Darkness and a Little Light
by Johannes Bobrowski
A P.O.W. in Russia after World War II, Bobrowski (1917-1965) returned to his forever-changed native province, former East Prussia, in 1949. His lost homeland––which he called by the region’s ancient name of Sarmartia––haunts all his work. Full of longing and an astonishing poetic beauty, the stories in Darkness and a Little Light are visionary elegies to vanished ways of life. Some of the stories, set in the nineteenth century or in the darkness of World War II, are directly threnodic. But underneath the tales relating the dreary, oversynthesized reality of East German life in the ’50s and ’60s linger traces of an older, more atmospheric world of nature and memory.