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Otokar-Fischer-Prize for Tilman Kasten

Freiburg literature and cultural studies' scholar becomes the first recipient of an award for outstanding research of Czech literature and culture

Freiburg, Jul 11, 2017

Otokar-Fischer-Prize for Tilman Kasten

Tilman Kasten. Photo: Ondřej Staněk

An independent initiative of Czech literature scholars, the Institute of Literary Research, has for the first time awarded the Otokar-Fischer-Prize. This year's winner is a literature and cultural studies' scholar at the University of Freiburg, Dr. Tilman Kasten. He received the honor for his 2016 dissertation "Historismuskritik versus Heilsgeschichte – Die Wallenstein-Romane von Alfred Döblin und Jaroslav Durych (Critique of Historicism versus Salvation History – the Wallenstein Novels of Alfred Döblin and Jaroslav Durych)." The chief purpose of the award is to raise awareness of the most significant, German-language research published in Germany in the area of Czech Studies – therefore works on Czech literature, language, visual arts, theater, film architecture, culture and cultural history. Another aim is to strengthen the dialogue between Czech and German Czech Studies.

There are many literary texts about the life of the Bohemian noble and military commander Albrecht von Wallenstein (1583–1634). Tilman Kasten addressed two of these works in his dissertation: Alfred Döblin's "Wallenstein", which was published in 1920, and Jaroslav Durych's 1929 novel "Bloudění", which was published in German with the title "Friedland." Shortly after they appeared, both books were translated into Czech or German respectively and were also received in relation to one another in Germany and Czechoslovakia. The treatments of the character of Wallenstein in both works are viewed as radical rejections of conventional historical narration. While Durych's text depicts a confrontation with national, cultural memory, Döblin pursues radical decontextualization. Furthermore, Durych processed the material with an emphasis on the concept of salvation. "The dissertation demonstrates that both books are not only an expression of a parallel, though also varied, development of the literary genre of the historical novel in Czech and German literature, but at the same time are a fruitful source to follow regarding their reception within the context of German-Czech literary transfer," said the Institute for Literary Research.

Tilman Kasten studied the History of Modern German Literature, West Slavic Philology and European Ethnology at the University of Freiburg. He received his PhD in 2014. From 2013 to 2017 he was a research assistant at the Institut für Volkskunde der Deutschen des östlichen Europa (Institute of European Ethnology of the Germans of Eastern Europe), the director of the Commission for German and Eastern European Ethnology and a co-publisher of the Commission's yearbook. Since April 2017, he has been the research coordinator of Collaborative Research Center 1015 "Leisure – Borders, Temporal and Spatial Character, Practices" at the University of Freiburg.

For more information

Dr. Tilman Kasten
Project Manager
Collaborative Research Center "Leisure – Borders, Temporal and Spatial Character, Practices"
Tel.: 0761/203-67707