Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
Your list has always been interesting, idiosyncratic, imaginative and your translations [...] have been a source of pleasure to me.
Al Alvarez

The Good European

Essays and Arguments

Iain Bamforth

The Good European by Iain Bamforth
10% off Paperback
Categories: 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century, British, Scottish
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (280 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2006)
9781857547658
£16.95 £15.25
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Oct 2006)
9781847778710
£16.95
eBook (Kindle)
(Pub. Oct 2006)
9781847778727
£16.95
Digital access available through Exact Editions
To use the EPUB version, you will need to have Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) installed on your device. You can find out more at https://www.adobe.com/uk/solutions/ebook/digital-editions.html. Please do not purchase this version if you do not have and are not prepared to install, Adobe Digital Editions.
Amazon LogoOr, buy the Kindle version directly from Amazon
  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • Nietzsche, warning his countrymen in the Bismarck era against the nationalism that sought to promote all that was anti-rational in the German tradition, exhorted them to be 'good Europeans', avatars of the enlightened economic man of the eighteenth-century. Yet as RG Collingwood observed in his last great inquiry into the nature of civilisation, a book written to the glory of Hobbes at the height of the London blitz, Nietzsche was himself a victim of the disease he diagnosed.

    In The Good European Iain Bamforth's reports on fifteen years of 'experimental living' during which his attachment to the old continent brought him from Berlin, in the week in which he saw the fall of the Wall in 1989, to Strasburg, heart of aboriginal Europe and the city of noses in Tristram Shandy. Thrown into a deep identity crisis by Bismarck's victories against the French in 1870, pilot region for some of the modern state's most radical policies (health insurance, public relations), Alsace's divided loyalties have affected the nature of Europe itself. With his ear attuned to the complexities of culture and politics, Bamforth attempts to discover Europe through extra-diplomatic channels: he offers essays on writers and thinkers who have done much to define the small archipelago on the edge of Asia, including classics such as Kleist, Kafka, Roth and Benjamin, WG Sebald and Mavis Gallant. He provides a portrait of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, a send-off for Bernard Pivot's classic literary chat-show Bouillon de Culture, a scrutiny of philosophising media pundit Peter Sloterdijk, landscapes from Provence and Bavaria, reports from Prague and Geneva, Franco-German shibboleths, a sarcastic letter from 'Kakania', and an anatomy of the Alsatian humorist Tomi Ungerer. Europe often reeks of the terminally nostalgic and the curatorial: here a sceptical Scots intelligence reaches out to Musil, Heine, Gogol, Sterne, Montaigne, Rabelais and beyond the 'standard average European' to the gallant, helpless, hero-smitten Don, in the hope that they can help him find the way towards a more generous Europe.
    Iain Bamforth grew up in Glasgow and graduated from its medical school. He has pursued a peripatetic career as a hospital doctor, general practitioner, translator, lecturer in comparative literature, and latterly public health consultant in several developing countries, principally in Asia. His four books of poetry were joined by a fifth, ... read more
    Praise for Iain Bamforth 'This collection is a joy to read, full of so much nuance, and persuasive language, a permanent wistfulness that never strays into the twee and the constant sense of travel, of movement and growth.'
    Matt Macdonald, Scottish Review of Books
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog A Homeric Convention: Robert Wells read more Forty Names: Parwana Fayyaz read more Gregory Woods: Under the Bonnet read more PNR 259: Editorial read more Emily Skillings: Wicked Weather read more About Mother Muse: Lorna Goodison read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2021 Carcanet Press Ltd