Goethe Medal: Ian McEwan in Graphic Novels
How can we celebrate important moments in the midst of a pandemic? As we were not able to award the Goethe Medal to Ian McEwan in a traditional ceremony, we asked three German graphic novel artists to reinvent it through visual storytelling. Hamed Eshrat, Lukas Jüliger and Reinhard Kleist take us on a journey from early Ian McEwan's inspirations to satisfactory hotels – and at one point, even Mephisto makes an appearance!
>> Find out everything about the awardees of the Goethe Medal 2020!
Traditionally, the award ceremony of the Goethe Medal takes place on 28 August, the birthday of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This year, we are contributing to the digital award ceremony with a Goethe Medal Graphic Novel Series.
Translated by David Dollenmayer.
Mephisto: "I am the spirit of eternal no (except when there's a medal to bestow)." - McEwan: "Aha, so this is the cur's core."
Mephisto: "The Goethe-Institut sends news: This year the prize they have in store cannot be givenas they would choose - in person, in Weimar, with much pomp. No, the cursed pandemic’s played its trump. Ha, ha, ha! How I love that word! ‘Tis as satanic as any I have heard!" - McEwan: "I hear your message right enough, I simply can’t believe it’s not a bluff." - Mephisto: "Don’t you trust me then? Herr Goethe, alas, is...indisposed and so it’s me they chose. I’ve dipped into a book of yours, or two, and found them quite a devilish brew. In truth, however, I really should despise your writing on climate change, AI, and morality in science."
Mephisto: "You pillory the nationalism of narrowminds, train your artillery on the glorious depravityof society (all my work, by the way!). The real catastrophe is you’re passionately pro-Europe...yuck! And yet it seems to me with any luck we could be brothers, sing in harmony. We understand what holds the world together, inwardly..."
Mephisto: "We understand what holds the world together, inwardly . . . and what blows it all to bits as well. Hee, hee!!! Art is long, Lord knows, but life is brief. And so here with, the Goethe Medal, be pleased to wear it. You may of course say 'phooey' and forswear it." - McEwan: "What glitters lasts a moment and is gone. The genuine will live for ages yet to come." - Mephisto: "Not so fast! For in exchange..."
Mephisto: "I claim the right to your immortal soul! My contract with the Institute says so." - McEwan: "Right now?" - Mephisto: "The rabble never feel my fist, not even when I have them by the neck." - McEwan: "That’s inconvenient...How about a rain check? What if I told you that this very minute I’m working on a book, and you star in it? Wouldn’t it be a shame to leave it incomplete? For once you’d have it down in black and white, yours forever, to take home and keep."
Mephisto: "About me? How flattering!...All right, until it’s done I’ll leave your soul in peace. The book is sure to be your masterpiece! Ah well, I’m just a part of the power that would always do evil, but always does the good." - McEwan: "This book will be my longest ever, I hope. And look! He left the medal here, that dope."