Aberrations of Mourning
Laurence A. Rickels University of Minnesota Press, 2011 Library of Congress PT129.R47 2011 | Dewey Decimal 830.9353
Aberrations of Mourning, originally published in 1988, is the long unavailable first book in Laurence A. Rickels’s “unmourning” trilogy, followed by The Case of California and Nazi Psychoanalysis.
Rickels studies mourning and melancholia within and around psychoanalysis, analyzing the writings of such thinkers as Freud, Nietzsche, Lessing, Heinse, Artaud, Keller, Stifter, Kafka, and Kraus. Rickels maintains that we must shift the way we read literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis to go beyond traditional Oedipal structures.
Aberrations of Mourning argues that the idea of the crypt has had a surprisingly potent influence on psychoanalysis, and Rickels shows how society’s disturbed relationship with death and dying, our inability to let go of loved ones, has resulted in technology to form more and more crypts for the dead by preserving them—both physically and psychologically—in new ways.
After Brecht: British Epic Theater is the first book to fully explore contemporary British drama in the light of the influence of German playwright Bertolt Brecht. Focusing on the work of Howard Brenton, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Trevor Griffiths, and John McGrath, the book examines Brechtian techniques and style within the work of each playwright, while highlighting the divergent development of each.
The book has been enriched by the author's in-depth conversations with the playwrights. The topics covered include contemporary politics and the theater, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and such well-known fringe companies as Foco Novo, Joint Stock, Portable Theatre, and 7:84. Reinelt examines each playwright within an interpretive frame drawn from an application of Brecht's theories and practice to the historically specific situation of post-war British theater.
The book will appeal to those interested in the relationship between politics and art and contemporary European theater and its antecedents.
"After Brecht represents the best and most detailed engagement with the contemporary British theater scene to date." --Stanton B. Garner, Jr.
"This fine study . . . confronts issues that are important to all students and practitioners of the theater. Sensitive to the uniqueness of each of the playwrights in her study, Reinelt demonstrates that Brechtian theory can be modified in many ways by those who share the belief that 'politics and aesthetics are inseparably linked.'" --Choice
Janelle Reinelt is Chair of the Department of Dramatic Art and Dance, University of California-Davis.
In turn-of-the-century Vienna, Karl Kraus created a bold new style of media criticism, penning incisive satires that elicited both admiration and outrage. Kraus’s spectacularly hostile critiques often focused on his fellow Jewish journalists, which brought him a reputation as the quintessential self-hating Jew. The Anti-Journalist overturns this view with unprecedented force and sophistication, showing how Kraus’s criticisms form the center of a radical model of German-Jewish self-fashioning, and how that model developed in concert with Kraus’s modernist journalistic style.
Paul Reitter’s study of Kraus’s writings situates them in the context of fin-de-siècle German-Jewish intellectual society. He argues that rather than stemming from anti-Semitism, Kraus’s attacks constituted an innovative critique of mainstream German-Jewish strategies for assimilation. Marshalling three of the most daring German-Jewish authors—Kafka, Scholem, and Benjamin—Reitter explains their admiration for Kraus’s project and demonstrates his influence on their own notions of cultural authenticity.
The Anti-Journalist is at once a new interpretation of a fascinating modernist oeuvre and a heady exploration of an important stage in the history of German-Jewish thinking about identity.
The Apocalypse in Germany
Klaus Vondung & Translated by Stephen D. Ricks University of Missouri Press, 2001 Library of Congress DD97.V6613 2000 | Dewey Decimal 943.001
Originally published in German in 1988, The Apocalypse in Germany is now available for the first time in English. A fitting subject for the dawn of the new millennium, the apocalypse has intrigued humanity for the last two thousand years, serving as both a fascinating vision of redemption and a profound threat.
A cross-disciplinary study, The Apocalypse in Germany analyzes fundamental aspects of the apocalypse as a religious, political, and aesthetic phenomenon. Author Klaus Vondung draws from religious, philosophical, and political texts, as well as works of art and literature. Using classic Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts as symbolic and historical paradigms, Vondung determines the structural characteristics and the typical images of the apocalyptic worldview. He clarifies the relationship between apocalyptic visions and utopian speculations and explores the question of whether modern apocalypses can be viewed as secularizations of the Judeo-Christian models.
