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Martin Hielscher - Biography

Martin Hielscher, Ph.D., is a world renowned author, critic and translator. Martin was born 1957 in Hamburg, Germany. Martin Hielscher holds the Theodor W. Adorno Chair at the European Graduate School (EGS) and is the Dean of Media and Communications Division. Martin is a Munich-based translator, critic, editor and author. He has lectured internationally on modern German and foreign literature and philosophy. His work is influenced by the philosophy of such figures as; Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. Martin Hielscher's research investigates the crossroads between contemporary and historical currents of critical theory, media philosophy and creative writing.

Martin Hielscher has held a number of academic positions. In 1998 Martin was a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis. 2000 brought Marting to Leipzig University. Since 2007 Martin has served as a honorary professor at Bamberg University. At the European Graduate School he teaches a course entitled: Literature as Communication: The Aesthetics of Theodor W. Adorno. This course explores literature as model of communication, stimulates creative writing, and discusses the philosophical aesthetics of Theodor W. Adorno. The course includes a workshop with a guest author such as Nicholson Baker, Julian Barnes, Marcel Beyer, Michel Houellebecq, Shelley Jackson, or Colum McCann. The course moves beyond an empty discussion of communicative theory towards an applied thinking of communication as a it relates to literature.

Martin Hielscher has been influential in shaping the landscape of contemporary German literature over the previous fifteen years through his involvement as both an author and editor of books and essays on post-war and contemporary literature. After his studies in literature and philosophy in Hamburg, he worked as the editor at Luchterhand Publishers (Hamburg, 1992–93), editor for German literature at Kiepenheuer & Witsch Publishers (Cologne, 1994–2001), and since 2001 is the program director for literature at C. H. Beck Publishing House in Munich.

He has translated, among others, William Gaddis, Lorrie Moore, Peter Carey, Richard Ford, Charles Johnson, Nuruddin Farah, Robert Goolrick and Randa Farrar into German. Martin Hielscher is the author of Beckmann lernt schießen: Erzählung (1988), the biographies on Wolfgang Koeppen (1988) and Uwe Timm (2007), and among others the anthology of new German writers Wenn der Kater kommt. Neues Erzählen – 38 deutschsprachige Autorinnen und Autoren (1996).

For Martin Hielscher, good literature should combine elements of beauty and entertainment, while simultaneously stimulating the senses. Literature in his perspective should be able to permeate language and dig deep through its multiple layers, thus showing an enhanced awareness of history. Hence, the responsibility of the editor is to judge works in the name of an imaginary future, be able to feel the changes in the current literary landscape, and shed light on true literary gems that will shine into the future.

This risky task is full of challenges and excitement, due to the fact that the readers of current media society can always respond in an unexpected manner. Success in literature is something that cannot be planned and Martin Hielscher has shown enormous courage, promoting works that push further development of narrative culture in Germany, writers of small masterpieces as landmarks of new, lively ways to tell a story and stimulate readers.

Martin Hielscher has published many books including: Uwe Timm. Taschenbuch Verlag. May 1, 2007, Uwe Timm Lesebuch: Die Stimme beim Schreiben. Taschenbuch Verlag. April 1, 2005, Die schöne Mutter der Kultur: unsere Grundlagen in der antiken Welt. Dva. 1997, Ytong: Eine Textsammlung. Editions 406. 1996, Wenn der Kater kommt: Neues Erzählen: 38 deutschsprachige Autorinnen und Autoren. Kiepenheuer & Witsch. 1996, Fluchtort Mexiko. Ein Asylland für die Literatur. Luchterhand Literaturverlag. September 1995, Ponal: Eine Textsammlung. Editions 406. 1993, Beckmann lernt schiessen: Erzählung. Nautilus/Nemo Press. 1988, Wolfgang Koeppen. Beck'sche Reihe. C.H. Beck Verlag. 1988, Zerbrechen zu Heideggers Sprachgestus. Alber. 1985, Zitierte Moderne: poetische Erfahrung und Reflexion in Wolfgang Koeppens Nachkriegsromanen und in "Jugend." (Dissertation). Beiträge zur neueren Literaturgeschichte 3. C. Winter. Heidelberg, 1985, Zitierte Moderne: poetische Erfahrung und Reflexion in Wolfgang Koeppens Nachkriegsromanen und in "Jugend." Carl Winter Universitäsverlag. 1988.

Martin Hielscher is a professor of literature and media at the European Graduate School where he teaches an Intensive Summer Seminar.