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Empires facing each other: Little Golden America

25 Jun 2015

Berlin
Berlin, Germany

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3668 IlfPetrow is the name of a mysterious minor planet, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Georgievna Karachkina and named after the writer duo Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov, who traveled to America on behalf of the Russian newspaperPravda for four months in the 1930s, at the height of the Stalinist terror and the Great Depression. Under the title Das eingeschossige Amerika (literally, One-Storied America; translated as Little Golden America), the two satirists’ travelogue is an independent minded, fascinating combination of words and pictures that reflects the tension between the USSR and the USA during the emergence of fascism in Europe. Seventy years later, their steps are recounted by writer Felicitas Hoppe—together with visual artists Alexej Meschtschanow and Jana Müller, whom she met at the Villa Aurora. Das eingeschossige Amerika, published in German in 2011, by the Andere Bibliothek of the Eichborn Verlag, with a foreword by Hoppe, shows the Russian duo’s original route and the traveling artists’ reexamination of the East-West relationship—now in light of current political developments.

Felicitas Hoppe (born in Hameln, 1960) is a writer living in Berlin. She is the author ofPicknick der Friseure (1996), Pigafetta (1999), Paradiese, Übersee (2003), Verbrecher und Versager (2004), and Johanna (2006), among others, including Sieben Schätzeand Abenteuer – Was ist das, two of her lectures on poetics. In 2011 Hoppe reinterpreted Grünes Ei mit Speck, a translation of texts by American children’s author Dr. Seuss. Her “dream biography,” Hoppe, was published in 2012. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Aspekte Literature Prize (1996) and the Georg Büchner Prize (2012). Since 2007 she has been a member of the Deutschen Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung.

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