“The Mediterranean Sea is becoming a frontier and not a liquid bridge,” says Claudio Magris, leading cultural philosopher of our time. But the sea is many things: bearer of history, great discoveries and the love for his late wife.
“I like the sea most as abandon. Just hearing the sound, being in this rare feeling of having nothing to reach for, not waiting for doctor’s results or news from the election. At the sea I am like a happy child,” says Claudio Magris, who has pondered the sea for decades. His award-winning book ‘Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea’, 1986, is portrait of Europe that guides the reader from the river's source in the Bavarian hills through Austro-Hungary and the Balkans to the Black Sea. Magris, who is “a great European patriot,” says the The Mediterranean Sea in this time of refugees is again becoming a site of great and tragic importance: “It is on the one hand a frontier, on the other hand the contact with countries that have other social and political situations.”
Magris also discuses the power of art and literature during challenging times. Literature “can create a certain feeling of life, of relationships with others, of love and friendships which can contribute enormously to the formation of people and thus situations,” he says. “I am sure that my attitude towards women, people of other nationalities, problems, is signed by having read ‘War and Peace.’”
Claudio Magris (b.1939) is an Italian scholar, translator and writer. His most notable works are the award winning ‘Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea’, 1986, and ‘Microcosms,’ 1997. He is the recipient of many international prizes such as the 1997 Baguette Strega and the special Prize for Culture awarded by the Italian Prime Minister in 1998. He holds several honorary degrees, among others from the Universities of Strasbourg, 1991, and Copenhagen, 1993. He has been a professor of modern German literature at the University of Trieste since 1978 and is considered one of the leading cultural philosophers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Claudio Magris was interviewed Marc-Christoph Wagner during the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in August 2016.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017
Supported by Nordea-fonden