Friday, September 12, 2008


Hello, here are some random notes from the Henry Parland conference I participated in at the start of the week. All in all I had a good time - met a lot of interesting folks (including my old pals Julia and Sami, as well as the German translator of Aase Berg's poetry), and took a day to read through the Parland archives (more about that juicy bit later).

Stella Parland, Henry's brother's granddaughter, gave the opening talk, which was one of the most interesting of the conference. She's a young writer and artist and she talked about how Henry led her to a more cosmopolitan outlook and inspired her to get into Dada and such. We hung out later and she told me she was doing puppet theaters. I liked her a lot.

Per Stam, who is the most detailed well-researched Parland scholar of all time (the first person to really delve into the archives) presented an interesting paper going through Parland's drafts for his poems and showing how Parland cut cut cut everything back. many poems in Idealrealisation originally had several more stanzas.

Another interesting idea from Stam: he has concluded - based on the type and kind of paper - that Parland wrote his poems on Björling's typewriter.

This guy Leif Friberg gave an interesting talk about Die Neue Sachlichkeit and Fredric Jameson and Simmel's and Benjamin's ideas about the city causing various effects on the nervous system (he should have read Lennard Davis's new book about obsession).

(In Björling's letters he keeps telling Parland that Parland has "nerve sickness")

Johan Sundholm gave a good talk on film and Parland, using some Stanley Clavell book from 1971 that I haven't read, as well as Benjamin (I've written several papers on this, using Benjamin as well).

The Aase Berg translation I mentioned above (sadly I can't remember her name right now) also talked about film, pinpointing exact films Parland refers to in his work and in his letters.

A lot of people seemed interested in my translation of Idealrealisation. It was referred to several times and several people asked me outside of the events about Ugly Duckling and everybody wanted to buy copies of the book (unfortunately I had only 2 copies to bring). Fred Hertzberg's paper was basically one big analysis of my translations and of the reaction to the Parland and his Björling translation - showing why various writers like Bernstein and Silliman have placed them in American contexts and why that does and does not make sense.


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