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Is language the last remaining freedom of the oppressed and what are its modes of resistance? Or is it instead an expression of power, which silences dissidents, through the linguistic means of bureaucracy and through attributions, ordinances and categorizations? Language holds both: emancipation and the freedom to act on the one hand and the brutal exercise of power and tyranny on the other.
In Dictionary of Now #8, Nobel laureate in literature Herta Müller and Georg-Büchner awardee Marcel Beyer talk about literary facets of language and analyze its significance in times of hardened political fronts.
The conversation will be moderated by literary critic and author Verena Auffermann. The dialogic debate will include excerpts from the works of Oskar Pastior, Friederike Mayröcker, Michel Leiris, Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt (in dialogue with Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs) as well as the two contributors.
The writer and curator Marcel Beyer lives in Dresden. He writes poetry, novels, essays and libretti. His recent publications include the book of poetry Graphit (2014), the essay compilation Sie nannten es Sprache (2016) and Das blindgeweinte Jahrhundert. Bild und Ton (2017). Herta Müller was born in Nițchidorf, Romania and has lived in Berlin as a writer since 1987. Her debut work Nadirs was published in a censored version in Romania in 1982 and uncensored in Germany in 1986. Other novels by her include The Land of Green Plums (1996) and The Hunger Angel of 2012.