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Research events 2009-10

Europe East and West: film, history and mourning

Poster for 'The General'

King's is hosting a new seminar series on 'Europe East and West: film, history and mourning'.

The twenty first century began as a time of mourning. All parts of Europe have had their share in the process. This seminar pursues the idea that European film is the cultural genre that performs the work of mourning in exchange with other genres and cultures. There is a circulation of memory across Europe, and the cinema plays a unique role in the process.

The seminar focuses on the relationship between contemporary cinema and war, repression, genocide, and other traumatic events in Eastern and Western Europe. It seeks to explore the unique shapes that the cinema gives to the experiences of loss, victimhood, hope, and reconciliation. We will discuss contemporary West and East European films in the wider theoretical framework of memory, mourning, forgetting, and forgiving.

The topic of the first seminar is the controversial death of General Sikorski, the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish forces, in 1941:

  • 11 May 2010: screening of The General: The Gibraltar Assassination Dir. Anna Jadowska, Poland, 2009.

    Gibraltar, 4 June 1943: General Sikorski, the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish forces, is killed when his plane crashes into the sea several seconds after taking off. He had been a guest of the British Governor. Despite the suspicious circumstances surrounding the crash, and an inability to determine its cause, the investigating British forces resolutely declare it an accident.

    The film is based on the work of historian Dariusz Baliszewski, who has spent the past fifteen years collecting archival documents and questioning key witnesses. His conclusion: Sikorski had become a threat to the Soviet-British alliance. Sikorski refused to accept Stalin’s denial that he had massacred thousands of Polish officers in Katyn in 1940, and may have possessed documents that would have damaged Britain's reputation. There was no 'accident' in Gibraltar: the plane was loaded with bodies already killed at the palace by hostile Polish agents.

    This innovative and startling film reconstructs how the last days of Sikorski’s life would have looked like if Baliszewski’s theories are correct.

  • 18 May 2010: Dr. Matilda Mroz (Dept. of Slavonic Studies) ‘Restless bodies, buried texts: Sikorski, The General, and the archive’

All films will be presented with English-language subtitles. Screenings and seminars will start at 5pm in Keynes Hall, King’s College. King's Fellow Dr. Alexander Etkind is sponsoring the seminars. For more information contact Dr. Matilda Mroz (mm570 [at] cam [dot] ac [dot] uk).

Stanley Corngold Seminars

Stanley Corngold

King’s College is delighted to welcome Professor Stanley Corngold of Princeton University as a Visiting Fellow for the Michaelmas Term 2009. Prof. Corngold is one of today’s most distinguished and creative scholars of German literature, and in particular the writings of Franz Kafka.

He has been Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Princeton since 1981 and is the author of several books, including The Fate of the Self: German Writers and French Theory, 2nd edn (1994), Complex Pleasure: Forms of Feeling in German Literature (1998), and Lambent Traces: Franz Kafka (2004). He has also translated The Metamorphosis (1996) and Kafka’s Selected Stories (2007) for Norton Critical Editions, and has most recently co-edited Franz Kafka: The Office Writings (2009).

While at King’s, Stanley Corngold will participate in four discussions of his work over the last thirty years, specifically as it has intersected with central issues in the evolution of literary studies: the role of translation in comparative literature, the fate of deconstruction, the status of aesthetic pleasure, and the interaction between literary writing and its cultural contexts.

Each meeting will be focused around selected writings by Professor Corngold, and his sustained engagement with interlocutors like Kafka, de Man, and Kant will connect all four of these fortnightly seminars. The meetings will be held on Wednesdays at 5pm in the Wine Room at King’s College. Those wishing to attend should contact Stefan Uhlig at sh136 [at] cam [dot] ac [dot] uk. All reading materials will be circulated electronically.

The perils of translation

7 October 2009

  • ‘Comparative Literature: The Delay in Translation’, in Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation, ed. Sandra Bermann and Michael Wood (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 139-45
  • ‘On Translation Mistakes, with Special Attention to Kafka in Amerika’, in Lambent Traces: Franz Kafka (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 176-93
  • Review of Anne Carson, Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul Celan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), Modernism/Modernity, 7 (2000), 322-24
  • ‘Prologue: False Sail’, in Anne Carson, Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul Celan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 3-9

Paul de Man

21 October 2009

  • ‘Error in Paul de Man’, Critical Inquiry, 8 (1982), 489-507
  • ‘Remembering Paul de Man: An Epoch in the History of Comparative Literature’, Building a Profession: Autobiographical Perspectives on the Beginnings of Comparative Literature in the United States, ed. Lionel Gossman and Mihai Spariosu (Albany: State University Press of New York, 1994), 177-192
  • Paul de Man, ‘Excuses (Confessions)’, in Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 278-301
  • Paul de Man, ‘A Letter from Paul de Man’, Critical Inquiry, 8 (1982), 509-13

Aesthetic pleasure

28 October 2009

  • ‘Introduction’, in Complex Pleasure: Forms of Feeling in German Literature (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 1-21
  • ‘What is Radical in Kant’s Critique of Judgment?’, in Complex Pleasure: Forms of Feeling in German Literature (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 48-58
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment, ed. Paul Guyer, trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 102-4 [§9. Investigation of the question: whether in the judgment of taste the feeling of pleasure precedes the judging of the object or the latter precedes the former.]

Cultural Studies

18 November 2009

  • ‘The Trouble with Cultural Studies’, in Lambent Traces: Franz Kafka (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 194-203
  • ‘Kafka and the Ministry of Writing’, in Franz Kafka: The Office Writings, ed. Stanley Corngold, Jack Greenberg, and Benno Wagner, trans. Eric Patton with Ruth Hein (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), 1-18
  • Franz Kafka, ‘Workmen’s Insurance and Employers: Two Articles in the Tetschen-Bodenbacher Zeitung (1911)’, in Franz Kafka: The Office Writings, ed. Stanley Corngold, Jack Greenberg, and Benno Wagner, trans. Eric Patton with Ruth Hein (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), 145-69

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