About the book:
Agathe is the sister of Ulrich, the restless and elusive “man without qualities” at the center of Robert Musil’s great, unfinished novel of the same name. For years Agathe and Ulrich have ignored each other, but when brother and sister find themselves reunited over the bier of their dead father, they are electrified. Each is the other’s spitting image, and Agathe, who has just separated from her husband, is even more defiant and inquiring than Ulrich. Beginning with a series of increasingly intense “holy conversations,” the two gradually enlarge the boundaries of sexuality, sensuality, identity, and understanding in pursuit of a new, true form of being that they are seeking to discover.
About the panelists:
Joel Agee is a writer and translator. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1990 he received a fellowship from the Artists in Berlin program of the German Academic Exchange Service. In 1999 he won the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for his translation of Heinrich von Kleist’s verse play Penthesilea. In 2005 he received the Modern Language Association’s Lois Roth Award for his translation of Hans Erich Nossack’s The End: Hamburg 1943. In 2005 he was a finalist for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. In the same year, he was awarded the ALTA National Translation Prize for his translation of The Selected Writings of Friedrich Dürrenmatt. In 2008 he received the Berlin Prize of the German Academy in Berlin. He is the author of two memoirs—Twelve Years: An American Boyhood in East Germany and, more recently, In the House of My Fear. His translation of Prometheus Bound was produced at the Getty Villa in 2013. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Susan Bernofsky directs the program Literary Translation at Columbia in the Columbia University School of the Arts Writing Program. Her translations include works by Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Yoko Tawada. Her translation of Erpenbeck’s novel The End of Days won the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, The Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize, the Ungar Award for Literary Translation, and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Her translation of Tawada’s novel Memoirs of a Polar Bear (2016) won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. She is currently writing a biography of Walser and blogs about translation at www.translationista.com.
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“Agathe; or, The Forgotten Sister” is funded by the DAAD from funds of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA).