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Copernicus Lecture. “Bruno Schulz’s Sanatorium: Reflections on the Uneasy Afterlife of National Literatures.”

Monday, February 10, 2014
12:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University

The work of Galician Polish-Jewish modernist prose writer and graphic artist Bruno Schulz (1892-1942) evinces a post-Imperial nostalgia and uneasy suspicion of national literatures that resonates with the present-day scholarly interest in post-national and transnational approaches to the study of culture. This talk will consider Schulz’s aesthetics of hybridity and evasion, exploring his work as an example of “writing in the Third Language.” A discussion of the early development of Bruno Schulz’s artistic career in the multilingual cultural context of Interwar Lwów/Lemberg offers an opportunity to consider the transformation of the field of Polish literary and cultural studies currently underway – characterized by a shifting focus from Polish culture as a nationally and philologically-based subfield within Slavic Studies, to its reframing as a dynamic, multilingual space of encounter, in which Galician-Jewish literature and culture play a key role.

Karen Underhill is assistant professor of Polish literature and Polish-Jewish studies in the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Bruno Schulz and Jewish Modernity” at the University of Chicago in June 2011. She is founder of Massolit Books & Cafe in Kraków, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago YIVO Society. Her recent publications include “Next Year in Drohobych: On the Uses of Jewish Absence” (East European Politics and Societies and Cultures, 2011); “Writing in the Third Language: Between Sacred and Profane in Gershom Scholem and Jacques Derrida,” in The Effect of Palimpsest, edited by Bozena Shallcross and Ryszard Nycz (2010); and “Ecstasy and Heresy: Martin Buber, Bruno Schulz and Jewish Modernity,” in (Un)masking Bruno Schulz (2009).

Sponsors: Copernicus Program in Polish Studies, Frankel Center for Judaic Studies

Karen Underhill, Assistant Professor of Polish Literature and Culture, University of Illinois at Chicago