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College of Liberal and Fine Arts


Austrian Author Franzobel Visits UTSA

August 30, 2019

Franzobel | Image Credit: Georg Buxhofer/Paul Zsolnay Verlag

Franzobel | Image Credit: Georg Buxhofer/Paul Zsolnay Verlag

In “Das Floss der Medusa” (Zsolnay, 2017), the Austrian writer, Franzobel, re-tells the true story of one of the greatest disasters in seafaring history. Wrapped in a breathtaking novel, this is a story of suffering, moral, and human surviving that is as topical today as it was in the 19th century.

In cooperation with several universities in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York presents a literary tour of the renowned and prolific Austrian author, offering an opportunity for talks and personal encounters with Franzobel, who is also undertaking research for his forthcoming historical novel.

On Wednesday, September 18 from 4-6pm in MH 3.01.28, Franzobel will facilitate a discussion (in English) about the current influx of migrants to Europe, the up-tick of right wing parties, and the parallels to his novel. He will also field questions from the audience in English and German.

Franzobel (*1967) is one of Austria‘s most popular and controversial writers. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize (1995), the Arthur Schnitzler Prize (2002) and the Nicolas Born Prize (2017). Zsolnay most recently published his novel Was die Männer so treiben, wenn die Frauen im Badezimmer sind (2012), the crime novels  Wiener Wunder (2014) and Groschens Grab (2015) and Das Floß der Medusa (2017), which was shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2017 and for which he was awarded  the Bavarian Book Prize.

This event is made possible through funding from the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  Students of German, global affairs and other interested parties are welcome.  For more information, contact Dr. Devon Donohue-Bergeler.

BOOK SYNOPSIS: The Raft of Medusa
July 18, 1816, eleven o’clock in the morning: Off the West coast of Africa, the captain of the Argus spots a raft of about twenty meters in length. What he sees makes his blood run cold: hollow eyes, parched lips, hair stiff with salt, burned skin full of wounds and blisters … The emaciated, naked bodies that are the last 15 of the original 147-man group who have survived two weeks at sea after the sinking of the frigate Medusa.

This historical event, immortalized by the romantic painter Théodore Géricault’s oversized canvas painting, is the backdrop for Franzobel’s novel that explores the dark side of the human will to survive and the limits of civilization and humanity.

Discover more about the German program at UTSA.

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