Astrid Erll: Odyssean Travels – A Literary History of Modern Memory

In cooperation with Goethe-Institut Niederlande and Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam

16nov2017 17:00 - 18:30


Odysseus is everywhere: in Goethe’s Werther and in James Joyce’s Ulysses, in popular travel literature, in Hollywood road movies, and in the way we speak about the current refugee crisis. How can we understand the longevity of such a powerful paradigm?

In this lecture author Astrid Erll will addres the longue durée of cultural memory and show how – ever since the archaic age – Homer’s Odyssey has been ‘travelling’ across time and space. The Odyssey is a prime example of the transculturality of memory, a text that crosses the divides drawn between ‘East and ‘West’ or between Europe and elsewhere. This lecture sets out on an ‘Odyssean journey’ through literary and cultural history in order to show how we can begin to understand the fundamental relationality of all cultural memory – and discuss what this relationality may mean in the present moment. This lecture emerges from a current project (an “Opus Magnum”) funded by Volkswagen Foundation. The project seeks to advance literary and historical memory studies. It focuses on translations, rewritings, and remediations of the Odyssey since the 18th century as well as on discussions of ‘Homer’ as cultural heritage in order to get a deeper sense of the logic of ‘modern memory’.

The lecture will be in English. 

About the speaker

Astrid Erll is Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main. She has worked on memories of the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, British colonialism in India and the Vietnam war. She is general editor of the book series Media and Cultural Memory (de Gruyter, since 2004), co-editor of A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies (with A. Nünning, 2010), Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (with A. Rigney, 2009), and author of Memory in Culture (Palgrave 2011)/ Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erinnerungskulturen (2005, 2nd ed. 2011), an introduction to memory studies. She is part of the editorial board of the journal Memory Studies(SAGE) and the book series Memory Studies (Palgrave).

About Amsterdam German Studies Lectures

De Amsterdam German Studies Lectures zijn gewijd aan actueel onderzoek naar de nieuwste geschiedenis van Duitsland en Europa. De initiatiefnemers nodigen enkele malen per jaar een gerenommeerde buitenlandse academicus uit, om zijn onderzoek in een openbare lezing aan een Nederlands publiek te presenteren.



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Location: SPUI25