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7 June 2000

Heidelberg Author in Residence 2000: Eckard Henscheid

From 7 to 30 June 2000—Focus on the comical in literature—Author will give lectures, talk about his work and initiate students in the art of writing "supplement style"

Eckhard Henscheid

This year's Heidelberg author in residence is Eckard Henscheid. He will be officiating as such from 7 to 30 June and the focus of his attention will be on the comical in literature. Henscheid, who divides his time betwen Frankfurt and Amberg, will be giving three lectures, talking about his work and initiating students in the art of writing "supplement style". At the 3rd Heidelberg Round-Table Forum on Literature, Henscheid will be joined by prominent representatives of the "New Frankfurt School" like Bernd Eilert, Jürgen Roth, F.W. Bernstein and Oliver Maria Schmitt. The subject will be "The Sense of Nonsense". In honour of the European Cup there will be a soccer soirée at the municipal theatre, featuring another well-known writer on football, Ror Wolf. For the duration of Henscheid's stay in Heidelberg there will also be a Henscheid Exhibition in the Old University.

The annual Heidelberg Author in Residence programme is a joint undertaking run by the City of Heidelberg and the University. It has been in existence since 1993. It is organised by the Department of German and financed by the "Foundation of the City of Heidelberg for the University". Every year visiting authors spend three weeks or so "in residence", featuring in public events such as talks, lectures, readings, workshops and discussions designed to give literary-minded audiences insights into artistic production processes and also to point up tendencies and problems in contemporary literature. Creative writing courses and poetological seminars give the more theoretical aspects a practical slant. Former authors in residence include Martin Walser, Volker Braun, Brigitte Kronauer, Hanns-Josef Ortheil and (last year) Michael Rutschky.

Henscheid enjoys classic status

Eckard Henscheid was born in 1941 and divides his time between Frankfurt, Amberg and Ascona (Switzerland). Himself a German studies graduate, he has been gradually amassing an oeuvre which embraces journalistic forms of writing (columns, glosses, satire) alongside the more traditional genres novel, short story and essay. With Robert Gernhardt, F.W. Bernstein, Chlodwig Poth, F.K. Waechter, Bernd Eilert and Hans Traxler he is a founder member of the "New Frankfurt School". The reference to the Frankfurt School of Adorno and Horxheimer is fully intended but as Henscheid and his friends are allergic to any kind of ideology the reference is also a barbed one, as can readily be seen from the satirical magazine "Titanic" founded in 1979.

Very much in the spirit of Karl Kraus, Henscheid assiduously cultivates his non-friendships (chief among them Botho Strauß, Günter Grass and Jürgen Habermas) and in so doing has restored invective to its full stature as a literary genre. Henscheid is vitriolic satirist, sensitive poet, elegant raconteur, acid-tongued polemicist, idyllic genre-painter and merciless critic of the follies of his fellow Germans, all rolled into one. The subjects he has written on range from the operas of Mozart and Verdi, Goethe, Eichendorff's poetry and Dostyevsky's novels to such apparently mundane things as the fate of Eintracht Frankfurt soccer club and the biography of Helmut Kohl. Independently of the strictures and panegyrics of jurors, critics, lawyers and German studies professors, Henscheid has advanced to the status of a modern classic, an author who has re-established the art of comic writing in contemporary German literature.

The only real alternative to the European Cup

Soccer players are always angling for special status. They're young, they spend half the day asleep, they eat like wolves ( a side of pork every day), they get waited and fawned upon from all quarters, they're rubbed down and massaged—and then they go out and play soccer for an hour-and-a-half and expect us to believe that afterwards they're completely drained.
Max Merkel (1974)

The "passiontide" of association football (G. Netzer) has begun. For some time now the achievements of Germany's national soccer team have been anything but inspiring (Ribbeck-bashing). But worse than that, professional football in general is in the throes of a major crisis, having sunk to the status of an entertainment devoid of entertainment value, perpetrated by a bunch of faceless, uninspired "millionarios". High time, then, to stage a bumper retrospect of the Golden Epoch of soccer, those halcyon days when the ball was round, a match lasted 90 minutes and the next game was always the toughest. A soccer soirée at the Municipal Theatre on Wednesday, 21 June 2000 with Eckard Henscheid and Ror Wolf, German literature's most prominent experts on football.

Please address any inquiries to:
Germanistisches Seminar der Universität Heidelberg
Dr Michaela Kopp-Marx
Hauptstrasse 207-209, 69117 Heidelberg

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

Programme of Events

Wednesday, 7 June 2000. 8.15 p.m.
Great Hall of the Old University
Author in Residence 2000: Opening Event
words of welcome: Rector Prof. Dr. Jürgen Siebke
Mayoress of the City of Heidelberg, Beate Weber
laudatio: Michael Rutschky
The Writer Understood and Misunderstood
lecture by Eckard Henscheid

Thursday, 15 June 2000, 8.15 p.m.
New University, Hall 14
"New Frankfurt School"
lecture by Eckard Henscheid

Wednesday, 21 June 2000, 8 p.m.
Heidelberg Municipal Theatre
On the occasion of the European Cup 2000:
When a Game Still Lasted 90 Minutes
Soccer soirée with Eckard Henscheid and Ror Wolf

Wednesday, 28 June 2000, 8 p.m.
Weiss'sche Universitätsbuchhandlung (Universitätsplatz)
From Goethe to Kohl
Eckard Henscheid reads from old and new works

Thursday, 29 June 2000, 8.15 p.m.
New University, Hall 14
Forms of the Comic Genre
(Humour, Irony, Satire, Parody)
with reference to own works
lecture by Eckard Henscheid

Friday, 30 June 2000, 7 p.m.
Great Hall of the Old University
3rd Heidelberg Round-Table Forum on Literature
The Sense of Nonsense
Brains' trust plus final communiqué
with Eckard Henscheid, Bernd Eilert, Jürgen Roth, F.W. Bernstein, Oliver Maria Schmitt

7 to 30 June 2000, foyer of the Great Hall of the Old University
Approaching the Myth
Doodles, documents and devotional objects from an author's life
An Eckard Henscheid exhibition

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Updated: 07.06.2000




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