Bard News & Events

Press Release

BARD COLLEGE PRESENTS EXILES ON EXILE Panel Will Feature Renowned Authors and Bard Faculty Members Chinua Achebe, Norman Manea, and Andre Aciman

Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Friday, February 16, Bard College will host a discussion exploring the impact of cultural, intellectual, and physical exile. The discussion, On Exile, will feature a panel of three Bard faculty members—the celebrated authors Chinua Achebe, Norman Manea and Andre Aciman—who have each been forced to face the challenges of living and writing outside their native countries. The event, which will be moderated by Bard College’s Asher B. Edelman Professor of English Robert Kelly, takes place at 7 p.m. in Olin Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart and the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard, is considered the father of the modern African novel and has written extensively about his native Nigeria. He was forced to leave there in 1990. Norman Manea, Author of On Clowns and Compulsory Happiness, is a Romanian émigré and concentration camp survivor who is now the Francis Flournoy Professor in European Studies and Culture and Writer in Residence at Bard. He left Romania in 1986 after facing thirty years of artistic repression and censorship in one of the former Soviet Bloc’s most tyrannical countries. Andre Aciman, who teaches French at Bard, is a Jew whose family was forced to leave Egypt in the early 1960s during a time of great anti-Western nationalism and anti-Semitism. His book, Out of Egypt, is a memoir of that experience and his yearning for his former homeland.

Many of the world’s foremost experts on cultural and intellectual exile will attend the discussion, which is part of a preparatory workshop for a 2002 conference at Bard that will focus on the emigration of German-speaking intellectuals to the United States and the United Kingdom during World War II. That conference, No Happy End: The German-Speaking Intellectual and Cultural Emigration to the U.K. and U.S., 1933-1945, will explore the complex intellectual and cultural effects of exile on the work and lives of intellectuals who were forced to flee Hitler’s Germany. It was during this time that Bard welcomed many distinguished émigrés from Europe. These scientists, artists, teachers, and writers included Stefan Hirsch, the precisionist painter; Felix Hirsch, the political editor of the Berliner Tageblatt; the violinist Emil Hauser, founder of the Budapest String Quartet; the labor economist Adolf Sturmthal; the psychologist Werner Wolff; and the philosopher Heinrich Bluecher, husband of the outspoken philosopher and political activist Hannah Arendt.

No Happy End will take place in August 2002 and coincide with the thirteenth annual Bard Music Festival, which focuses on the Austrian Composer Gustav Mahler. At the peak of his career conducting in Vienna in the late nineteenth century, Mahler, despite being baptized as a Catholic, resigned from the Vienna State Opera in the face of increasing criticism from an anti-Semitic press. He left Vienna for New York, where he spent the remaining years of his short life conducting first the Metropolitan Opera and later the New York Philharmonic. The widespread American reception of Mahler\'s music, however, had to await the arrival of Hitler\'s exiles.

For additional information on the February 16th panel or next year’s conference contact David Kettler, Scholar in Residence, Bard College, at 845-758-7294.

# # #

back to top

This event was last updated on 03-02-2001