in English and post them on my blog. It would still require a fair deal of rereading, but I won't need to add tons of footnotes and could keep a less academic tone which is more fun to write (and fits the overall tone of my blog).

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