Clas Zilliacus, Helsingfors | “Writ in Water”. Reading Die Ostsee

Fr 14.09.2018 | 10:30 Uhr | Rathaus Rostock


“Writ in Water”. Reading Die Ostsee

Most literary anthologies are organized on the lines of national history. What unfolds in them is usually a seriatim portrayal of authors, genres, schools etc. But if your motif is spatial – as it is in Die Ostsee – temporal demands on sequence are tempered and you can reframe your narrative, e.g. pattern it along encounters in space. A sea invites a spatial approach because it is so palpably an area to cross, often dangerously. And Baltic sea travel abounds in reports about strange things seen; what has been written about it is steeped in the experience of otherness, as is Die Ostsee. The Baltic Sea is very much a spatial presence, and a double one at that: as with a Wittgensteinian duck-rabbit, you see either a coastline or you see a sea. Whichever way you look at it, the sea has tales to tell.


Clas Zilliacus

  • Born in Mariehamn (Åland Islands), Finland in 1943
  • Studied English and Comparative Literature at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, and TCD Dublin, research study at Columbia U., NYC; PhD from ÅA U (Beckett and Broadcasting, 1976)
  • Opinionens tryck, 1985; Gen. Ed., Finlands svenska litteraturhistoria II (1900-talet), 2000; Coeditor, Z. Topelius Lyrik I, 2010
  • ÅA U. Professor of Comp. Lit. 1986-2008; Faculty Dean 2001-2002; Visiting prof., U. of Minnesota, 1996; Academia Europaea fellow 1995
  • Board member, The Samuel Beckett Society 1995-1999, The Swedish Literature Society of Finland 2003- , International Assoc. of Scandinavian Studies 2000-2010; on the team for the almanac and book series Trajekt 1981-1986
  • Translator (Eng., Finn., Ger. etc.)
  • Awards include the Finnish State prize for Hamlet (Sw.) 1984 and the Swedish Academy Finland prize 1995


Contact: czilliac (at)

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