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LIBRARY (RE-)OPENING | RICK MOODY & DALE PECK DISCUSS THOMAS BERNHARD
TUESDAY, APR 12 2011, 06:30 PM
In celebration of the new membership program of our library author Rick Moody and author and critic Dale Peck, both based in New York, will come to blows over iconic Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard in a discussion of his latest English-language release, My Prizes: An Accounting. The English volume’s translator and senior vice president at Knopf, Carol Brown Janeway will join the conversation. Award-winning author Daniel Kehlmann will also be on hand to read excerpts from My Prizes.
Writer, translator, and Columbia University scholar Susan Bernofsky will moderate the event.
My Prizes: An Accounting includes Bernhard’s State Prize acceptance speech, which famously caused an offended Austrian Minister of Art, Culture and Education to walk out of the room. Quite obviously, not everyone can take belligerent methods in stride. In an interview, Bernhard once blamed people’s lack of humor for their antagonistic attitudes toward him: “I have always provided plenty of material to make you laugh. [My writing] is all laugh-out-loud funny, really. But I don’t know: don’t people have a sense of humor? I don’t know. It’s always made me laugh, still makes me laugh today. Whenever I’m bored, or it’s a tragic period in my life, I open a book of mine, that’s the thing that’s most likely going to make me laugh.” In the same vein, Rick Moody and Dale Peck may duel with words, but that does not mean it will not be funny. Conversely, it also does not mean they are not serious.
To contextualize the cut-and-thrust arguments of these two literary greats, Carol Brown Janeway will be on hand to discuss the book she translated. Along with My Prizes, Janeway also translated Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, upon which the eponymous Academy Award-winning movie is based, as well as Daniel Kehlmann’s popular Me and Kaminski and Measuring the World.
Daniel Kehlmann will also be lending his support at this event: the acclaimed German-Austrian author's book Die Vermessung der Welt (translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway as Measuring the World, 2006) has become one of the most successful novels in the German language since 1945. In its praise of the book, the New York Times called Kehlmann a "very smart, deft artist."
Moderator of the event will be Susan Bernofsky. Renowned translator of works by Robert Walser and Hermann Hesse and co-curator of the Festival Neue Literatur, Bernofsky takes particular interest in the influence of eighteenth and nineteenth century German thought as well as modern and contemporary literature in the German-speaking world and beyond. Readings, engaging discussions with the audience, and arguments just shy of physical altercations will show that literature is alive and well, and that libraries such as the one at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York are places where ideas are exchanged and attitudes are negotiated.
Now a lending library, the ACFNY Library offers free membership, which gives patrons access to more than 11,000 volumes in German and English, with a focus on contemporary and classic Austrian literature, including a wide range of literature in translation, as well as contemporary Austrian art and art history, and Austrian history and politics. One of the largest collections of Austriaca in the United States, the ACFNY Library subscribes to a number of Austrian periodicals, magazines, and journals. Additionally, it offers a wide selection of audio-visual media, and nationwide long-distance loans are available upon request. For more information please visit www.acfny.org/library