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GERMAN STUDIES

 

Readings

 

2007  Uwe Kolbe  Uwe Kolbe

Uwe Kolbe was born in 1957 in East Berlin. His father was a sailor on the inland waterways. After graduating from high school and completing military service, he studied at the Literatur-Institut Johannes R. Becher in Leipzig from 1980 to 1981. His first volume of poetry, Hineingeboren, appeared in East Berlin in 1980, but the increasingly critical nature of his writing led to a ban on publication in the GDR in the early 1980s. During these years, he edited the illegal journal Mikado together with Lothar Trolle and Bernd Wagner. In 1985, he was permitted to travel abroad and lived in Hamburg from 1987 until he could return to Berlin after the fall of the wall. Today, he divides his time between Berlin and Tübingen, where he is Director of the "Studio Literatur und Theater" at the University of Tübingen.??Recent publications include the essay collection Renegatentermine (1998), the poetry collections Vineta (1998) and Die Farben des Wassers (2001), Der Tote von Belintasch, Kriminalgeschichte (2002). Thrakische Spiele, Roman (2005), and another volume of poetry ortvoll. Gedichte (2005). ??Uwe Kolbe has received numerous prizes, including the Nicolas Born Prize (1988) the Tübingen Friedrich Hölderlin Prize (1993), and the Preis der Literaturhäuser (2006). He was also writer-in-residence in Austin, Texas in 1989, from where he observed the fall of the wall.

Gila Lustiger

2006 Gila Lustiger

Modes of Memory: 2nd Generation Responses to National Socialism and the Holocaust in Literature

Max Kade Visiting Scholar/Artist. Gila Lustiger (born 1963 in Frankfurt/Main) is the daughter of the historian Arno Lustiger. She studied German and Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and now lives and works as a book editor, translator and author in Paris. Her other novels are Die Bestandsaufnahme , 1995 (The Inventory , Arcadia) and Aus einer schönen Welt, 1997. So sind wir was shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2005.

Mariella Mehr Daskind

2005 Mariella Mehr Daskind

Mariella Mehr is a writer of great intensity and a uniquely stark, unsentimental but highly poetic language. Many of her works have children as protagonists, children caught in loveless, oppressive, and abusive circumstances, who see no other way than to resort to criminal acts as a way of survival.

Mariella Mehr, the 2005 Oberlin writer-in-residence, was born in 1947 in Switzerland and is of Roma (Gypsy) background. Her work brings new perspectives to our notions of how minority writers transform very painful personal experiences into compelling literary works of universal meaning. ?Her poetry, plays, and novels have won numerous awards. In 1998 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Basel.

Sponsored by the Max Kade Center for German Studies at Case Western Reserve University and the College of Arts and Sciences, Case Western Reserve University

Katja Lange-Müller

2004 Katja Lange-Müller was born in East Berlin in 1951. Originally a nursing aid in psychiatric hospitals, her experiences led her to become a writer. Insightful and spontaneous, her writings frequently delve into the pain and sorrow of our world but avoid sentimentality by relying on a Berliner's brand of wit. Lange-Müller left the GDR in the 1980s and has lived in Mongolia. Today she resides again in Berlin, where she has been a member of the Berliner Academie der Künste since 2002. Among the honors she has received are the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis (1986) and the Alfred-Döblin-Preis (1995). She will be holding a reading and discussion of her latest book, Die Enten, die Frauen und die Wahrheit this March. The readings can be found below:

Stephan Peter Jungk

2003 Peter Stephan Jungk: "Jerusalem Revisited"

"I was born in California thirty years ago. My mother is from Vienna, my father from Berlin, both sole survivors of the Genocide. I grew up in America, in Britain, France, Germany, and Austria, where our maid took me along to Sunday Mass from time to time. My Judaism wasn't exactly kept hidden from me, yet to spare me the horrors of the Holocaust it was a secret which when unveiled would provide no benefit. During my first trip to Jerusalem I spent only a couple of hours in a Torah school; curiosity had led me there. The rabbi at the yeshiva reached out his hand toward me and said, 'Promise me you'll come back here.' And I did return." (From: Preface to Shabbat)

Shabbat. A Rite of Passage in Jerusalem is the book about Jungk's year of exploring the city and studying at the Torah school, exposing himself to the most religious of lives in the most religious of cities. Now, twenty years later, the author will read from Shabbat and discuss the very different Jerusalem of today and his life as a Jewish author, film scriptwriter, translator, and essayist in Berlin, Vienna, and--for the past fifteen years--in Paris.

