"Translating the Modern Novel: Walter Kempowski's Tadellöser & Wolff/An Ordinary Youth" (1971/2023)
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Alpern Conference Room, (LN 2200)
Michael Lipkin's masterful new translation of a major novel of German literature, Walter Kempowski's 1971 Tadellöser & Wolff (translated as An Ordinary Youth) brings an important work of German literary cultural history to Anglophone readers for the first time. Published last year by New York Review of Books Classics, Lipkin's translation has met with critical acclaim. In this presentation, Professor Lipkin will discuss the translation project and process and reflect on the reception, dissemination and reverberation of Kempowski's work for German cultures of memory and of forgetting.
Michael Lipkin received his B.A. in German and Comparative Literature from Binghamton University and his Ph.D in German from Columbia University. A literary scholar focusing on the longue durée of realism in the German-speaking world, Lipkin's profile is remarkable also for his writing about German literature for a general audience. His articles have appeared in New Left Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, and The Paris Review. His scholarly projects include Too Wide a Field: Realism as Learning Process, an examination of realism as a tool of social formation. In addition to the translation that will be the focus of this presentation, Lipkin's recent publications include an essay (in German) on the author Günter Wallraff that appeared in Merkur, one of the most important culture journals in the Germanophone world.
This event is open to all members of the Binghamton University Community and is made possible by the generous support of the Department of German and Russian Studies, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Translation Research, and Instruction Program (TRIP) and the Harpur College Dean's Office.
For more information, please contact Neil Christian Pages, email@example.com
Reflecting on the Challenges of Conservation:
Working at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum
Dr. Sarah Snyder
Auschwitz-Birkenau is a site that evokes particular images for those who have learned about the Holocaust. For Dr Snyder, it brings back memories of working through the conservation department to preserve history in a complex setting where the past remains alive. In this talk, Dr. Snyder explores the issues that emerge from this: How does a Polish state-led museum grapple with the memory of the Holocaust, all while maintaining positive international relations? How should the museum relate to the surrounding town? How was the materiality of Soviet memory erased? How should historians and preservationists address the dichotomous framing of victim and hero in Polish and in Soviet history?
Dr. Sarah Snyder is a scholar-practitioner who has worked extensively on issues of public memory, testimony, and intergenerational trauma. Her research focuses on the perceptions of time in relation to survivorship and intergenerational survivorship, as well as transitions of memory through time and space. Snyder is an instructor at Binghamton University, as well as a consultant for Collaborative Social Change. Her current projects include developing curricula on the Bosnian Genocide, and editing her book The Continual Trauma of Survivorship: The Historical Complexities of Time Constructs in Relation to Holocaust Diaries, Memoirs, and Testimonies.
PROJECT LAUNCH & SYMPOSIUM: Max Reinhardt’s Regiebuch/Promptbook for Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen – Digitalization, Presentation and Transcription with Translation, Commentary and Context: A Trans-Atlantic Collaboration
SYMPOSIUM: Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 1:00 p.m, — 5:00 p.m. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, Binghamton University Library, 2nd floor (with launch reception immediately following in the Alpern Conference Room, Library Tower Room 2022)
The symposium will present and launch a digitization collaboration between: Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections; Max Reinhardt Archives and Library; Department of German and Russian Studies, Binghamton University; Arthur Schnitzler Archive, University of Freiburg
Max Reinhardt’s promptbook/Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen
In winter 1896-1897 Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931) set to work on the ten dialogues he would eventually gather under the title Reigen (known in English as La Ronde). He knew even then that the play had scandalous potential. Not only was it “utterly unpublishable” — „vollkommen undruckbar,“ as he noted — it was also absolutely impossible to stage in practical terms. In a letter to the theatre director Otto Brahm, he wrote, “An unstageable play like this one has not yet been written.” From its very conception and inception, then, Schnitzler’s play was surrounded by the allure of the forbidden and the indecent, a fact that only served to increase the attention it received from the public. In 1900 Schnitzler had a small number of copies of the play printed; they were circulated among his friends and close colleagues. In 1903 Reigen finally hit the bookstores, where it became — despite all sorts of bans and confiscations — Schnitzler’s greatest financial success.
Nonetheless, Schnitzler resisted requests from Austrian and German theaters for permission to produce the play. It was only after the First World War, at a time when moral proprieties had loosened somewhat, that Schnitzler’s stance began to change. The ultimate reason for Schnitzler’s reconsideration of an actual production of the play, however, likely had to do with the consistent cajoling on the part of the most important director of the period, Max Reinhardt (1873–1943): “The staging of your work is not only opportune in an artistic sense; it is absolutely necessary” (Reinhardt to Schnitzler, April 19, 1919). Schnitzler was apparently convinced. He approved the staging of the play for the theatre in 1920 and Reinhardt immediately got to work, sketching out his ideas for the first scenes of the production in his own copy of Reigen, published by the Harz-Verlag (Berlin and Vienna, 1919). This is the promptbook that is part of the collection of The Max Reinhardt Archives and Library at Binghamton University (PT2635.E548P75 v.105).
Reigen had its premiere at the Kleines Schauspielhaus in Berlin on December 23, 1920. By that time, Reinhardt’s many obligations meant that he left the final production to a colleague. Nonetheless, it is Reinhardt’s concept for the staging of Reigen that determined how this first production was staged. We know that for a fact due to the actual scandals that this highly controversial play generated. Indeed, the testimony from the infamous Berlin “Reigen Trials” of 1921 describes the production in great detail. The theatre and the actors had been charged with obscenity and offending public decency, and although they were eventually acquitted, the performances of the play had to take place under police protection. The public had eagerly followed the course of the trials in the media and all eyes were on Schnitzler and his play. The attacks and protests that continued to take place during Reigen performances became increasingly more violent, feeding into anti-semitic campaigns against Schnitzler himself. Shocked and resigned, Schnitzler took action. In 1922 he forbid any further production of the play. The ban lasted some sixty years — until 1982.
Max Reinhardt’s promptbook for Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen is a remarkable document. It reveals the thinking process of a director who was grappling with the question as to how to stage a play that was so hotly debated and embroiled in scandal. Reinhardt’s reflections on Reigen are also very much of their time and place — Berlin in the 1920s. This is a document that reflects its time and the contestations that were part of Weimar culture. It reveals not only the way in which Reinhardt envisioned the theatre; the promptbook gives us a view into the director’s strategies for dealing with sexuality and eroticism with and against the context of societal taboos.
This international collaborative project engages and scrutinizes the promptbook in contextual and methodological terms. It explores this treasure from the Binghamton University Libraries.