Examining sources from the eighteenth century to the present, Vondung considers the origins of German nationalism, World War I, National Socialism, and the apocalyptic tendencies in Marxism as well as German literature—from the fin de siècle to postmodernism. His analysis of the existential dimension of the apocalypse explores the circumstances under which particular individuals become apocalyptic visionaries and explains why the apocalyptic tradition is so prevalent in Germany.
The Apocalypse in Germany offers an interdisciplinary perspective that will appeal to a broad audience. This book will also be of value to readers with an interest in German studies, as it clarifies the riddles of Germany's turbulent history and examines the profile of German culture, particularly in the past century.
Archaeologies of Modernity explores the shift from the powerful tradition of literary forms of Bildung—the education of the individual as the self—to the visual forms of “Bildung” (from Bild) that characterize German modernism and the European avant-garde. Interrelated chapters examine the work of Franz Kafka, Jean/Hans Arp, Walter Benjamin, and Carl Einstein, and of artists such as Oskar Kokoschka or Kurt Schwitters, in the light of the surge of an autoformation (Bildung) of verbal and visual images at the core of expressionist and surrealist aesthetics and the art that followed. In this first scholarly focus on modernist avant-garde Bildung in its entwinement of conceptual modernity with forms of the archaic, Rumold resituates the significance of the poet and art theorist Einstein and his work on the language of primitivism and the visual imagination. Archaeologies of Modernity is a major reconsideration of the conception of the modernist project and will be of interest to scholars across the disciplines.
Armed Ambiguity is a fascinating examination of the tropes of the woman warrior constructed by print culture—including press reports, novels, dramatic works, and lyrical texts—during the decades-long conflict in Europe around 1800.
In it, Julie Koser sheds new light on how women’s bodies became a battleground for competing social, cultural, and political agendas in one of the most pivotal periods of modern history. She traces the women warriors in this work as reflections of the social and political climate in German-speaking lands, and she reveals how literary texts and cultural artifacts that highlight women’s armed insurrection perpetuated the false dichotomy of "public" versus "private" spheres along a gendered fault line. Koser illuminates how reactionary visions of "ideal femininity" competed with subversive fantasies of new femininities in the ideological battle being waged over the restructuring of German society.
As German-language literature turned in the mid-nineteenth century to the depiction of the profane, sensual world, a corresponding anxiety emerged about the terms of that depiction—with consequences not only for realist poetics but also for the conception of the material world itself. At the Limit of the Obscene examines the roots and repercussions of this anxiety in German realist and postrealist literature. Through analyses of works by Adalbert Stifter, Gustav Freytag, Theodor Fontane, Arno Holz, Gottfried Benn, and Franz Kafka, Erica Weitzman shows how German realism’s conflicted representations of the material world lead to an idea of the obscene as an excess of sensual appearance beyond human meaning: the obverse of the anthropocentric worldview that German realism both propagates and pushes to its crisis. At the Limit of the Obscene thus brings to light the troubled and troubling ontology underlying German realism, at the same time demonstrating how its works continue to shape our ideas about representability, alterity, and the relationship of human beings to the non-human well into the present day.
As head of Suhrkamp Verlag, a premier German publishing house, Siegfried Unseld is eminently qualified to write about the relationship between authors and their publishers—and he does so here with engaging partisan enthusiasm. Long familiar with what he terms the Janus-headed nature of the publishing profession, Unseld considers the dual responsibilities of a publisher: in one direction, his responsibility for the material success of his firm; and in the other, his responsibility to the intellectual ideals and spiritual requirements of his authors.
Through close examination of four writers, Unseld shows how the author's personality can affect the publisher's dilemma. Hermann Hesse, by virtue of his loyalty and his desire for financial independence, enjoyed an exemplary relationship with his publishers. With Bertolt Brecht it was all confusion; with Rainer Maria Rilke, a one-author-one-publisher lifetime alliance; with Swiss poet Robert Walser, a mire of difficulties ("Each book printed," he once said, was "a grave for its author").
