Deutsches Haus at NYU and the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU present a reading by Damion Searls of his new translation of Alfred Döblin’s Bright Magic: Stories, and a conversation between the translator and Eric Banks, Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities.
Alfred Döblin was a titan of modern German literature. This collection of stories — astonishingly, the first collection of his stories ever published in English — shows him to have been equally adept in shorter forms. Included in its entirety is Döblin’s first book, The Murder of a Buttercup, a work of savage brilliance and a landmark of literary expressionism. Mortality roams the streets of nineteenth-century Manhattan, with a white borzoi and a quiet smile. A ballerina duels to the death with the body she is bound to. We experience, in the celebrated title story, a dizzying descent into a shattered mind. The collection is then rounded off with two longer stories written when Döblin was in exile from Nazi Germany in Southern California, including the delightful Materialism: A Fable, in which news of humanity’s soulless doctrines spreads to the animals, elements, and molecules of nature.
"Without the futurist elements of Döblin’s work from Wang Lun to Berlin Alexanderplatz, my prose is inconceivable...He’ll discomfort you, give you bad dreams. If you’re satisfied with yourself, beware of Döblin."
Damion Searls has translated some twenty-five books, by writers including Proust, Rilke, Jelinek, Walser, Christa Wolf, Hermann Hesse, Modiano, and Jon Fosse. He is also the author of a book of short stories and The Inkblots, a forthcoming history of the Rorschach test and biography of its creator, Hermann Rorschach.
Eric Banks is the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. Formerly a senior editor of Artforum and editor in chief of Bookforum, Banks has contributed to a range of publications, including the New York Times Book Review, the Financial Times, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Aperture, and theChronicle of Higher Education. He has also served as an editorial consultant on numerous visual arts catalogues and collections of artists writings, including the catalogue raisonne of Ellsworth Kelly.
Alfred Döblin’s Bright Magic: Stories will be published by New York Review of Books in October 2016. Copies of Bright Magic: Stories will be sold at the event by Greenlight Bookstore.
Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. If you would like to attend this event, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space at Deutsches Haus is limited; please arrive ten minutes prior to the event. Thank you!
"Bright Magic: Stories." An Evening with Damion Searls and Eric Banks is a DAAD-sponsored event.