I’ve just visited London’s National Gallery exhibition of Dürer’s journeys across Europe (do visit if you can or check out online). As well as displaying some heart-stopping prints, engravings and woodcuts by one of Europe’s most famous artists, it depicts Dürer’s journeys across Germany, Italy and the Low Countries and his encounters with the work of other European Renaissance artists and thinkers, from Jan Gossaerts to Giovanni Bellini; they in turn visibly influenced by him. It was a moving reminder for me of how important it is for all of us in our work and creative lives to continue to communicate and network, in spite of the restrictions of Brexit and Covid. Travel was not easy in Dürer’s day, and there was a plague in Europe, but look what they achieved: a European Renaissance! Don’t worry, this is not embarrassing hubris – I’m not about to compare our work at the European Literature Network with Dürer’s (!) – but we are passionate about sharing the ideas of European literature, language and translation, and we’d certainly endorse greater patronage of the arts today. The European Renaissance thrived partly thanks to some powerful backers. (Any enlightened patrons out there looking for a cause?)
Before the latest lockdowns and Covid surges in Europe, I managed one work trip to participate in the annual European Literature Days in Austria – the kind of gathering that Dürer would have loved. Talking, walking, performing, interviewing, eating and drinking together in person with inspiring people from all over Europe gave me an enormous personal and professional boost, also, I hope, for all those people who attended or watched the livestream from the beautiful Minoritätenkirche in Krems. You can watch the videos and read blogs on this year’s theme “Journeys” here, after December 6th.
Also in November, the European Literature Network was delighted to support the second Romania Rocks festival of Romanian-British authors in the UK, organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI) in London. You can read the full programme here and watch some of the filmed events on the RCI’s YouTube channel. I must say it was thrilling to welcome Mircea Cărtărescu back to London after nearly a decade. He was also interviewed on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme. Listen again here.
Our monthly #RivetingReviews in November focused on Romanian literature in English – it’s a superb round-up of titles. Read them on our website. If you are interested in reviewing for December or January our email address is: email@example.com. The deadline is always the middle Monday of each month, for publication the Friday of that week. And do make a date with our regular columns, The Italianist, La Española and Poetry Travels, all seasonally festive this month. Our work on The Italian Riveter magazine is also gathering pace, the commissions are rolling in, and it will be a bumper beauty of a magazine, launching April 2022, to coincide with London Book Fair.
Finally, before signing off until the New Year, I’d like to remind you of our ground-breaking podcast series of #RivetingInterviews for EuropeReadr.eu and EUNIC, a further reminder of the power of creative collaboration. If you haven’t yet heard any of my interviews with European writers I’d love you to have a listen – here on Spotify. The final interview in this series is launched at 18:00 on Monday 6th December.
Enjoy the festive season, look after yourselves, stay bright and cheerful, and we’ll see you again in 2022 as we continue our journey towards the next European Renaissance.
Love from all of us at the European Literature Network –
Rosie Goldsmith, West Camel, Anna Blasiak, Max Easterman, Rosie Eyre and Alice Banks
The Madonna And Child With A Music Making Angel by Albrecht Dürer. Photo by Rosie Goldsmith, taken at the National Gallery in London