Sebald Symposium 2006


University of Washington

Panelist Biography

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Verena Kuzmany

was born in V., Austria in 1972. After a few years of classical humanist education she ran away from home at 16 and joined the Circus Verdigris, where eventually, and through arduous training, she became a tightrope walker. She has walked across many squares of Europe, including Antwerp, Venice, Norwich, Manchester and Innsbruck. Her career as a literary scholar started when an inexplicable sadness seized her while she was crossing the Piazza dei Signori in Verona on her tight rope, a line of poetry resounding in her head: “All colors made me happy: even gray. / Me eyes were such that literally they / Took photographs. Whenever I'd permit / Or, with a silent shiver, order it, / Whatever in my field of vision dwelt—“ Subsequently, and without quite knowing why, she enrolled at a university in G., Austria, where she studied Vladimir Nabokov, Paul Celan, Enki Bilal, English and American literature and juggling. In 2000 she traveled to a conference on Emblems on Vashon Island, Washington, where a flowering Passiflora Incarnata compelled her to stay. Because the red square of the University of Washington campus reminded her vaguely of a photograph of Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy, she decided to get a PhD at the Department of Comparative Literature. Verena Veronica Kuzmany lives in Czernowitz, Bukowina, and is working on her book, The View from Above –Reading the Pavement Patterns of Italy.