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Peter Handke

Peter Handke in America: Fatima Naqvi, Christoph Bartmann, Klaus Kastberger, Heike Polster, Krishna Winston and Thorsten Carstensen Discussing Handke’s Life-long Fascination with America

Friday, December 7, 2012, 6:30 p.m.

Please join us for a discussion with Fatima Naqvi (Rutgers University), Christoph Bartmann (Goethe Institut NYC), Klaus Kastberger (University of Vienna), Heike Polster (University of Memphis), Krishna Winston (Wesleyan University), and Thorsten Carstensen (The Indiana University School of Liberal Arts).
Peter Handke in America is an important theme for understanding the writer’s work. Because of his life-long fascination with America, Handke was among the first German-speaking writers of his generation to present a positive image of the United States against the anti-imperialist aversions of the European 1968-movement. Particularly in his early work, scholars have traced his fascination with writers such as John Ford, Walker Percy (whom he also translated), as well as the blues, New York City, the image of the “Native American” and with the beauty of the American landscape. His 1971 novel Short Letter, Long Farewell makes his fascination with the United States the central motif. Handke also lived in New York (after lengthy travels through Alaska), where in 1979 he wrote his important novel The Long Way Round. In his film Three American LPs, he co-produced with Wim Wenders, many of these themes can also be clearly identified.
Fatima Naqvi is an associate professor in the department of Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University. She teaches courses on Vienna 1900, Robert Musil, the German novel after 1945, and film (From Haunted Screen to Hyperreality; Violence in Film: Bresson, Antonioni, Haneke; Screening German Histories). Her research interests include Austrian authors and filmmakers of the post-1945 period, the intersection of fine art and literature, dilettantism and the theorization of interdisciplinarity.

Christoph Bartmann is the director of the Goethe-Institut New York and North America since July 2011. Before he was working for several Goethe-Instituts worldwide, amongst others Prague, Copenhagen and Munich.

Klaus Kastberger is a literary scholar and critic (among others he is working for Die Presse and ORF), scientific researcher at the Literary Archives of the Austrian National Library and associate professor at the University of Vienna. He has published widely on Austrian literature and managed several projects of the Austrian Science Fund, among them “Forschungsplattform Peter Handke (“, exhibitions, and event concepts (among others Grundbücher der österreichischen Literatur seit 1945). Publisher of the historic-critic edition of Ödön von Horváth (since 2009 at de Gruyter) and other works.
Recently published: Vom Eigensinn des Schreibens. Produktionsweisen moderner österreichischer Literatur (2007), Peter Handke: Freiheit des Schreibens - Ordnung der Schrift (2009), and Die Arbeit des Zuschauers. Peter Handke und das Theater (2012, published together with Katharina Pektor).

Heike Polster received her doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis after studying German, American Literature, Philosophy, and History in Bamberg, Germany, and Athens, GA. She teaches German and Austrian literature and culture at the University of Memphis. Her first book, "The Aesthetics of Passage: The Imag(in)ed Experience of Time in Thomas Lehr, W.G. Sebald, and Peter Handke" was published in 2009 with Königshausen & Neumann in Germany. Her monograph on Christa Wolf's notion of contemporaneity is forthcoming in 2012. Broadly, Dr. Polster's research concerns 20th - 21st Century German Literature and Culture, Intellectual History, and Cultural Studies. She current book project is entitled Heterochronic Visions, a project exploring the relationship between 20th Century philosophical and literary notions of temporality.

Krishna Winston is professor of German Studies, director of service-learning, and coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship at Wesleyan University. Since her graduate school days, Winston has been a professional translator. To date, she has translated 30 books from German to English. She is currently working on Peter Handke’s novel Moravian Night. She has also translated Günter Grass’s Two States, One Nation, Too Far Afield, Crabwalk, The Box, and, most recently, From Germany to Germany: Journal of the Year 1990, forthcoming in November.

Thorsten Carstensen is Assistant Professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis. He graduated from New York University in May 2012 with a thesis on Peter Handke's epic mode of storytelling. In his research, Dr. Carstensen focuses on 20th century German and Austrian literature and questions of narratology. He is the co-editor of the first unabridged English translation of Hans Fallada's novel "Wolf Among Wolves". Other publications include articles on Peter Handke, Hermann Broch, J.M. Coetzee and the films of Wes Anderson. His first book, "Romanisches Erzählen: Peter Handke und die epische Tradition," will be published with Wallstein Verlag in 2013.

In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut New York and the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. With the generous support of the Dietrich Botstiber Foundation, and the DAAD.
Event coordination: Julia Kitta.

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