Bachmann’s Borders: A Commemorative Symposium
ich grenz, wie wenig auch, an alles immer mehr
I still border on a word and on another land,
I border, like little else, on everything more and more
Ingeborg Bachmann, “Böhmen liegt am Meer” (Bohemia Lies by the Sea, 1964)
October 17, 2013, marked the 40th anniversary of the Austrian author Ingeborg Bachmann’s untimely death in 1973 at the age of 47. During her lifetime, Bachmann, born in 1926, was already widely regarded as one of the most influential postwar writers in the German language. She catapulted to early fame when the leading German news magazine Der Spiegel featured her on its cover in 1954, hailing her poetry as a “stenograph of its time.” Today, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize—among the most prestigious awards for Germanophone writers—marks Bachmann’s continued importance in the contemporary literary landscape.
Deutsches Haus is proud to bring together three distinguished Bachmann scholars, Robert Pichl, Sara Lennox, and Karl Solibakke, for an evening of discussion about Ingeborg Bachmann’s legacy. Our three speakers will thematize Bachmann’s borders: her often critical conception of Austria and its relationship to its Habsburg past; the transnationalism of her writing, including her image of America; and her intermedial explorations of the boundaries between literature and music. In each of these contexts, borderlands become topoi, sites of symbolic accretion, in Bachmann’s rich oeuvre.
Until her retirement in May 2012, Sara Lennox was Professor of German Studies and Director of the Social Thought and Political Economy Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her books include Cemetery of the Murdered Daughters: Feminism, History, and Ingeborg Bachmann, Feminist Movements in a Globalizing World, and The Imperialist Imagination: German Colonialism and Its Legacy. She has published essays on twentieth-century literature, theory, feminism, postcolonialism, globalization, and transnationalism. From 2007-08 she was president of the GSA. She was co-principal investigator for research grants on Black European Studies and Black German Studies and is completing an edited book entitled Remapping Black Germany: New Perspectives on Afro-German History, Politics, and Culture.
Robert Pichl is Assistenzprofessor in the Department of German at the University of Vienna, where he completed his doctorate and has been teaching since 1972. Pichl was also a research fellow at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and holds an advisory position at the Ingeborg Bachmann Archive at the Austrian National Library. His research and teaching interests are wide-ranging, but with a special focus on Franz Grillparzer and Ingeborg Bachmann. He edited the critical edition of Bachmann's late prose works and is the co-editor of the Yearbook of the Grillparzer Society.
Karl Ivan Solibakke is an Associate Research Professor for Modern German Literature and Culture at Syracuse University, where he is completing three volumes on cultural memory in visual and textual contexts and three new volumes on Ingeborg Bachmann. Since the publication of his monograph on Bachmann and Bernhard in 2005, Solibakke has edited more than a dozen books on selected authors and produced nearly fifty articles on Benjamin, Jelinek, Heine, Goethe, Schiller, Kafka, Mahler, and many others. Solibakke was appointed Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for Budget and Long-Range Planning in June 2009 and is currently a member of the Executive Board of the International Walter Benjamin Society in Berlin.
Bachmann’s Borders: A Commemorative Symposium is a DAAD-sponsored event.
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Photo: Piper Verlag München