Write your own legend (II): Elfriede Jelinek at work

I couldn’t repress to parallelize this blogpost with the former one, be it only for the irony of it. As a matter of fact, it really sounds at first like a contradiction in terms to compare the strategies of a tycoon who reigned over literary destinies and their wallet for centuries and those of a literature Nobel prize known for her will to sever ties with capitalism. But the presentations I attended yesterday have made the parallels between both models more blatant than I ever figured they could be. Continue reading “Write your own legend (II): Elfriede Jelinek at work”

Write your own legend: Siegfried Unseld at work

Today, I had the pleasure to host a guest lecture by Anna Kinder in my class. She has been coordinating the Suhrkamp-Forschungskolleg for several years. No one could better than her give an overview of the development of Suhrkamp (a major publishing house when it comes to literary texts), as well as of the relationships of its director with well-knonw post-WW2 writers. I took a particular pleasure in seeing all the little pieces of the puzzle I have been putting together tediously for the late 18th to early 20th century since the beginning of this term come to achieve such a complete picture. The completeness of the corpus is, as Anna Kinder pointed out herself, a wonder one cannot stop to consider with awe. Continue reading “Write your own legend: Siegfried Unseld at work”

There is no such thing as “uncensored”

This week, my class will deal with (among various other things) censorship in German literature by the middle of the 19th century. I have been working with the concept of censorship for a long time now It turns out to be an enriching (and refreshing) experience to put it in a more historical perspective in the way that I have to for my class, after having implemented a more textual concept of censorship in the context of the project “Berlin intellectuals” in the five last years. Continue reading “There is no such thing as “uncensored””

Writing elsewhere

Just as I’d hoped, I am spending a considerable amount of time reading. I knew this would prevent me from blogging for the time being. I am sure, though, that in the middle/long run, it will open up new perspectives for this blog. It seems that every day that passes makes me want to do nothing else but keep reading – forever. This won’t happen though. But I keep hoping for it. Continue reading “Writing elsewhere”

Of writers and their publishers

As I mentioned in my last post, I am giving a class on writers and their publishers from the late 18th century until today. I will round up the chapter on the late 18th century tomorrow and then move to the first half of the 19th century: birth of the author, first copyright in Germany, and a more in-depth analysis of the work relationships between Goethe and Cotta. Further sessions will be devoted to the work of publishers like Samuel Fischer, Ernst Rowohlt, Siegfried Unseld  and their influence on the work of major authors. Further evolutions in copyright in the 19th and 20th century will also be presented. In the last sessions, I intend to go into digital formats and explore the current relationships between authors and their publishers in the age of copyleft and blogs. Continue reading “Of writers and their publishers”