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London Kleist Lecture: Gender, Violence and Revolution with Professor Seán Allan

8 October 2018

Time: 6:30pm
Speaker: Professor Seán Allan

Professor Seán Allan - Kleist LectureVenue: Arts One Lecture Theatre, Mile End Campus

Looking back from the perspective of 1989, the film historian Thomas Elsaesser famously referred to Heinrich von Kleist as ‘the patron saint of the New German Cinema’. Yet the impact of the writer and his work was by no means confined to the post-war period and the generation of 1968. Paul Legband’s silent version of Die Marquise von O (1920), Gustav Ucicky’s UFA-production of Der zerbrochne Krug (1938) and Leni Riefenstahl’s (unrealised) Kleist-project Penthesilea of 1939 serve as reminders of just how far earlier filmmakers were in thrall to the supposedly atavistic character of Kleist’s literary œuvre.

By contrast, in the GDR, the DEFA studio’s cautious attempt to rehabilitate the legacy of an author who had been condemned as politically reactionary by Lukács and others underlines just how problematic Kleist’s work could be for those seeking to use it for explicitly ideological purposes. Written during a period of political turbulence, and suspended between the poles of Enlightenment and Romanticism, Kleist’s plays and stories have been exploited by filmmakers in the late twentieth- and early twenty-first centuries as a lens through which to explore the role of violence in bringing about revolutionary change. At the same time, in films such as Hans Neuenfels’s Heinrich Penthesilea von Kleist (1983-88) and Helmer Sanders-Brahms’s Heinrich (1977), the Amazo Penthesilea, has been presented as evidence of what some would see as her creator’s modernity. On closer examination, however, the nexus of gender and violence that we find in these and more recent films suggests that the role of violence in Kleist’s work (and its relationship to the project of enlightenment) is more complex than many filmmakers have been willing to acknowledge.

To register, please click HERE.

BASF Lecture Series on Anglo-German Matters

The Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations is delighted to introduce the BASF Lecture Series on Anglo-German Matters, 2018-19.

The lectures will be given by authors, literary critics, academics and novelists - please see full details below.

To register for any of the events, please visit the Eventbrite site.

BASF Lecture Series 2018-19


Anglo-German Research Colloquium 2018/19: How To Consider Source Material

Convenor: Professor Rüdiger Görner

Fridays 4-6 pm

Venue: Lockkeeper’s Cottage K 101

19th October 2018: Emily Oliver, Shakespeare and German Unification (2017), F. Jolles, Shakespeares Sommernachtstraum in Deutschland: Einige Betrachtungen über den Vorgang der Assimilation (1963)

16th November 2018: Jethro Bithell, An Anthology of German Poetry (1957)

7th December 2018: W.E. Rose, Sent from Coventry (1980)


Venue: Lockkeeper’s Cottage G01

25th January 2019: Hans Grimm, Ein englischer Aufsatz, der Geschichte wurde (1941)

15th February 2019: Paul Einzig, Bloodless Invasion. German Economic Penetration into the Danubian States and the Balkans (1938)

22nd March 2019: J. Alexander Mahan, Vienna Yesterday and Today (1928)

Writer-in-Residence Judith Kuckart will read from her work on 14 November at 5.30pm on our Mile End Campus, Lockkeeper’s Cottage, room 101.

The Reading will be in German. Everyone is welcome! Feel free to bring other interested parties.

Please register HERE.

Judith Kuckart Reading Poster

To access our archive of events, please click here.


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