Stefan Weidner

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Barbara Schwepcke


In German with simultaneous English translation


The Romantic image of the Orient as encountered in Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan seems hardly reconcilable with the postcolonial critique of Europe’s idea of the “Orient” as articulated by Edward Said in his seminal book Orientalism. Trying to bridge the gap between these two visions of the “Orient,” Goethe’s concept of Weltliteratur (world literature) can be instrumental. The poets brought together for the festival “A New Divan” are both outstanding protagonists of Weltliteratur and articulate critics of Western orientalism in the spirit of Edward Said. This keynote lecture tries to shine a light on how authors and thinkers from the “Orient” over the past 100 years have succeeded in countering stereotypes as well as in reimagining the “Orient” in a way in which Goethe always saw it: as a polycultural space of imagination with a great utopian potential.

Also on that day

Complementing the festival program, works by visual artist and activist Bahia Shehab will be on display in an exhibition. Admission to all events except the concert is free, numbered tickets are required.

Promoter & ticket sales

Pierre Boulez Saal | Französische Straße 33 D, Berlin, Germany