ABSTRACT | Bruno Schulz was born an Austrian, lived as a Pole, and died a Jew. He was a master of twentieth-century imaginative fiction who mapped the anxious perplexities of his time; Isaac Bashevis Singer called him “one of the most remarkable writers who ever lived. He wrote sometimes like Kafka, sometimes like Proust, and at times succeeded in reaching depths that neither of them reached.” Schulz was also a brilliant graphic artist whose masochistic drawings would catch the eye of a sadistic Nazi officer. During the Second World War, Schulz’s art became the currency in which he bought life. Sixty years after Schulz was murdered, his last murals were miraculously rediscovered, only to be secretly smuggled by Israeli agents to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Drawing on new research and reporting from his most recent book, Bruno Schulz: An Artist, a Murder, and the Hijacking of History, Balint will discuss how the ensuing international furor summoned broader perplexities about who has the right to curate orphaned artworks and to construe their meanings.
BIO | Benjamin Balint is previously the author of Kafka’s Last Trial (Norton), which was awarded the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and coauthor of Jerusalem: City of the Book (Yale). A fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, he regularly writes on culture for the Wall Street Journal, and the Jewish Review of Books, and his translations from the Hebrew have appeared in the New Yorker.
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