With an introduction by Damion Searls
, whose translation into English of Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries
recently was published by New York Review Books
German writer Uwe Johnson (1934-1984) lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for several years in the 1960s. The publisher Harcourt Brace had hired him as a textbook editor for their German-language school book editions, which allowed him to stay in New York and also tend to his own writing. In his spare time he got to know his neighborhood very well, observing the goings-on in the streets, cafeterias, and parks. In 1968 German public television agreed to coproduce a film in which Johnson would, on-camera, introduce and question the various characters with whom he exchanges news and opinions on his wanderings around the Upper West Side. As an introvert he was not interested in appearing in the film, but was willing to make a list of places and situations that he felt should be featured. Christian Blackwood
took charge of the project and Johnson wrote the narration once the film was edited. It was broadcast in Germany at the time.
Summer in the City
West Germany, 1969, 89 minutes
Directed by Christian Blackwood
US distributor: Michael Blackwood Productions
grew up on Riverside Drive in New York City, three blocks away from Gesine Cresspahl’s apartment. He is the author of a book on Hermann Rorschach and the Rorschach test, and has translated many classic modern writers, including Marcel Proust, Rainer Maria Rilke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Robert Walser, Ingeborg Bachmann, Alfred Döblin, Jon Fosse, Elfriede Jelinek, Patrick Modiano, and Nescio.