Tag Archive for German Studies

Plass Speaks on Nietzsche’s Philosophy of the Body

Ulrich Plass, associate professor of German studies, presented a talk titled “Metaphysics and the Body: Adorno and Nietzsche on Living Rightly” at the Philosophy Department of the University of South Florida in April. His lecture compared Nietzsche’s philosophy of the body with Adorno’s attempts to ground an ethics of the good in somatic experience, i.e., in the spontaneous articulation of impulses.

Lensing Co-Edits Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Journal

Book edited by Leo Lensing

Leo Lensing, chair and professor of German studies, professor of film studies, is the co-editor of the book, Träume. Das Traumtagebuch 1875-1931, published by Wallstein Verlag in 2012. Träume is the dream journal of Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931). Schnitzler is the author of La Ronde, Fräulein Else and other classics of early 20-century Austrian literature.

Prepared together with Peter Michael Braunwarth to celebrate Schnitzler’s 150th birthday, the revised and expanded version of the dream texts originally included in Schnitzler’s diaries can be read as an implicit challenge to Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. Schnitzler’s Träume (Dreams) is both an “unconscious” autobiography of its author, whom Freud called his doppelgänger, and a dark, surreal reflection of the era between the final phase of the Habsburg Empire and the rise of fascism in the 1920s. His dreams are peopled not only by his family and famous Viennese contemporaries, including Freud, Mahler, Klimt, Karl Kraus and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, but also by Goethe, Mozart, Wagner, Emperor Franz Joseph, Kaiser Wilhelm and even Marlene Dietrich.

Träume has elicited an unexpectedly wide and positive response in the Austrian and German media. An early review of the book in the Viennese music journal Der neue Merker marveled over the “profound richness” of the dream texts and praised commentary and afterword as a “compendium of knowledge” about Schnitzler’s world. ORF TV (Austrian National Television) presented a feature on the book in the evening news on May 6, and Austrian Public Radio included a review a month earlier in “Ex libris,” a weekly program discussing new books. Deutschlandfunk, Deutschland Radio and Westdeutscher Rundfunk, three of Germany’s most prominent public radio stations, broadcast extensive reviews; Deutschlandfunk also named Träume “Book of the Week” on May 15 (Schnitzler’s birthday).

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a full-page excerpt from the book in its Sunday edition in February and followed up with a positive review and the designation as one of five “Books of the Week” on May 15. The reviewer for the prestigious Arts pages of the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich) called Träume “the most fascinating new book of the season,” and Die Welt (Berlin) published a two-page spread that combined a review with lengthy excerpts. Austrian Public Radio has just named the book to its May “Bestenliste,” the 10 best books of the month. Sales have been brisk, and a second printing is due out in mid-June.

Lana ’12, Spates ’12 Receive Baden-Württemberg Award to Study in Germany

Lana Lana ’12 and Jessica Spates ’12 received a Baden-Württemberg–Connecticut Exchange Grant for a one-year study in Germany.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange Program offers students an opportunity to earn college credits in one of Germany’s top nine universities. Students spend the academic year at the university they choose.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange originated from a legislative partnership formed between the State of Connecticut and the German state of Baden-Württemberg in 1989. The agreement invites all students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in Connecticut to study at any institution of higher learning in Baden-Württemberg. With nine universities from which to choose and a large number of Fachhochschulen (advanced technical colleges) and Kunsthochschulen (art colleges), students of all disciplines can be accommodated.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange is a reciprocal exchange program. This means that Connecticut students prepay their usual tuition and then trade places with a German student from the Exchange, who has paid their German tuition.

Friedman ’11, Olsen ’11, Steidl ’11 Receive Exchange Grants

Jesse Friedman ’11, Anya Olsen ’11 and Catherine Steidl ’11 received a Baden-Württemberg–Connecticut Exchange Grant for one year’s study in Germany.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange Program offers students an opportunity to earn college credits in one of Germany’s top nine universities. Students spend the academic year at the university they choose.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange originated from a legislative partnership formed between the State of Connecticut and the German state of Baden-Württemberg in 1989. The agreement invites all students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in Connecticut to study at any institution of higher learning in Baden-Württemberg. With nine universities from which to choose and a large number of Fachhochschulen and Kunsthochschulen, students of all disciplines can be accommodated.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange is a reciprocal exchange program. This means that Connecticut students prepay their usual tuition and then trade places with a German student from the Exchange, who has paid their German tuition.

5 Questions With . . . Krishna Winston on Art of Translation

Günter Grass, pictured in center, autographs a tin drum for Krishna Winston at the Grass House in Lübeck, Germany. Grass’ wife, Ute, looks on. The Tin Drum is Grass’ most famous novel. (Photo by Hongjun Cai)

This issue, we ask “5 Questions” of Krishna Winston, Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, dean of arts and humanities, on the art of literary translation. Winston has been the principal English-language translator for the works of the Nobel Prize-winning German author Günter Grass since 1990. Here Winston talks about the art of translation and working with a giant of 20th-century literature.

Q: How did you come to be the English-language translator of Günter Grass’s books?

