Michael Hamburger and the 'No Man's Land of Languages'

The Berlin-born British poet, translator and critic Michael Hamburger, who came to Britain as a refugee in 1933 aged nine, would later become a key figure in mediating German literature in the anglophone world. The talk gives an insight into Till Greite's research project 'Michael Hamburger and the "No Man's Land of Languages"' which he embarked on during his stay in London as a Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Visiting Fellow, and which focuses on Hamburger's idea of a 'phenomenology of exile' which he developed in his critical writing and elaborated on in his correspondence with other contemporary poets – material that is now housed in the British Library and other archives in the UK. Greite highlights Hamburger's particular notion of 'exile', his traumatic experiences in what he termed the twentieth century's 'age of dispersion', as well as his personal 'affliction' of being bilingual.
Till Greite is currently a research assistant at the Humboldt University, Berlin, where he recently completed a doctorate entitled 'Die leere Zentrale. Berlin, ein Bild aus dem deutschen Nachkrieg', dealing with literary Berlin between the 1930s and 60s and the authors of the so-called 'Lost Generation'. He has held a Fellowship at Princeton University and has produced a new edition of Wilhelm Speyer's 1947 text Das Glück der Andernachs (forthcoming May 2023).

Speaker: Till Greite (Humboldt University, Berlin); Moderator: Jana Buresova (RCGAES); Additional discussants: Tony Grenville; Martin Swales; Axel Goodbody; Marietta Bearman; Margaret Vallance.

Event date: Wednesday, 16 November 2022