Kafka, Prague, and the First World War

July 30, 2010

International symposium, St. John’s College, Oxford, 13-15 September 2010

Convenors: Carolin Duttlinger, Manfred Engel, Katrin Kohl, Ritchie Robertson

The First World War, often called the »Urkatastrophe« of the twentieth century, changed Kafka’s life, as it did everybody’s. The famous diary entry for 2 August 1914 – »Germany has declared war on Russia. Went swimming in the afternoon« – gives an impression of detachment which is entirely misleading, as this conference will aim to show.

We envisage the symposium as having three concentric circles: 1) the historical context, recreated with the help of historians of Central Europe; 2) the Prague literary circle and its contacts with Czech-language culture; 3) Kafka and his works, especially those produced in the Alchimistengässchen.



Programme of the conference: www.kafka-research.ox.ac.uk/activities/06kafka_Worldwar.php

(Papers will be given in English and German)

Conference venue: New Seminar Room, St. John’s College

Conference fee (for guests): £ 20 (reduced fee for students: £ 10)

Contact: anatole.oudaille-diethardt@sjc.ox.ac.uk

German Clubs and Societies

July 30, 2010

A friend drew my attention to this article in my local newspaper (http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/German-club-appeals-new-members/article-2460940-detail/article.html) about the declining numbers at the local German club. This set me wondering about how Germanists are engaging with and supporting local German clubs and societies (including giving talks to them) – it also made me wonder whether groups like these have a role to play in maintaining the profile of German language and culture in the UK and Ireland. Do any AGS members of blog readers have positive experiences to share?

Conference: Beyond Glitter and Doom

July 30, 2010

New Perspectives of the Weimar Republic

Declaration of the Republic, 9 November 1918

A conference at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London http://igrs.sas.ac.uk/contact/how-to-find-us.html

Co-Ordinators: Jochen Hung (IGRS, London), Katharine Tubb (University of Glasgow) and Godela Weiss-Sussex (IGRS, London)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

09.15 Registration

09.40 Welcome and Introduction

09.45 Keynote Lecture

David Midgley (Cambridge): Beyond the Clichés. On the Specificity of Weimar Culture

10.30 Keynote Lecture

Moritz Föllmer (Leeds): Which Crisis? Which Modernity? New Perspectives on Weimar Germany

11.15 Coffee

Challenging Crisis and Doom

11.45 Michael Dreyer (Jena): Hugo Preuß and Weimar as a ‘wehrhafte Demokratie’

12.15 Russell Spinney (Maryland): Re-thinking the Emotional Narratives of the Weimar Republic through Displays of Fearlessness

12.45 Jochen Hung (London): Questionning the Generational Concept in Weimar Research

13.15 Discussion

13.30 Lunch (own arrangements)

15.00 Keynote Lecture

Debbie Lewer (Glasgow): Art and the Cultural Politics of the ‘Medieval’ in the Weimar Republic

15.45 Tea


16.15 Anke Finger (Connecticut): Everyday Modernism: Sensing the Weimar Republic in Literature and other Arts

16.45 Nadine Rossol (Essex): Republican State Re-presentation and Public Performance Culture in Weimar Germany

17.15 Nicola Creighton (Belfast): Contingency: the Great Challenge of Weimar

17.45 Discussion

18.00 Break/Postgraduate Workshop

19.30 Conference dinner at the Amalfi Restaurant (three courses with choice and coffee; for further details please see registration form)

Friday, 1 October 2010

09.30 Keynote Lecture

Gustav Frank (Munich): Abseits der Republik? Nachexpressionistische Komplexität der Künste

10.15 Coffee

Parallel Session I: Gender

10.45 Aneka Meier (Pennsylvania): The Legendary New Woman of Weimar – Revisited

11.15 Jill Suzanne Smith (Maine): Prostitutes in the Weimar Republic: Moving beyond the Victim-Whore Dichotomy

11.45 Mihaela Petrescu (New York): Jazz, Gigolos, and ‘Eintänzer’: Dance and Masculinity during the Weimar Republic

12.15 Silke Helling (Hamburg) and Cornelia Baddack (Cologne): Geschlecht, Staat und Partizipation: Else Frobenius und Katharina von Kardoff-Oheimb

12.45 Discussion

II: Questioning ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’

