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Jan Philipp Reemtsma: Monsieur Bovary

Saturday, Jul 2, 2022, 12:30 PM

Jan Philipp Reemtsma


Monsieur Bovary

Jean Améry’s Charles Bovary, Landarzt is a novel and should be read as such. The novel is a trial Charles Bovary vs. Gustave Flaubert, and Charles Bovary wins–whatever that means. Flaubert is accused of misusing the freedom of creation by creating a Charles Bovary not fit to be the lover Emma Bovary deserved. He is accused to be not a true realist as an author, because he did not show reality as a bundle of possibilities. Instead as an It-is-what-it-is-prison (for Charles). Améry defends Charles Bovary against his creator because he himself wants an appropriate lover for Emma—not those she had chosen. Améry defends Charles and his defence transforms in a love-phantasy. Charles Bovary, Landarzt is a novel of and about the author Jean Améry to a woman another author had created. A strange book—and a fascinating one.

Jan Philipp Reemtsma is the founder and chair of the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Scholarship and Culture and the founder of the Arno Schmidt Foundation. Until March 2015, he was the director of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, which he also founded. Among his many works, those available in English include Trust and Violence (2012 [2008]), In the Cellar (1999 [1997]), and More than a Champion. The Style of Muhammad Ali (1998 [1997]). His latest publication is Helden und andere Probleme (2020).

The event will be held in English