I remember feeling excited to see “Eyes Wide Shut”, the film that would become Stanley Kubrick’s swan song, when it was released in 1999. I also remember my disappointment after having seen it. But the film introduced me to Traumnovelle, the Arthur Schnitzler novella that inspired Kubrick. This small, somewhat overlooked gem became one of my favorite works of literature.
While I was overseeing international relations for the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand from 2013-17, I had the opportunity to visit some international book fairs annually. There was one book that always caught my eyes every time I stopped to browse at the Goethe Institut stand. (The Goethe Institut has a beautiful stand at probably every big international book fairs.) It was Jakob Hinrichs’ graphic interpretation of the Schnitzler masterpiece, also entitled Traumnovelle. I admired the artist’s visual sense, his lines, his use of colors, and the book was beautifully designed and produced. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that it included Schnitzler’s original German text in its entirety.
In 2016, when I was to curate a book-related exhibition for the second Bangkok Book Festival at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Jakob Hinrichs’ graphic novel came to mind almost immediately. The Goethe Institut in Thailand was on board to support the show, and when Jakob was approached about it he accepted the idea with enthusiasm. The exhibition consisted of enlarged reproductions of selected pages from his book and Jakob, Berlin based, was invited to come to Bangkok and conduct a couple of workshops. Jakob and I became friends, and in less than a year later, when I was in Berlin for a second launch event of The Sad Part Was, Jakob invited me to visit his studio in Mitte.
Even after all that, I didn’t expect to be the one taking on the task of getting Jakob and Schnitzler’s Traumnovelle translated and published in Thailand. But here it is, the Thai language version of this beautiful graphic novel and great modern literature. Fee Asavesna, a one-time actress—she was the leading actress in Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s feature film debut “Fun Bar Karaoke”—and cultish celebrity in the Thai indie scene, did an impressive job for a first-time translator.
I am proud to have been involved in getting this book out in Thailand.
Visit the Typhoon Studio website if you want a copy of the Thai Traumnovelle!