(c) Internationale Jugendbibliothek
Feb 2413.15
Feb 2413.30

Conference (in German language)

Kästner's humour. Between subjective disposition and objective requirement


Humour is the umbrella of the wise

Erich Kästner used the most diverse facets of humour; they are a constitutive element of his poetics. Even everyday self-help literature makes use of the author's 'witty' wisdom ("There is nothing good unless you do it").

Less well known are answers to the questions of what exactly constitutes humour in Kästner's texts, what forms of humour he uses and what reason and purpose he ascribes to this form of reflection and mode of representation. And further: What are humour and the comic supposed to be anyway? In addition to sympathetic laughter, there is also condescending laughter, which can escalate into general sarcasm; there are sublime puns and corny jokes, cosy and icy irony, comedy in the plot and much more.

There is no question that he was sometimes - as is well documented in the Blue Book - prone to contemptuous sarcasm. As well as considering the position and function of this 'lower' form of humour in his texts, we can also ask how this form of humour differs from that of Heinrich Mann or Arno Schmidt, two masters of sarcasm: Humour is not only subjective, it is also individual. Like all humour, it is time-bound; at the same time, it can be shown that Kästner succeeded in transcending this historical conditionality in all the genres he used. We can still smile about 'Gustav with the horn' and his likeable mistakes today. The only question is: why?

Heades by: Sven Hanuschek and Gideon Stiening

Speakers: Frieder von Ammon, Oliver Bach, Sabina Becker, Gregor Eisenhauer, Hans-Edwin Friedrich, Sven Hanuschek, Annette Keck, Helmut Kiesel, Tom Kindt, Stefan Neuhaus, Nicole Pasuch, Kai Sina, Michael Stark, Gideon Stiening, Sophia Wege

The conference is held in German.

You can find the programme here

Registration at anmeldung@ijb.de is required by 20 February. Please indicate whether you would like to register for the conference, the award ceremony or for both events. Seats will be allocated according to the number of registrations received.

A conference of Förderverein Erich Kästner Forschung e.V. and the International Youth Library Foundation.