Photo portrait of Goeritz sitting on a bench in glasses and a newsboy cap.
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Von Kaisers- und anderen alten Zeiten

The University Libraries and the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures present a German-language reading with Matthias Goeritz, award-winning poet and novelist and Professor of Practice of Comparative Literature at Washington University. Goeritz will read from his novel Die Sprache der Sonne (The Language of the Sun) forthcoming from C.H. Beck in July 2022. Die Sprache der Sonne tells the story of a contemporary Times correspondent in Istanbul and an elderly German man she interviews named Naumann, who was once a foreign correspondent in Turkey for a right-wing German newspaper. Naumann (somewhat unreliably) tells of his eventual disillusionment with the rise of fascism in his home country and in Turkey during the 1930s, and he talks endlessly about his obsession with the Sun Language Theory, a pseudoscientific and nationalist notion that all languages of the world derived from a proto-Turkic primal language. Weaving back and forth through time, Die Sprache der Sonne follows the search for truth in the instability of memory, history, and language. 

Free and open to all, pre-registration required.

Matthias Goeritz is a German poet, translator and novelist. His works include the poetry volumes Loops (Literaturverlag Droschl, 2001), Pools, (Berlin Verlag, 2006), Tools (Berlin Verlag, 2012) and Spools (Wallstein Verlag, 2021), the novellas Im Hospital (edition faust, with photography by Ramune Pigagaite, 2008), Shanghai Blues (edition faust, with photography by Vanja Vukovic, 2015), Amerika (edition faust, mit Fotoarbeiten von Michael Eastman, 2021) and the novels Der kurze Traum des Jakob Voss (Berlin Verlag, 2005), Träumer und Sünder (C.H. Beck Verlag, 2013) and Parker (C.H. Beck Verlag, 2018). He has translated the work of John Ashbery, Rae Armantrout, Mary Jo Bang, Nicholson Baker, Max Porter and Aleš Šteger, among others. His own work has received numerous prizes, including the Hamburger Literaturpreis, the Mara-Cassens Preis, the Robert Gernhardt Preis and the William Gass Award, and has been translated into several languages. Goeritz is Professor of Practice of Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. 

This reading is part of Transnational Framings: The German Literary Field in the Age of Nationalism, 1848-1919, the 25th Biennial St. Louis Symposium on German Literature and Culture, which takes place September 2-4 in a hybrid format. More information on the symposium is available at