Monday, 15 January 2018

Bibliographie der Utopie und Phantastik 1650 - 1950 (2)

I am returning to Bibliographie der Utopie und Phantastik 1650 - 1950 mentioned last year so that I can finally do this opus magnum some justice. This magnificent compendium of German-language  fantastic and utopian literature was compiled by the connoisseur of the genre who has spent over 30 years researching the subject in question. In Germany he is known under the nom de plume of Robert N. Bloch.
The gorgeously designed hardcover edition, which you can see on the picture was released by Achilla Presse in 2002, nineteen years after the volume's initial release. This edition extends the period covered by the book by over 100 years (1850 to 1950) to include genre fiction (leaving out dramas, poetry and nonfiction). As pointed out by Franz Rottensteiner in his foreword, this comprehensive volume should be placed on the reader's bookshelf in the company of E. F. Bleiler's Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Considering the amount of works that got lost and due to the scarcity of the titles - both the aftermath of World War II - the book is a titanic achievement.
The volume of 350 pages contains:
- 3 pages of b&w cover illustrations of some of the titles that appear in the volume
- Foreword by Franz Rottensteiner
- Introduction by Robert N. Bloch
- Bibliographic information on 3473 titles of fantastic and utopian literature listed alphabetically by author's surname
- An index

The whole book is in German, however being a bibliography I can recommended this title to anyone hunting for original-language first editions. I must add that the compendium also provides a great resource for translators looking for some German material so far unavailable in the target language.

With this book Robert N. Bloch has established himself as an important authority on the genre. However, his achievements go far beyond this single publication. He is also responsible for numerous book introductions and essays on many weird fictioneers and runs his own small press thanks to which he's managed to re-issue some hard-to-find classics of fantastic literature.

In the English-language world he is mostly recognized for his entry on German fantastic literature in the Supernatural Literature of the World: An Encyclopedia (ed. S. T. Joshi and Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, 2005, Greenwood). All of these contributions have earned him an anthology of fiction and non-fiction by fellow researchers and writers entirely dedicated to the man.

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