Dieter Kühn

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Dieter Kühn was the first writer to receive the newly created Brothers Grimm Poetics Professorship at the Gesamthochschule Kassel (GhK).

Dieter Kühn, born in 1935 and raised in Bavaria, studied German and English in Freiburg, Munich and Bonn. In 1964 he received his doctorate with a thesis on Robert Musil's novel The Man Without Qualities. After working briefly as an editor, he has lived with his wife and two children as a freelance author in Düren since 1965. Kühn is a member of the PEN Club of the Federal Republic of Germany and has received several awards for his literary work.

Image: GBBTo70 (Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 4.0)
Dieter Kühn (2011)

In Dr. Dieter Kühn, the President and the Department of German Studies have recruited for the professorship an author whose work can be characterized by playful, experimental writing styles and an unusual range of topics. Considered the most successful fictional text among critics and readers, his 1977 book Ich Wolkenstein. A Biography, in which he reconstructs the life of Oswald von Wolkenstein, who as a poet, composer and singer is one of the most important artists between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: scholarly, but narratively opening up to the reader areas that are inaccessible to traditional historiography.

With the newly initiated Brothers Grimm Poetics Professorship, the University of Kassel not only wants to make a contribution to the Brothers Grimm Year 1985 (after all, the Grimms conceived and wrote a large part of their work in Kassel), but also to open up a permanent opportunity for science and literature to meet. The naming of the Kassel Visiting Professorship is therefore not intended to limit it, but rather to keep it open for border crossings in the sense of the unusually broad scope of Grimm's work. Crossing borders should be made possible: between tradition and the present, literature and science, practice and intellect, production and criticism - and this across the spectrum of subjects and media of the literary profession. The effort to help transcend cultural worlds that exclude and increasingly lack understanding of each other should be in the right place at a comprehensive university. The establishment of a writing workshop and thus the inclusion of aesthetic practice also distinguishes the Kassel Grimm Poetics Professorship at the GhK from poetics lectureships at some other universities.

GPP event series with Dieter Kühn

The first event with Dieter Kühn was opened by GhK President Prof. Dr. Franz Neumann and the Dean of the Department of German Studies, Prof. Dr. Anselm Maler, on Thursday, May 23 (in the lecture hall of the Art Department, in Menzelstraße).

Kühn spoke a total of five times about individual poetics based on his work on Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival. At the same time, he put his own writing and production methods up for discussion. For the students of the GhK, Dieter Kühn also set up a writing workshop on the topic of "separation".

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 1972 Award of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for Literature
  • 1974 Georg Mackensen Prize for Literature
  • 1975 Radio Play Prize of the War Blind
  • 1977 Hermann Hesse Prize
  • 1980/1981 Town writer of Bergen
  • 1989 Grand Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts
  • 1993 Mainzer Stadtschreiber Literature Prize of the ZDF and the City of Mainz
  • 2014 Carl Zuckmayer Medal