Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not a Film Post (But an Amazing Facsimile)

Just want to pull your coat to a series of events taking place in New York City (yeah, I know, I'm too parochial by half, but that just happens to be where this program is set), an annual event celebrating New Literature from Europe. As regular readers of this blog know, one of my hobbyhorses is the dearth of literature in translation available in the US, Canada and the UK. (Sorry, I can't take on more of the globe than that.) This event, a series of panels, readings and other such literary doings, highlights the work of eight contemporary authors from the Old World. To quote the website:

In this year’s New Literature from Europe, eight cultural institutes have teamed up to present a series of discussions and readings featuring eight critically acclaimed European writers: Philippe Claudel (France), Kirmen Uribe (Spain), Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany), Gerhard Roth (Austria), Radka Denemarková (Czech Republic), Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Gabriela Adameşteanu (Romania), and Antonia Arslan (Italy). Moderators will include distinguished writer André Aciman, chair of Comparative Literature and director of the Writers' Institute at the CUNY Graduate Center and Susan Bernofsky, Guest Professor of Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College (CUNY).

Well worth your time and interest.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ah, the Joys of Free Wi-Fi

Here I am at the Hazleton (PA) Motor Lodge having given the first of two talks in a pair of synagogues in this town in the foothills of the Poconos. Tonight was about the insane diversity of the Jewish world and how it became so fragmented and complicated. I suspect those of you who are (still) reading this blog will have little interest in this subject, but tomorrow's talk, about Jewish aesthetics in the face of the seeming prohibition on graven images, might be more to your taste, particularly as I argue -- more than half-seriously -- that cinema is the Jewish art form par excellence. As I intimate in the talk, this is a notion that I have been playing with for a while, but would be reluctant to go to war over. I'll leave it for you readers to take up the cudgels right now. I'm going to sleep. I actually might get seven hours if I can fall asleep quickly.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Dead Quite Yet

No, I'm still around. In fact, tomorrow I leave for a weekend gig as a scholar-in-residence for two synagogues in the Poconos. And when I get back, I'll try and update this blog more regularly. After all, it's been nearly three years of posting, this one being the 320th, and it would be a shame to stop now. Right?