"I have a dream" – The art of free speech. From Cicero to Barack Obama

12 November 2019, 19:00
Johan Schloemann
Forming part of the series "Zur Sache ..." – Authors at the Staatsbibliothek

Johan Schloemann | © Natalie Neomilsser

Johan Schloemann | © Natalie Neomilsser

Series "Zur Sache..." – Authors at the Staatsbibliothek

About the event

In his grand panorama from Homer up to the present, Johan Schloemann presents not only the art, but also the misery of the speakers. "It is the delivery alone that makes the orator’s success." This comment by the boring Wagner in Goethe’s "Faust" was completely right, but he and his likes did not have the capability to leave their audience spellbound. They did not have the ability to formulate ad libitum and lacked the mental flexibility to parry adversaries’ attacks rhetorically without the slightest effort. For this reason, there have always been schools and masters teaching exactly this. However, when the rhetoric was too successful, their students were suspected of being clever manipulators and no genuine friends of the people – which would sometimes not end well at all. Accordingly, a speech must seem to be as spontaneous as possible – which goes from the inspiration of the preachers to technical tools, such as PowerPoint and autocue. An informative and entertaining read, this book also broaches these topics and offers a number of ideas for the reader’s own rhetorical practice as well.  

Moderation: Knut Cordsen, Bayerischer Rundfunk

Personal data

Johan Schloemann, a classical philologist who wrote his doctoral thesis on Greek rhetoric, is well-known to many readers of the feature section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, where he is in charge of humanities and debates.

About the series

"Zur Sache..." / "To the point..." – Authors at the Staatsbibliothek, is a series of events jointly organised by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the C.H. Beck publishing house, the Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt (DVA), the publishing house Antje Kunstmann and the dtv publishing house, with the kind support of the Sponsors and Friends of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and the book trader Lehmkuhl.

Information overview

Date12 November 2019, 19:00
VenueBayerische Staatsbibliothek, Fürstensaal, 1st floor
Ludwigstr. 16, 80539 Munich
Public transportUnderground lines U3/ U6, bus lines 58/ 68/ 153/ 154, station/ bus stop Universität
Bus lines 100/ 153, bus stop Von-der-Tann-Strasse
RegistrationPlease register by e-mail to or by calling +49 89 28638-2115

Reserved seats need to be occupied 15 minutes before the start of the event at the latest.

By participating, you declare your approval of possibly being seen on recordings which will be used within the scope of the public relations work of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
AdmissionAdmission is free.
FlyerDownload of the event flyer  (PDF, 2.1 MB)