The University of Wisconsin Press



A Diary of Pique 1983–1984 / Ein Tagebuch des Grolls 1983–1984
A Bilingual Poetry Collection
Carl Djerassi
Translated by Sabine Hübner

On May 8, 1983, Carl Djerassi is rejected by the great love of his life, the renowned literary scholar and biographer Diane Middlebrook. Wounded and angry, this man of science seeks solace and release in an unexpected way: writing free verse poetry. Brutally open, Djerassi’s “poetic volcanic eruption” is the lyrical diary of a man full of anger and self-pity, grieving with unsparing honesty about the end of a relationship.

Offering deeply personal insights, the poems chronicle Djerassi’s emotional world in this period before the unexpected return of his beloved in 1984. He and Middlebrook married in 1985. Only some years after her death in 2007 did Djerassi return to these poems to revise them. They are published here for the first time, with German- and English-language versions on facing pages. The bilingual interplay between Djerassi’s mother tongue and his adopted literary language offers a richly intimate perspective on the scientist, the writer, the art connoisseur, and the romantic that is Carl Djerassi.

Carl Djerassi (1923–2015) was the author of many novels, plays, essays, poetry, and short stories published in twenty languages. Renowned as both a writer and a scientist, he was an emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University and the recipient of thirty honorary doctorates as well as many international scientific honors. His books published by the University of Wisconsin Press are: How I Beat Coca-Cola and Other Tales of One-Upmanship; Foreplay: Hannah Arendt, the Two Adornos, and Walter Benjamin; Sex in an Age of Technological Reproduction: “ICSI” and “Taboos”; and A Diary of Pique 1983–1984 / Ein Tagebuch des Grolls 1983–1984.

Please see this obituary published in the New York Times.

For more information about the author and his other works, visit

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August 2012

192 pp.   5 x 8

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Cloth $19.95 t
ISBN 978-3-85218-719-8
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