Stephan Peter Jungk's books include:
Prose works include:
Stechpalmenwald (1978) - Rundgang (1981) - Franz Werfel Eine Lebensgeschichte (1987) - Tigor (1991) - Die Unruhe der Stella Federspiel (1996) - Die Erbschaft (1999) - Der König von Amerika (2001).
In English translation: Shabbat (1985) - Franz Werfel : a Life in Prague, Vienna, and Hollywood (1990) - The Snowflake Constant (2002), his most recent book, has just been shortlisted by the Arts Council England for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2003.

Doron Rabinovici

2002 Doron Rabinovici: "Gedenken ist Vergessen"

"Like Elias Canetti, Rabinovici has chosen to write in German rather than in his mother tongue. It is in German that he reflects on Germany and the Germans--their Jewish heritage, their efforts to come to terms with the Holocaust, their anti-Semitism, and the tenuous relationship between culture and politics." (The Jury of the Jean Amery Literaturpreis)

Doron Rabinovici is an Austrian writer, historian, essayist, and political activist. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1961 and moved to Vienna in 1964, where he studied medicine, psychology, ethnology, and history at the University of Vienna. He received his PhD for his study of the Jewish Council in the Third Reich.

He is the founder of the Viennese Friends of the Israeli Peace Movement "Shalom Ashav - Peace Now." The latest among his numerous prizes and grants is the prestigious Jean Amery Literary Prize awarded in October 2002.

His books include: Credo und Credit. Einmischungen (2001). Instanzen der Ohnmacht. Wien 1938-1945. Der Weg zum Judenrat (2000). Suche nach M. Roman in zwölf Episoden ( 1997). Papirnik. Stories (1994). Österreich. Berichte aus Quarantanien. Ed. Isolde Charim und Doron Rabinovici (2000).

Irina Liebermann

2001 Irina Liebmann: "'Es ist alles ganz anders, aber das war meine Reise'- Deutsch-deutsche Reflexionen"

"Some critics seem tempted to pile Liebmann's travel colleagues Heine, Fontane--even Laurence Sterne, the avatar of all sentimental journeys--onto the back seat of her little Japanese convertible. But I bet Irina Liebmann parked the three with a beer at the next autobahn fast food joint and set off on her trip to nowhere in particular . Naiveté and persistence are this author's tactical weapons, confusing Germans in east and west alike: Where's she coming from--over here or over there? .'It's all totally different, but that was my journey,' is the motto of the most beautiful travel book in many years," (F. R. Fries, junge Welt. Trans. Ittner)

Irina Liebmann, one of the most successful contemporary German authors was born in Moscow in 1943, grew up in Berlin, Merseburg, and Halle, and studied Sinology at the University of Leipzig. In 1988 she left East Berlin, and she now lives on an old farm in Mecklenburg. Her poetry, plays, essays, and novels belong to the so-called Wendeliteratur, literary reflections on life in the former GDR, German unification and the post-wall syndrome.
Her books include:
Berliner Mietshaus. Begegnungen und Gespräche (1990), the discreet yet revealing portrait of life in an East Berlin tenement house in the year 1980.
In Berlin. Roman (1994).
Mitten im Krieg (1989).
Letzten Sommer in Deutschland. Eine romantische Reise (1997), the poetic, thoughtful, and witty account of a journey across Germany.

Barbara Neuwirth

1996 Barbara Neuwirth: Nocturnal Gardens

"I dreamed of villages with tigers prowling for humans. I and he--my other self--ran across open spaces, broke into a house in search of refuge. But it was all rotten, brittle wood. The door I had opened no longer fit flush in its frame, the inner walls collapsed from our breath, the windows wheezed blind and dark. We fled across a high fence that had a crown of barbed wire. We didn't care as long as it kept our enemies at bay. The only accessible place seemed to be the apiaries. But there was just a narrow opening behind them for us to creep in. Too narrow for both of us." (From Nocturnal Gardens. Trans. Ittner)

Barbara Neuwirth is the author of several collections of feminist utopian and fantastic short stories; editor of Frauenforschung [Feminist Studies]; until 1997 editor of the feminist publishing house "Wiener Frauenverlag/Milena Verlag.
Her collections of short stories include:
In den Gärten der Nacht [Nocturnal Gardens]] (1990)
Dunkler Fluß des Lebens. [Dark River of Life] (1992)
Im Haus der Schneekönigin [In the House of the Snow Queen] (1994)
Tarot Suite. Ein Episodenroman. [Tarot Suite. A Novel in Episodes] (2001)

Gabrielle Alioth

1995 Gabrielle Alioth: "The Women's Ark"

"A remote valley near the Irish Sea, a lonely house overlooking a small overgrown garden and a meandering stream. An idyllic scene, or so it seems to the young couple who buy the house, replace the roof, and restore the walls around the garden . First it's only a vague sense of threat, the nightly sound of footsteps on the gravel path, the shape of a man determined to settle in the farthest corner of the garden. Reassembling the historical fragments of the three generations of women who lived in the house, the new owners also come under its spell.

