Friday, October 28, 2011

Professor Lisa Ohm to Give Talk about the Life and Oevre of the Author of H e i d i

On November 14, 2011, German Studies Professor, Dr. Lisa Ohm, will be giving a talk in the Collegial Conversation Series titled, "How to Write about the Life, Genius, and Considerable Oeuvre of Johanna Heusser Spyri (1827-1901), Who, Being Shy and Retiring, Burned Her Documents, and Whose Good Name Has Been Buried Under Unauthorized Sequels, Knock-Offs, Films, Animated Films, Manga, and Online Porno Sites Referencing Her Universally Beloved Heidi."

Professor Lisa Ohm comments about her research interests, "The nearly forgotten German-Swiss writer Johanna Heusser Spyri wrote forty-nine novels and stories, about half of which were translated into English in the early twentieth century and shelved in the juvenile sections of libraries, but no other work has been as phenomenally successful as Heidi. The thesis in my book on Spyri and her works is that her Double Bildungsroman Heidi, like her other works, is communal and social, speaking to the urban-rural conflict in the nineteenth century and echoed in today’s global conflicts. I examine Spyri’s works and the unauthorized sequels, and suggest that Spyri herself may have intended to write a sequel to Heidi with her novel Sina published in 1884, three years after Heidi’s appearance. Today’s youngsters may know Heidi only through one or more of the two dozen Heidi films or television series, including the animated series by Japanese producer/director Isao Takahata, which further popularized the children’s classic, bringing a Disney-like line of commercial products in tow. Spyri research also got a boost with a 2001 conference in Switzerland on the one-hundredth anniversary of her death. With my book, I hope to promote further research on Spyri and her works, especially here in the United States."

Faculty and guests are encouraged to join Lisa and other colleagues at 5:00 p.m. for a social and then dinner at 6:45 following Lisa’s presentation.  Please contact Shirley Kelly via email or by phone at ext. 3147 by November 3 to make a reservation for dinner.