Honorable Mention for the DAAD/GSA Book Prize for the Best Book in Germanistik or Cultural Studies
Biological Modernism identifies an intellectual current in the Weimar Republic that drew on biology, organicism, vitalism, and other discourses associated with living nature in order to redefine the human being for a modern, technological age. Contrary to the assumption that any turn toward the organic indicated a reactionary flight from modernity or a longing for wholeness, Carl Gelderloos shows that biology and other discourses of living nature offered a nuanced way of theorizing modernity rather than fleeing from it. Organic life, instead of representing a stabilizing sense of wholeness, by the 1920s had become a scientific, philosophical, and disciplinary problem. In their work, figures such as Alfred Döblin, Ernst Jünger, Helmuth Plessner, and August Sander interrogated the relationships between technology, nature, and the human and radically reconsidered the relationship between the disciplines as well as the epistemological and political consequences for defining the human being. Biological Modernism will be of interest to scholars of German literature and culture, literary modernism, photography, philosophical anthropology, twentieth-century intellectual history, the politics of culture, and the history of science.
Black Devil and Iron Angel examines how the railway was received and represented by a variety of nineteenth-century German and Austrian realist authors including Berthold Auerbach, Theodor Fontane, and Gerhart Hauptmann.
Border Crossings is an accessible and comprehensive overview of the work of prose fiction writers in what was the German Democratic Republic. Thomas C. Fox introduces readers to the best and most important East German writers—among them Christa Wolf, Jurek Becker, Anna Seghers, Stefan Heym, and Franz Fühmann—restricting his study to work that is available in English translation so that readers who do not know German will be able to read for themselves the literature he discusses. During a period of forty years, writers in the German Democratic Republic struggled with increasing success to free themselves from a smothering and paternalistic governmental embrace, thus anticipating, and helping to constitute, the events of 1989. In its relentless interrogation of the status quo, in its persistent ability to create alternatives, and in its call for more openness, literature in East Germany served as an outlet for energies and ideas that might have been channeled, in the West, into politics, philosophy, or journalism. In addition to discussing the role that literature played in shaping historical events, Fox shows that it can be appreciated simply as literature, outside of its political contexts.
Since Germany became a colonial power relatively late, postcolonial theorists and histories of colonialism have thus far paid little attention to it. Uncovering Germany’s colonial legacy and imagination, Susanne Zantop reveals the significance of colonial fantasies—a kind of colonialism without colonies—in the formation of German national identity. Through readings of historical, anthropological, literary, and popular texts, Zantop explores imaginary colonial encounters of "Germans" with "natives" in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century literature, and shows how these colonial fantasies acted as a rehearsal for actual colonial ventures in Africa, South America, and the Pacific. From as early as the sixteenth century, Germans preoccupied themselves with an imaginary drive for colonial conquest and possession that eventually grew into a collective obsession. Zantop illustrates the gendered character of Germany’s colonial imagination through critical readings of popular novels, plays, and travel literature that imagine sexual conquest and surrender in colonial territory—or love and blissful domestic relations between colonizer and colonized. She looks at scientific articles, philosophical essays, and political pamphlets that helped create a racist colonial discourse and demonstrates that from its earliest manifestations, the German colonial imagination contained ideas about a specifically German national identity, different from, if not superior to, most others.
In this innovative new study, Sean Franzel charts the concurrent emergence of German Romantic pedagogy, the modern research university, and modern visions of the politically engaged scholar. At the heart of the pedagogy of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, K. P. Moritz, A. W. Schlegel, Adam Müller, and others was the lecture, with its ability to attract listeners and to model an ideal discursive community, reflecting an era of revolution, reform, and literary, philosophical, and scientific innovation.
Along with exploring the striking preoccupation of Romantic thinkers with the lecture and with its reverberations in print, Franzel argues that accounts of scholarly speech from this period have had a lasting impact on how the pedagogy, institutions, and medial manifestations of modern scholarship continue to be understood.
"Sean Franzel’s archaeology illuminates both the bourgeois public sphere and discourse network 1800 by showing the romantic lecture to be the key cultural form in a pivotal moment of German intellectual history, a history long obsessed with the mediation of oral discourse and written text."—John Durham Peters, author of Speaking into the Air
Contemporary German Editorial Theory
Hans Walter Gabler, George Bornstein, and Gillian Borland Pierce, Editors University of Michigan Press, 1995 Library of Congress PT74.H45 1995 | Dewey Decimal 801.959094309045
Over the past decade, Anglo-American notions of textual construction and editorial theory have begun major paradigm shifts. Many of the key emergent issues of Anglo-American debate--such as theories of versions--are already familiar in German theory. In other respects, including systematic reflection on the design and function of editorial apparatus, the German debate has already produced paradigms and procedures as yet unformulated in English. Contemporary German Editorial Theory makes available for the first time in English ten major essays by seven German theorists, together with an original introductory meditation by Hans Walter Gabler, editor of the celebrated edition of James Joyce's Ulysses. The volume thus participates in the paradigm shift in editorial theory that has led both to theoretical reconception of the field and to groundbreaking practical results. Topics discussed include the distinction between historical record and editor's interpretation, the display of multiple versions, concepts of authorization and intention, and the relations of textual theory to approaches like deconstruction and semiotics. The book also includes suggestions for further reading in both languages and a glossary of technical terms.