A: I should explain that from 1960 until his death in 1992, the distinguished literary translator Ralph Manheim was responsible for translating almost everything Grass published, starting with The Tin Drum, which established Grass as the most provocative and brilliant writer to emerge from postwar Germany. After the Berlin Wall came down, because Manheim was in failing health, Grass’s American editor, Helen Wolff, asked my Wesleyan colleague Arthur S. Wensinger and me to do a collection of essays by Grass.

It was a rush job, because the book had to appear in time for the official unification of the two Germanys on October 3, 1990. Wolff had worked for many years with my parents, well-known literary translators, and I had translated a book on Joseph Goebbels that she published.

Critical Theory Addressed at Humanities Symposium

The Center for the Humanities and the Theory Initiative Sponsored a symposium titled "Adorno and America" Dec. 4 in Russell House. Many of the major works of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory were written in the United States during the World War II. Critical theory’s dislocation from its European origins is significant not only historically but also philosophically: the exiled intellectuals were convinced that an effective theory of culture and society could be realized only in America, where capitalism had reached its most advanced state. The symposium reflected on how the American experience of the Frankfurt School’s most prominent representative, Theodor Adorno, informed the evolution of critical theory.

The Center for the Humanities and the Theory Initiative, a faculty group that is currently seeking to add a "Certificate in Theory" to Wesleyan’s curriculum, hosted a symposium titled "Adorno and America" on Dec. 4 in Russell House. The speakers discussed how the American experience of the Frankfurt School’s most prominent representative, Theodor Adorno, informed the evolution of critical theory. Adorno, a prolific philosopher, sociologist, critical essayist, and musicologist, lived in New York and Los Angeles during the late 1930s and the 1940s. It was during his time in America that he wrote many of his major works of lasting importance, such as Minima Moralia, Dialectic of Enlightenment, and The Philosophy of New Music. Adorno shared with his fellow exiles—among them Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Max Horkheimer, and Thomas Mann—the conviction that an effective theory of culture and society could be realized only in America, where capitalism had reached its most advanced state.

Ulrich Plass, assistant professor of German studies, introduced the symposium's topics and guest speakers. These included Joshua Rayman of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); Matt Waggoner of Albertus Magnus College; Ryan Drake of Fairfield University; and David Jenemann of the University of Vermont.

Ulrich Plass, assistant professor of German studies, introduced the symposium's topics and guest speakers. These included Joshua Rayman of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); Matt Waggoner of Albertus Magnus College; Ryan Drake of Fairfield University; and David Jenemann of the University of Vermont. Extended versions of the papers presented will be published in issue 149 of the journal Telos, guest-edited by Plass and Rayman.

At left, Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, chair of the College of Letters, and Arne Hoecker, visiting assistant professor of German studies, listen to Plass's introduction.

At left, Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, chair of the College of Letters, and Arne Hoecker, visiting assistant professor of German studies, listen to Plass's introduction.

Joshua Rayman spoke on "Adorno’s American Reception," during the symposium. Rayman is a professor for SCAD's eLearning Program.

Joshua Rayman spoke on "Adorno’s American Reception," during the symposium. Rayman is a professor for SCAD's eLearning Program.

Joshua Rayman, Ryan Drake and Sara Brill from Fairfield University, enjoy the symposium. (Photos by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Joshua Rayman, Ryan Drake and Sara Brill from Fairfield University, enjoy the symposium. (Photos by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Winston Translates German Book on Don Juan

Book translated by Krishna Winston.

Book translated by Krishna Winston.

Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, dean of the Arts and Humanities and coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, translated the new book, Don Juan: His Own Version, written by Peter Handke.

The 128-paged book is published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  It will be released in February.

Lensing Edits Book on Viennese Writer Peter Altenberg

Book edited by Leo Lensing.

Book edited by Leo Lensing.

Leo Lensing, chair and professor of German studies, professor of film studies, is the editor of the book, Peter Altenberg: The Self-Invention of a Poet. Letters and Documents 1892-1896, published by the Wallstein Verlag (Goettingen) in Germany.

The 210-page book, published in September, documents the beginning of the literary career of the Viennese writer Peter Altenberg (1859-1919).

The book received positive reviews in a Sept. 28 issue of The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, whose arts pages are the most prestigious in the German-speaking world.

Winston Translates Günter Grass Novel

Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, dean of the Arts and Humanities and coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, participated in a meeting with Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass Jan. 18-24 in Luebeck, Germany. She is the English-language translator for Grass’s work and one of 16 people working on translations of his new, semi-autobiographical novel, The Box, for publication worldwide.

Plass Leads Discussion on Franz Kafka

Ulrich Plass, assistant professor of German, presented a talk titled "Franz Kafka and the State of Exception" Nov. 17 in Russell House. In this lecture, Plass examined the topological structure of Kafka's parables against the backdrop of philosophical interpretations that seek to illuminate the hidden political significance of his stories. Many of Kafka's stories address problems of law, justice and violence.

Ulrich Plass, assistant professor of German, presented a talk titled "Franz Kafka and the State of Exception" Nov. 17 in Russell House. In this lecture, Plass examined the topological structure of Kafka's parables against the backdrop of philosophical interpretations that seek to illuminate the hidden political significance of his stories. Many of Kafka's stories address problems of law, justice and violence.