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Writing History, Writing Biography: Capturing H.G. Adler’s Many World’s

Peter Filkins | Bard College
Wednesday, April 24 | 4:00pm | Harris Hall 108

H.G. Adler

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 friendships with Leo Baeck, Elias Canetti, and Heinrich Böll, he remained a writer’s writer, largely unknown and neglected. Thus, unlike with better known figures, the story of his life must be told through the times in which he lived, as well as how the same 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, the Richard B. Fisher Professor of Literature and the Division Head of Languages and Literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, is an award-winning poet and translator, as well as the author of the recently published biography on H.G. Adler: H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds (Oxford UP, 2019).

This lecture is presented by the German Department, and co-sponsored by the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, the Comparative Literary Studies Program, the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies, the Weinberg College Office of the Dean, and the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University.

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