American Corner Innsbruck

    “Edgar Allan Poe from City to City: Richmond, Philadelphia, New York, Paris, Petersburg, Chicago”

    A talk about Poe’s work and its afterlife, from the perspective of “World Literature”
    Thursday, May 22, 6 pm, HS 7, Humanities Building, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck

     The American Corner and the American Studies Department of the University in Innsbruck, in a joint effort, invited to a talk by Professor Jonathan Arac of the University in Pittsburgh. Professor Arac is an American literary scholar and the Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently teaching a class on American literature, focusing on “Moby Dick”, as a Fulbright Professor in Rome, Italy.

    Professor Arac told a very interested audience about his findings regarding not only about Edgar Allen Poe but connections to him by authors of various times in literary history, from all over the world.
    Arac likes to look at history and historical events, not as independent points in time, but at the long term effects they have and what influence lasts through time. He therefore talked about the influence of the worldview at the time, on Poe, and of both on writers such as Dostoyevsky, Wright, Baudelaire, Ellison, and multiple more. He drew a picture of wide ranging mutual influences.
    He claims that there are a great many topics of world literature, still to be discussed. Some of them were mentioned in the question and answer session after the 60-minute talk. They were for example: Is translation of texts always connected to loss or is it a field in it's own right? Do writers that are influenced by other authors loose some of their value, as their work is a copy of something that has already been done?
    The audience, consisting of students from the University, members of the American Studies Department, and guests enjoyed the interesting talk with new insights and the lively discussion with Professor Arac.