My madcap adventures in Germany during my year as a Fulbright Scholar.

18 November 2006

In honor of Walter Benjamin

It's been Walter Benjamin week around here. (More on that another time.) In honor of that, and because I'm too tired to post anything else, I'm offering this little puzzle, copied from a document from the Walter Benjamin Archive, currently on display at the Akademie der Künste and translated by yours truly.

Six authors are sitting in a railway car, in a first class cabin, three authors on each side. Müller, Schulze, Schmidt, Becker, Meier and Lehmann. They are, not necessarily in this order, Essayist, Historian, Humorist, Novelist, Dramatist and Poet. Each has written a book that is being read by another of the travelers.

Müller is reading essays, Becker is reading the book written by the man across from him. Schulze is sitting between the Essayist and the Humorist. Meier is next to the Dramatist. The Essayist is sitting across from the Historian. Schmidt is reading a play. Schulze is the brother-in-law of the Novelist. Müller, who's sitting in a corner, is not interested in history. Schmidt is sitting across from the Novelist. Meier is reading the Humorist's book. Lehmann is reading poetry.

Walter Benjamin says, "Each author is to be named." In addition to who writes what, I want to know what they're reading and where they're sitting.

I'll post the answer just as soon as I get around to solving it.

Given my current workload, that will be sometime in mid-December.


Anonymous Tom Oldham said...

Thanks for wasting my time! I solved it, in case you need a hint ;)

5:12 AM

Blogger Maureen said...

I actually solved it over the weekend, too. I just can't resist this type of mental game. Will you email me your answer? I'm almost positive I solved it correctly, but I can't rule out I made an incorrect inference and would like to double-check it against someone else's answer.

2:04 PM


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