12 January 2022

More topical than ever: Franz Fühmann on the 100th anniversary of his birth
Event at the Akademie der Künste
Welcome address by Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth

Tuesday, 18 January, Pariser Platz

In our politically polarised times, Franz Fühmann’s work seems more topical than ever. In the middle of this month, the writer whose life maps the disasters and ideological upheavals of the 20th century would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

As a youth, Fühmann joined the SA as a staunch fascist, volunteered for war service in 1939, became a fervent socialist for the dawning of new humanity at a “school of anti-fascism” during Soviet internment, only to realise that he had merely exchanged one black-and-white ideology for a different binary view of the world and that true maturity required more painful processes of reflection.

A central issue at the event on 18 January will be how thinking about the multivalence of poetic language and about myth as a unifying parable for human experience helped Fühmann on this path to an alternative way of thinking.

The welcome address by Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture, will be followed by a discussion between Isabel Fargo Cole and Ingo Schulze. Both have contributed articles on Franz Fühmann to the current issue of the Akademie’s journal Sinn und Form (1/2022). While Schulze’s essay is a broad, personal exploration of the work and the person – for him, Fühmann is a central figure both because of his disturbingly honest texts and because of his quietly critical stance towards the regime – Cole explores Fühmann’s poetics in her text.

The Akademie der Künste is home to the extensive Franz Fühmann Archive. Amounting to approximately 70,000 sheets, it documents Fühmann’s oeuvre as a writer, essayist, poet and author of children’s books. Gabriele Radecke, director of the Literature Archive of the Akademie der Künste, will give a brief keynote lecture on this.

Event details
Franz Fühmann or literature as an antidote to dogmatic thinking
Tuesday, 18 January 2022, 7 pm
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin
Reading and discussion with Isabel Fargo Cole, Ingo Schulze and Gabriele Radecke
Welcome address: Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth
Chair: Elisa Primavera-Lévy, editor of Sinn und Form
Admission € 6/4
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