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A Conversation on the Significance of Classical Literature.

The literary scene thrives on readings and discussions with interesting personalities that should be as media-friendly as possible. It is much harder to find readers and publishers for deceased authors. Even more challenging is persuading young readers to enjoy old classical works that were included in the school curriculum too quickly, requiring them to read and interpret them without context. A good example of such a classical work is Ivan Cankar (1876-1918) and his short story A Cup of Coffee, which probably still discourages students from reading Cankar's works. The recognition of this story, which is still highly regarded, has led many a translator and mediator of Slovenian literature to primarily see Cankar, this great author of European modernism, as the author of touching, sentimentally intimate stories about the suffering Slovenian mother. As a result, entire periods of Slovenian literature, such as the interwar period, have been overlooked, even though familiarity with this period would provide essential historical context for understanding Slovenian literature for German-speaking readers. Through two recently published publications - the collection of works by Slavko Grum: Werke and the anthology of Slovenian short prose from the interwar period Die Raupe - Johannes Heyn Publishing House from Klagenfurt has taken on the challenge of filling this gap. However, there are also living classics, such as Florjian Lipuš, whose novel Verweigerung der Wehmut has just been published by Suhrkamp Publishing. Why do we still need classical works today, how are classic titles promoted and sold abroad, what classical works mean today, and who still reads them will be discussed by Jan Dornemann, the legal representative of Suhrkamp Publishing, Erwin Köstler, the translator and editor, and Amalija Maček, the translator. The conversation will be held in German.

Interview | Conversation


Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1
60327 Frankfurt am Main

Ehrengast 2023: Slowenien
Free access


Erwin Köstler


Jan Dornemann


© Jernej Čampelj

Amalija Macek