As in her previous novels Gabrielle Alioth knows how to create suspense and carry her readers away on the dense stream of her language with "a dreamer's certainty." (Berner Zeitung. Trans. Ittner)

Gabrielle Alioth was born in Basel in 1955. She studied economics, art, and politics at Basel and Salzburg Universities. From 1979 she worked for the Prognos Company and Operations Research at Basel University. Alioth moved to Ireland in 1984. Her first novel The Fool (1990) was awarded the Hamburg Literary Prize for a First Novel and broadcast as a radio play.
Her books include:
Wie ein kostbarer Stein [Like a Precious Stone] (1994)
Die Arche der Frauen [The Women's Ark] (1996)
Die stumme Reiterin [The Silent Rider] (1998)
Die Erfindung von Liebe und Tod [The Invention Of Love And Death] (2003)
Books for children: Das magische Licht [The Magic Light] (2001); Im Tal der Schatten [In The Valley Of Shadows] (2002).

 

Thomsan Rosenlocher

1995 Thomas Rosenlöcher: "Dresden, November 1989: A Diary"

Rosenlöcher has been working as a freelance author since 1983. He is one of the most prominent of "a phalanx of young talents from East Germany [who] take a cool, self-assured look, spiced with sarcasm and wit, at everyday realities both now and in times past." (Wilfied F. Schoeller, secretary of the German P.E.N. Center). His novels and poems have won many major literary awards, such as the Hugo Ball-Förderpreis in 1990 and Tübingen's Hölderlin Prize in 1999.
His books include:
Die verkauften Pflastersteine - Dresdner Tagebuch [The Sold Cobblestones: A Dresden Diary] (1990)
Die Wiederentdeckung des Gehens beim Wandern - Harzreise [The Rediscovery Of Walking When Hiking: A Harz Journey] (1991)
Die Dresdner Kunstausübung [The Dresden Exercise Of Art: Poems] (1996)
Ostgezeter - Beiträge zur Schimpfkultur [Eastern Whingeings: Contributions To The Culture Of Bitching] (1997)
Am Wegrand steht Apollo [Apollo Is Standing At The Wayside: Poems] (2001).

Richard Wagner

1992 Richard Wagner: "A German in Rumania--A Rumanian In Germany."

"In the elevator there'd once been a mirror. One day it was gone. Screwed off. Since then there was no mirror in the elevator. And no one asked about it either. The buttons on the control panel in the lift had floor-numbers. One day these numbers were rubbed off. Who'd done it was a mystery. . No one wrote the numbers back on, so no one could obliterate them. You'd enter the lift and count the buttons before pushing one. And the mirror--had there ever been a mirror?" ...(From: Exit. Trans. Ittner)

Richard Wagner grew up in the German-speaking Banat region in western Rumania. After emigrating to West Germany in 1987 he moved to Berlin. "His gaze has a barbed hook: His views of the West always include the observer--and this is somebody from the East who has learned to scrutinize everything and pat it down for substance." (Marko Martin, TAZ).

In his highly autobiographical Ausreiseantrag (1988) Wagner chronicles the struggles and observations of Stirner, a "tolerated" German-Rumanian author stifled by a deceptively functional dictatorial regime and the petty corruption of its citizens.
His books include:
Rostregen. [Rust Rain] Poems (1986)
Begrüßungsgeld. [Welcome Money] Novella (1989)
Die Muren von Wien. [The Landslides of Vienna] Novel (1990)
Schwarze Kreide. [Black Chalk] Poems (1991)
Der Himmel von New York. [The New York Sky] Short stories (1992)
Giancarlos Koffer. [Giancarlo's Suitcase] Novel (1993)
Der Mann, der Erdrutsche sammelte. [The Man Who Collected Landslides] Short Stories (1994)
In der Hand der Frauen. [In The Hand Of Women] Novel (1995)
Lisas geheimes Buch. [Lisa's Secret Book] Novel (1996)
Im Grunde sind wir alle Sieger. [We're Basically All Winners] Novel (1998)