Burton Pike on Gerhard Meier
Wednesday February 8, 2012
Renowned translator Burton Pike returned to the Center to read from and discuss his new translation of Gerhard Meier's Isle of the Dead.
Baur and Bindschädler, two old men, friends from their days in the army, share a habitual walk to the edge of town, Baur speaking incessantly—circling between past and present, inconsequential observations and profound insights—while Bindschädler, equally unmoored, listens, observes, reflects. A meandering meditation on mortality, and a gentle complement to the work of contemporaries Samuel Beckett and Thomas Bernhard—not to mention Gerhard Meier's countryman Robert Walser—Isle of the Dead elevates a simple ramble along a riverside to the status of a metaphysical inquest, with Baur and Bindschädler's words and thoughts looping and colliding until it is nearly impossible to tell one man from the other.
Burton Pike is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and German at CUNY. He co-translated Musil’s The Man without Qualities, and has translated Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther and Rilke’s novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. His translations have appeared in numerous periodicals.
This event was cosponsored by Dalkey Archive Press. Their Swiss Literature Series was made possible by a grant from Pro Helvetia, and Swiss Arts Council. The Center for Fiction would also like to thank the Consulate General of Switzerland for supporting this evening's event.