Conversation Narrating the Lives of Great Writers and Scientists

Reiner Stach and Daniel Kehlmann Image © Rudi Gigler, Heji Shin


Goethe-Institut New York

Reiner Stach and Daniel Kehlmann

How did Kafka become Kafka? The third and final volume of Reiner Stach’s celebrated biography of Franz Kafka, Kafka: The Early Years (Princeton University Press, November, 2016), translated into English by Shelley Frisch, answers that question with more facts, detail, and insight than ever before.

In conversation with Daniel Kehlmann, author of the bestseller Measuring the World (Pantheon Books, 2006), a fictionalized account of the lives of the early 19th-century German scientists Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Gauss, Stach discusses the art and craft of biographical writing. Speaking from the perspectives of a literary historian and a novelist, Stach and Kehlmann talk about how they transform the messiness of personal histories and the complexity of literary oeuvres and scientific treatise into coherent and elegant prose. The conversation is moderated by Shelley Frisch.

Presented in collaboration with Princeton University Press.