Contributors are Hans Zeller, Miroslav Cervenka, Elisabeth Höpker-Herberg, Henning Boetius, Siegfried Scheibe, and Gerhard Seidel.
Bringing together the heretofore separate Anglo- American and German approaches will strengthen each separately and prepare the way for a new hybrid combining the advantages of both orientations. This book will interest not only students of Anglo-American or German literature, but all who study cultural construction and transmission.
Hans Walter Gabler is Professor of English Literature, University of Munich. George Bornstein is Professor of English, University of Michigan. Gillian Borland Pierce is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature, University of Michigan.
Cosmopolitan Parables explores the global rise of the heavily debated concept of cosmopolitanism from a unique German literary perspective. Since the early 1990s, the notion of cosmopolitanism has acquired a new salience because of an alarming rise in nationalism, xenophobia, migration, international war, and genocide. This upsurge has transformed how artists and scholars worldwide assess the power of international civil society and its moral obligation to unite regardless of cultural background, religious affiliation, or national citizenship. It rejuvenates an ancient yet timely framework within which contemporary political crises are to be overcome, especially after the collapse of communist states and the intersection of postwar and postcolonial trajectories.
To exemplify this global challenge, Kim examines three internationally acclaimed writers of German origin—Hans Christoph Buch, Michael Krüger, and W. G. Sebald—joined by their own harrowing experiences and stunning entanglements with Holocaust memory, postcolonial responsibility, and communist legacy. This bold new study is the first of its kind, interrogating transnational memories of trauma alongside globally shared responsibilities for justice. More important, it addresses the question of remembrance—whether the colonial past or the postwar legacy serves as a proper foundation upon which cosmopolitanism is to be pursued in today's era of globalization.
Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews
Cathy S. Gelbin and Sander L. Gilman University of Michigan Press, 2017 Library of Congress JZ1308.G45 2017 | Dewey Decimal 305.892404
Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews adds significantly to contemporary scholarship on cosmopolitanism by making the experience of Jews central to the discussion, as it traces the evolution of Jewish cosmopolitanism over the last two centuries. The book sets out from an exploration of the nature and cultural-political implications of the shifting perceptions of Jewish mobility and fluidity around 1800, when modern cosmopolitanist discourse arose. Through a series of case studies, the authors analyze the historical and discursive junctures that mark the central paradigm shifts in the Jewish self-image, from the Wandering Jew to the rootless parasite, the cosmopolitan, and the socialist internationalist. Chapters analyze the tensions and dualisms in the constructed relationship between cosmopolitanism and the Jews at particular historical junctures between 1800 and the present, and probe into the relationship between earlier anti-Semitic discourses on Jewish cosmopolitanism and Stalinist rhetoric.
When both France and Holland rejected the proposed constitution for the European Union in 2005, the votes reflected popular anxieties about the entry of Turkey into the European Union as much as they did ambivalence over ceding national sovereignty. Indeed, the votes in France and Holland echoed long standing tensions between Europe and Turkey. If there was any question that tensions were high, the explosive reaction of Europe’s Muslim population to a series of cartoons of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper put them to rest. Cosmopolitical Claims is a profoundly original study of the works of Sten Nadonly, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Feridun Zaimoglu, and 2006 Nobel prize in literature recipient Orhan Pamuk. Rather than using the proverbial hyphen in “Turkish-German” to indicate a culture caught between two nations, Venkat Mani is interested in how Turkish-German literature engages in a scrutiny of German and Turkish national identity.
Moving deftly from the theoretical literature to the texts themselves, Mani’s groundbreaking study explores these conflicts and dialogues and the resulting cultural hybridization as they are expressed in four novels that document the complexity of Turkish-German cultural interactions in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His innovative readings will engage students of contemporary German literature as well as illuminate the discussion of minority literature in a multicultural setting.
