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Writing History, Writing Biography: Capturing H.G. Adler's Many Worlds

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 5:00pm

KG42 Klarman Hall

Lecture by Peter Filkins, Richard B. Fisher Professor of Literature at Bard College; Co-sponsored by the Department of German Studies, the Jewish Studies Program, and the Institute for German Cultural Studies

H.G. Adler (1910 - 1988) lived at the center of his times and on their margin. A survivor of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and two other concentration camps, he chronicled his experience and the loss of others in two dozen books of seminal history, modernist fiction, formally intricate poems, and insightful essays. Yet despite close friendship with Leo Baeck, Elias Canetti, and Heinrich Böll, he remained  a writer's writer, largely unknown and neglected. Unlike with better known figures, the story of his life must be told through the times in which he lived, as well as how his times lived through him. On the publication of H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds, biographer and translator Peter Filkins discusses the intersection of biography and history in shaping the story of Adler's life and work.

Peter Filkins is an award-winning poet and translator. His authorized biography H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds appears in 2019 from Oxford University Press, and he has translated three novels by H.G. Adler, Panorama, The Journey, and The Wall, as well as the collected poems of Ingeborg Bachmann, Darkness Spoken. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leon Levy Center for Biography, the DAAD, and the American Academy in Berlin, he is the Richard B. Fisher Professor of Literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and also teaches translation at Bard College.

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German Studies, Institute for German Cultural Studies, Jewish Studies Program


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