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Distributed for Seagull Books


39 Stories, 39 Pictures

In the historic tradition of calendar stories and calendar illustrations, author and film director Alexander Kluge and celebrated visual artist Gerhard Richter have composed December, a collection of thirty-nine stories and thirty-nine snow-swept photographs for the darkest month of the year.

In stories drawn from modern history and the contemporary moment, from mythology, and even from meteorology, Kluge toys as readily with time and space as he does with his characters. In the narrative entry for December 1931, Adolf Hitler avoids a car crash by inches. In another, we relive Greek financial crises. There are stories where time accelerates, and others in which it seems to slow to the pace of falling snow. In Kluge’s work, power seems only to erode and decay, never grow, and circumstances always seem to elude human control. When a German commander outside Moscow in December of 1941 remarks, “We don’t need weapons to fight the Russians but a weapon to fight the weather,” the futility of his struggle is painfully present.


Accompanied by the ghostly and wintry forest scenes captured in Gerhard Richter’s photographs, these stories have an alarming density, one that gives way at unexpected moments to open vistas and narrative clarity. Within these pages, the lessons are perhaps not as comforting as in the old calendar stories, but the subversive moralities are always instructive and perfectly executed.


Praise for Alexander Kluge

“More than a few of Kluge’s many books are essential, brilliant achievements. None are without great interest.”—Susan Sontag


“Alexander Kluge, that most enlightened of writers.”—W.G. Sebald

132 pages | 39 color plates | 5 x 8 | © 2012

The Seagull Library of German Literature

Art: Photography


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“Alexander Kluge and Gerhard Richter’s December (translated by Martin Chalmers) revives a related tradition: the calendar as history, or the ’chronicle.’ Kluge’s texts—one for each day of the month—appear opposite images of winter wastescapes by Richter, together forming a stark, disconcerting record of a Germany frozen if not temporally then spiritually.”

Joshua Cohen | Harper's

"December physically ferries the reader back and forth between word and image, prompting a search for equivalents, as well as for those lost elements that have no equivalents. The space that December inhabits—a winter at once ominous and intimate, the last breath of the year in anticipation of its end and rebirth—is not unlike the space of translation."

Madeleine LaRue | Quarterly Conversation

Table of Contents

1 December 1941
2 December 1991
3 December 1931
4 December 1941
5 December 1942
6 December 1989
7 December 1932
8 December 1941
9 December 1941
10 December 1932
10 December 1941
10 December 1944
10 December 2009
11 December 1944
12 December 2009
13 December 2009
14 December 2009
15 December 2009
16 December 2009
17 December 2009
18 December 1941
19 December 2009
20 December 1832
21 December 1945
22 December 1943
23 December 1943
23 December 1932
24 December 1943
25 December 2009
26 December 2004
27 December 2003
28 December 1989
29 December 21,999 BC
30 December 1940
31 December 2009

Calendars Are Conservative

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