Not one of them: The Audacious World of Irmgard Keun
A bestselling author of the Weimar Republic
and a glamorous figure of 1920s Berlin, Irmgard Keun established the concept of
modern “girl culture” – with a heroine who is part of the workforce, sexually emancipated,
with a strong personality, hunger for life and not enough money to pay rent –
in German literature. She was blacklisted after the Nazis rose to power and
forced into exile and would later fake her own suicide and sneak back into Nazi
Germany under an assumed identity. Mostly forgotten after the war she
experienced a literary renaissance in Germany before her death in
1983. In an attempt to introduce her work to American audiences, three of her
books (The Artificial Silk Girl, Child
of All Nations, and After
Midnight) have recently been
published in the U.S. by the independent publishers Other Press, Overlook, and
Ruth Franklin, Michael Hoffmann, and Maria Tatar will
discuss the artistic, political, and cultural significance of the
German author Irmgard Keun. A video interview with Keun's daughter TK,
and film clips from adaptations of Keun's novels will also be
Read what one of the participants, Ruth Franklin, thinks about Irmgrad Keun and her relationship with literature and politics.
Franklin is a literary critic and a senior editor at The New Republic. Her writing also appears in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and other publications. Her book A Thousand
Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, which investigates work by writers such as Elie
Wiesel, Primo Levi, Imre Kertész, and W.G. Sebald, was published in November
2010 by Oxford University Press. Before joining The New Republic, she was an editor for the Let's Go travel guide
series and a researcher in the Warsaw bureau of The New York Times. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages & Literatures and
Folklore & Mythology at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in
the fields of German Studies, Folklore, and Children’s Literature. She is
the author of Classic Fairy Tales,
Annotated Peter Pan, Enchanted Hunters, Lustmord, among other
volumes, as well as of the introduction to The Artificial Silk Girl.
and translator Michael Hofmann has translated some sixty books from the
German, mainly novels, including works by Ernst Junger, Franz Kafka, Wolfgang
Koeppen, Joseph Roth, and Wim Wenders. His criticism appears regularly in the London
Review of Books and Poetry
Hofmann currently teaches poetry workshops and seminars on European poetry and
translation at University of Florida.
DAAD sponsored Panel
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