Wallstein Verlag

Ralph Dutli

The Song of Honey

208 pages, 11,0 x 18,0
ISBN: 978-3-8353-0972-2 (März 2012)


German Version

A pleasurable invitation to reflect on the important role of the honey-making hymenoptera in world culture.

Who knows that, for the ancient Egyptians, bees came from the tears of the sun god? That the Hindu god Vishnu, the guardian of the world, sleeps as a blue bee in a lotus blossom, next to the god of love? That the belief persisted throughout antiquity that bee colonies were born from the corpses of bulls? That in the middle ages, Christ was known as a heavenly bee, whilst Mary the Mother of God was a beehive? That honey was a symbol of the sweetness of godly truth, and an erotic metaphor for the joys of earthly love? That since antiquity there has been a secret relationship between bees and kissing? That a large number of intellectuals, from Vergil to Sylvia Plath, were passionate bee-keepers? That poets from Pindar and Horace to Mandelstam and García Lorca have compared themselves to bees, or that Rilke described poets as the »bees of the invisible world«?
The bee has provided inspiration for religious rituals, superstitions and miracle stories. It has stood for community spirit, self-sacrifice, provision for the future, well thought-out organization, purity, industriousness and abundance. But also for magic and prophecy, soul and inspiration. Ralph Dutli tells us all these things in a knowledgeable, witty and poetical way.

Dutli knows how to seduce his readers.
Guido Kalberer, Tagesanzeiger

The Author
Ralph Dutli, born in 1954, lives in Heidelberg and works as a freelance writer, lyricist and translator; he studied French and Russian in Zurich and Paris. He is the editor of the ten-volume Ossip Mandelstam Complete Edition. He has received well-known prizes and distinctions, the most recent of which was the Johann Heinrich Voss Prize awarded by the German Academy for Language and Literature. Ralph Dutli has published more than 30 books and editions to date, including the recent publications: Liebe Olive. Eine kleine Kulturgeschichte (2009) and Fatrasien. Absurde Poesie des Mitelalters (2010).

Rights sold:
Arabic world: Kana’an
Netherlands: Cossee

Published by Wallstein
Fatrasien. Absurde Poesie des Mittelalters (2010, 3rd edition)
Rights soldArabic: Kana’an Publishing House
Dutch: Uitgeverij Cossee
nach oben