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Esther Birney Lecture: Dr. Stefan Haag

May 19 – Dr. Stefan Haag - “Mystery avant la lettre: Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s The Jews’ Beech” 

My last and pre-pandemic talk at BH included a German take on the big 20th century international city (Uwe Johnson’s Jahrestage set in New York). This time, I’d like to take you to an isolated German region of the 18th century where woodtheft and illegal hunting, and even the occasional murder takes place (well, two murders in 38 pages ...). In her novella The Jews’ Beech – one of the first mysteries in the German language – Droste not only created a mystery for the ages but also a study of the milieu of the times and of her region, the Westphalian hinterland. I will talk about how and why this novella is often misunderstood. The text is available in pdf, epub, and mobi. Please consider reading it before attending the talk. (You can get the pdf from BevAnn –

Stefan Haag was born and grew up in the birthplace of Karl Marx and he's happy to say that one of the few things he shares with Marx is that they both left as soon as they could. He studied musicology and English in Cologne and then got a Ph.D. from UBC in Canadian Literature. Teaching at Langara College since the year 2000, Stefan has found that German and French literatures are worthwhile exploring too and he's proud to say that he routinely tortures and sometimes delights his students with these literatures in translation. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022, 10:30 AM until 12:00 PM
Halpern Room

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Esther Birney Lecture Series
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