LIVE from NYPL: Chasing Bruno Schulz: Benjamin Balint with Joshua Cohen
Balint discusses his fresh portrait of the Polish-Jewish writer and artist and the gripping account of the secret operation to rescue Schulz’s last artworks.
Isaac Bashevis Singer called Bruno Schulz “one of the most remarkable writers who ever lived.” A master of 20th-century imaginative fiction who mapped the anxious perplexities of his time, Schulz was also a talented illustrator and graphic artist whose masochistic drawings would catch the eye of a sadistic Nazi officer. Drawing on extensive new reporting and archival research, Benjamin Balint’s new biography follows the murals Schulz painted on the walls of an SS villa into multiple dimensions of the artist’s life and afterlife. Sixty years after Schulz was murdered, his murals were miraculously rediscovered, only to be secretly smuggled by Israeli agents to Jerusalem.
Balint speaks with Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Joshua Cohen about the ensuing international furor that raised questions about who has the right to curate orphaned artworks and to construe their meanings—and about who can claim guardianship over the legacy of Jews who were killed by the Nazis.
The annual Joy Gottesman Ungerleider Lecture explores themes represented in the holdings of The New York Public Library's Dorot Jewish Division. This series has been made possible by a generous grant from the Dorot Foundation.
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ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Benjamin Balint is the author of Bruno Schulz and Kafka’s Last Trial, awarded the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and is coauthor of Jerusalem: City of the Book. A library fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, he regularly writes on culture for The Wall Street Journal, the Jewish Review of Books, and other publications.
Joshua Cohen's books include the novels Moving Kings, Book of Numbers, Witz, A Heaven of Others, and Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto; the short-fiction collection Four New Messages, and the nonfiction collection Attention: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction. Cohen was awarded Israel’s 2013 Matanel Prize for Jewish Writers, and in 2017 was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. His most recent novel, The Netanyahus, won the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He lives in New York City.
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