24 Nov 2017 · 10.30 am

Inheritance and Literature

Venue: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin
Organized by Stefan Willer

A cooperation with the research project Unearned Wealth – A Literary History of Inheritance of the Aarhus University

To bequeath means to pass something on beyond the limits of one's own lifetime. To inherit means to get hold of something without one's own merit. Either way, this logic of succession seems to contradict modern concepts of individuality, property, and equity. Matters of inheritance are extremely complex because they combine problems of genealogy and society, economy and biology, life and death. This also makes inheritance a fascinating and ubiquitous topic for modern literature.

The workshop will take place in English. Texts for preparation are available in a reader (pdf), please request by email to

With the support of


Round of introductions

Jakob Ladegaard (Aarhus): Presentation of the research project »Unearned Wealth«

Julie Kjær Markussen (Aarhus): »Howards End« and inheritance in Edwardian England

Ulrike Vedder (HU Berlin): Aporia of succession: Shakespeare's »King Lear«

Stefan Willer (HU Berlin/ZfL): Symbolic inheritance in Emily Brontë's »Wuthering Heights«

Panel discussion