10.45 Reinhard Zachau (Tennessee): Fallada’s Modernist Novel Characters in Wolf among Wolves, and Little Man, What Now?

11.15 Bernhard Heinrich (Schweinfurt): Falladas ‘kleine Frauen’: Lebensentwürfe in der Krise

11.45 Geoff Wilkes (Queensland): Behind the Glitter: the Critique of the Cultural Mass Market in Vicki Baum’s Menschen im Hotel

12.15 Discussion

III: Public Environment

10.45 Hansjakob Ziemer (Berlin): Listening to Society: Concert Hall Experiences as Social Practices in the 1920s

11.15 Michael Schwalb (Cologne): Begrenzt haltbar: die Kroll-Oper als republikanisches Laboratorium

11.45 Kerstin Barndt (Michigan): Present Futures. ‘Werkbund’ and Building Exhibitions in Weimar Germany

12.15 Mark Hobbs (Glasgow): Exploring Weimar Berlin’s History through its Geography

12.45 Discussion

13.05 Lunch (own arrangements)

IV: Visual Arts

14.30 James van Dyke (Missouri): Felixmüller’s Failure: Painting and Poverty

15.00 Elinor Beaven (Cambridge): The Art of Domesticity? Exploring Alternative Models of Artistic Practice through the Weimar ‘Künstlerpaar’

15.30 Katharine Tubb (Glasgow): The Garçonne, the Girl, and the Biedermeier Babe? Weimar Dress and the Ghosts of Fashions Past

16.00 Discussion

V: Politics and the Novel

14.30 Florian Krobb (Maynooth): Catholicism, ‘Conservative Revolution’ and the Fairy Tale: the Case of Wilhelm Matthiessen

15.00 Marion Löffler (Vienna): Was sagt das Publikum? Theoretische und literarische Beiträge zur politischen Kultur der Weimarer Republik

15.30 Nicholas Martin (Birmingham): Stranger than Fiction: Literary Transformations of War Experience in the Weimar Republic

16.00 Discussion

VI: Film

14.30 Brigitte Braun (Trier): Spiegelungen der eigenen Gegenwart im historischen Film der Weimarer Republik

15.00 Joel Westerdale (Massachusetts): The Canon of Early Weimar Cinema Reloaded

15.30 Matthias Uecker (Nottingham): ‘Das Leben […] So ist es und nicht anders’: Constructions of Normality in Menschen am Sonntag

16.00 Discussion

16.15 Break

16.20 Keynote Lecture

Anthony McElligott (Limerick): Rethinking the Weimar Republic as Paradigm: Authority/less and Authoritarianism

17.05 Closing Discussion

17.30 Wine

18.00 End of Conference

Further details and registration

Further information and registration forms are available at http://w01.igrscms.wf.ulcc.ac.uk/index.php?id=494. Please note the closing date for receipt of registrations is Friday, 17 September 2010.

Conference Fees

2 Days: £55.00 Standard Rate; £45.00 Reduced Rate; £30.00 Student Rate

1 Day: £30.00 Standard Rate; £25.00 Reduced Rate; £20.00 Student Rate

Dinner on Thursday, 30 September: £30.00

Reduced Rate: Fully paid-up Friends of Germanic Studies or paying members of the IGRS only; Student Rate: Students with proof of status only

A limited number of student bursaries of £100 each are available to be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you wish to apply, please register as usual and tick the appropriate box on the registration form. Please ensure proof of student status is enclosed with payment.

Registration form http://igrs.sas.ac.uk/fileadmin/documents/events/conference/WeimarConfRegistrationForm.pdf How to find us http://igrs.sas.ac.uk/contact/how-to-find-us.html – Where to stay http://igrs.sas.ac.uk/contact/accommodation.html – Conference website http://weimarperspectives.wordpress.com/

This conference is organised under the auspices of the University of Glasgow and the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London and sponsored by the Royal Historical Society and the German History Society

CFP – 48th National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies

July 29, 2010

48th National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies

Saturday, 30 October 2010

at Swansea University


The National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies is a biannual event organised in association with the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies at the University of London. Launched in 1987, it provides an informal and friendly forum for graduate students in all areas of German Studies to present and discuss their current research.

Offers of papers from graduate students working on any aspect of German Studies, including all periods of literature, the arts, social sciences, history, and linguistics are now invited for the 48th meeting, which will take place at Swansea University on Saturday, 30 October 2010. A general knowledge of German culture and language can be assumed, though not a specialized knowledge of individual topics.

