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Inaugural Lecture by Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor Joshua Cohen

Presentation in English on October 25, 2017, at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 285/2017 from Oct 19, 2017

The American writer and literary critic Joshua Cohen is the Visiting Professor of Literature at the Peter Szondi Institute of Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, during the 2017/2018 winter semester. He will give his inaugural lecture on Wednesday, October 27, 2017, at Freie Universität. Entitled "WIKI: What I Know Is – The Role of Knowledge in the Novel," the public lecture will be presented in English. Admission is free.

Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in New Jersey. He studied composition at the Manhatten School of Music. Cohen's literary work includes five novels as well as several volumes of stories and nonfiction books. In addition to his literary work, he has taught at several universities, most recently at Columbia University. His essays and literary reviews appear regularly in the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the London Review of Books, and other newspapers and magazines. In 2017 Granta Magazine named him one of the "Best of Young American Novelists." As the 38th Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor of Literature during the 2017/2018 winter semester, Cohen will teach a seminar entitled "Versions" at the Peter Szondi Institute of Literature.

Cohen's work is often an exploration of Jewish culture and history. The Village Voice called his second novel, Witz, the Best Book of 2010. The New York Times Book Review said the book's "anarchic energy recalls Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace." Cohen's fourth novel, Book of Numbers, was published in 2015. The New York Times designated it as the "great American Internet novel," and the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio (NPR), and the New York Magazine all called it the best book of 2015. A collection of his political essays and articles is scheduled to be published in 2018 as a book entitled Attention: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction. A German translation of his novel Book of Numbers is also due out in 2018.

Time and Location of the Inaugural Lecture

  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 6 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Alle 45, Room KL 32/123, 14195 Berlin; subway station: Dahlem-Dorf or Freie Universität/Thielplatz (U3).


Prof. Dr. Claudia Olk, Peter Szondi Institute of Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-56418, Email: claudia.olk@fu-berlin.de