During his stay as writer-in-residence at the University of Utrecht in February 2009, Claudio Magris engaged in a debate on Europe with the Dutch Minister for European Affairs, Frans Timmermans. This article gives the registration of this lively exchange of opinions. Magris and Timmermans discuss a wide range of issues, from the role of literature, particularly narrative, in contemporary European politics, the challenges of globalisation and the heritage of Enlightenment culture to the difficult process of European integration. On the basis of their personal experiences, they particularly dwell on questions regarding their identity as Europeans and on the public role of intellectuals and politicians in the process of understanding and mediating cultural differences
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