Presentations, no longer than thirty minutes in length, should be targeted to the occasion and make use of appropriate media. Each paper is followed by a ten-minute period for questions and discussion.

If you would like to contribute, please send an abstract of not more than 500 words to the organisers, c/o Jane.Lewin jane.lewin@sas.ac.uk; . The abstract must be accompanied by the following information:

* Your name, postal address, telephone number, and email address

* The name of the institution at which you are registered

* The media required for your presentation (e.g. OHP, cd/cassette player; slide projector, data projector/laptop [PowerPoint], VHS player)

Offers of papers can also be made by downloading the form http://igrs.sas.ac.uk/fileadmin/documents/postgraduate/48thPGColloquiumCFPForm.pdf. The completed form should be sent to Jane Lewin, IGRS, University of London, Room ST 272 Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. The form may also be emailed to jane.lewin@sas.ac.uk.

Offers of papers must be received by Friday, 10 September 2010.

For general queries, please contact the organisers: Jochen Hung jochen.hung@sas.ac.uk (IGRS, University of London), Annja Neumann a.neumann@qmul.ac.uk (Queen Mary, University of London), Isabel Wagner i.wagner@qmul.ac.uk (Queen Mary, University of London), Marya Vrba maryavrba@hotmail.com (Swansea University) and Bianca Zaininger bianca.zaininger@sas.ac.uk (IGRS, University of London)

New Book – The Fortune Hunter: A German Prince in Regency England

July 29, 2010


A German Prince in Regency England 

Peter James Bowman 

The two decades after Waterloo marked the great age of foreign fortune hunters in England. Each year brought a new influx of impecunious Continental noblemen to the world’s richest country, and the more brides they carried off, the more alarmed societybecame. 

The most colourful of these men was Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871), remembered today as Germany’s finest landscape gardener. In the mid-1820s, however, his efforts to turn his estate into a magnificent park came close to bankrupting him. To save his legacy his wife Lucie devised an unusual plan: they would divorce so that Pückler could marry an heiress who would finance further landscaping and, after a decent interval, be cajoled into accepting Lucie’s continued residence. In September 1826, his marriage dissolved, Pückler set off for London. 

Drawing on the daily letters sent from England to his ex-wife and other manuscript sources in the Pückler Archive in Brandenburg, Peter James Bowman gives blow-byblow accounts of Pückler’s courtships with the daughters of a physician, an admiral, a Scottish baronet, an East India Company stockholder and a retail jeweller. The story is enriched with details of his social life among the resident diplomats, his gambling and money troubles, his love affairs with a French seamstress and a German opera singer, and the hours he spent with the capital’s prostitutes. 

Pückler is the most intelligent of the overseas visitors who noted their impressions of Regency England. His matrimonial quest brings him into contact with such luminaries as Walter Scott, George Canning, Princess Lieven, Nathan Mayer Rothschild, Beau Brummell and John Nash. The object of many rumours and caricatures, the prince sticks doggedly to his task for nearly two years. 

And just when it seems that he has failed, England fills his coffers in the most unexpected way, and in doing so launches him on a new career. 

In telling the story of Pückler’s adventures in the context of the trend for Anglo-European marriages based on the exchange of a title for money, The Fortune Hunter writes a new chapter in the history of England’s relationship with its Continental neighbours. 

Click here to download a flyer and get a 20% discount 


July 20, 2010

The Faction Theatre Company presents Schiller’s Intrigue/Love

A new version by Daniel Millar and Mark Leipacher

Southwark Playhouse, SE1 July 20th 2010 – August 7th 2010 Show starts: 7.30pm (3pm Sat mats)

Unable to conceal their desire for each other, Ferdinand and Louisa – a noble soldier and the daughter of a lowborn musician – are at odds with their entire society. An ambitious President is threatened, a powerful countess is rejected, a violinist is driven to a breakdown and the slick political operator, Worm, is hired to plot their separation. A potent mix of tragedy and comedy with echoes of both Romeo & Juliet and Tartuffe, Schiller’s early masterpiece is unleashed in this fresh and urgent new translation specially commissioned by the faction theatre co. to commemorate the 250th anniversary year of Schiller’s birth.

Book tickets at www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk or at www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk