Thursday, April 23, 2009

Publishing in Exile

Tonight (Thursday, April 23) I went to the opening of Publishing In Exile, German-Language Literature in the U.S. in the 1940s. It is at the Leo Baeck Institute which is in the Center For Jewish History.
The exhibition had a panel discussion on publishers in exile and "the crucial assistance they gave fleeing authors." Participants were: John Spalek, SUNY/Albany; Wulf Koepke, Texas A&M; Hildegard Bachert, Galerie St. Etienne; Mark Anderson, Columbia U.; Beth Merfish, NYU; and Ernst Fischer, Universit├Ąt Mainz. Frank Mecklenburg, LBI, moderated.

I'm no scholar and didn't take notes but I was glad to hear at least Adorno's name mentioned, though he was the only one of the Frankfurt School, however this is about publishers, not authors. Apparently this is one of the first ever panels and exhibitions focusing on the publishers during the exile. One of the panelists made a nice comment about the role of the publishers bringing works to the public, the public being related to publisher. At some point it was also noted that German Publishers were never in it to be making money, but their production was due to a passion. This is another amongst the myriad of things they struggled with when coming to the United States.

The exhibition is running until June 28th, and I will be returning to visit with the pieces on display, as well as to explore the other areas of the Center For Jewish History.

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