As Salman Rushdie said in the 2002 Tanner Lecture at Yale, “The frontier is an elusive line, visible and invisible, physical and metaphorical, amoral and moral. . . . To cross a frontier is to be transformed.” It is in this vein that Mani’s dynamic and subtle work posits a still evolving discourse between Turkish and German writers.
Around the turn of the nineteenth century, no task seemed more urgent to German Romantics than the creation of a new mythology. It would unite modern poets and grant them common ground, and bring philosophers and the Volk closer together. But what would a new mythology look like? Only one model sufficed, according to Friedrich Schlegel: Dante’s Divine Comedy. Through reading and juxtaposing canonical and obscure texts, Dante in Deutschland shows how Dante’s work shaped the development of German Romanticism; it argues, all the while, that the weight of Dante’s influence induced a Romantic preoccupation with authority: Who was authorized to create a mythology? This question—traced across texts by Schelling, Novalis, and Goethe—begets a Neo-Romantic fixation with Dantean authority in the mythic ventures of Gerhart Hauptmann, Rudolf Borchardt, and Stefan George. Only in Thomas Mann’s novels, DiMassa asserts, is the Romantics’ Dantean project ultimately demythologized.
In this ambitious book, Kirk Wetters traces the genealogy of the demonic in German literature from its imbrications in Goethe to its varying legacies in the work of essential authors, both canonical and less well known, such as Gundolf, Spengler, Benjamin, Lukács, and Doderer. Wetters focuses especially on the philological and metaphorological resonances of the demonic from its core formations through its appropriations in the tumultuous twentieth century.
Propelled by equal parts theoretical and historical acumen, Wetters explores the ways in which the question of the demonic has been employed to multiple theoretical, literary, and historico-political ends. He thereby produces an intellectual history that will be consequential both to scholars of German literature and to comparatists.
On October 5, 2012, the German national newspaper Die Welt published its daily issue—but things looked . . . different. Quieter. The sensations of the day, forgotten as soon as they’re read, were missing, replaced with an unprecedented calm, extracted with care from the chaos of the contemporary.
That calm was the work of Gerhard Richter, who had been granted control over Die Welt for that single day, taking over and imprinting all thirty pages of the newspaper with his personal stamp: images from quiet moments amid unquiet times, the demotion of politics from its primary position, the privileging of the private and personal over the public, and, above all, artful, moving contrasts between sharpness and softness. He had created an unprecedented work of mass art.
Among the many people to praise the work was writer Alexander Kluge, who instantly began writing stories to accompany Richter’s images. This book, the second collaboration between Kluge and Richter, brings their stories and images together, along with new words and artworks created specifically for this volume. The result, Dispatches from Moments of Calm, is a beautiful, meditative interval in the otherwise unremitting press of everyday life, a masterpiece by two acclaimed artists working at the height of their powers.
In this innovative study, Tyler Whitney demonstrates how a transformation and militarization of the civilian soundscape in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries left indelible traces on the literature that defined the period. Both formally and thematically, the modernist aesthetics of Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Detlev von Liliencron, and Peter Altenberg drew on this blurring of martial and civilian soundscapes in traumatic and performative repetitions of war. At the same time, Richard Huelsenbeck assaulted audiences in Zurich with his “sound poems,” which combined references to World War I, colonialism, and violent encounters in urban spaces with nonsensical utterances and linguistic detritus—all accompanied by the relentless beating of a drum on the stage of the Cabaret Voltaire.
Eardrums is the first book-length study to explore the relationship between acoustical modernity and German modernism, charting a literary and cultural history written in and around the eardrum. The result is not only a new way of understanding the sonic impulses behind key literary texts from the period. It also outlines an entirely new approach to the study of literature as as the interaction of text and sonic practice, voice and noise, which will be of interest to scholars across literary studies, media theory, sound studies, and the history of science.
In recent years Nietzsche has emerged as a presiding genius of our intellectual epoch. Although scholars have noted the influence of Nietzsche's thought on Wallace Stevens, the publication of Early Stevens establishes, for the first time, the extent to which Nietzsche pervades Steven's early work. Concentrating on poems published between 1915 and 1935—but moving occasionally into later poems, as well as letters and essays—B. J. Leggett draws together texts of Stevens and Nietzsche to produce new and surprising readings of the poet's early work. This intertextual critique reveals previously undisclosed ideologies operating at the margins of Stevens's work, enabling Leggett to read aspects of the poetry that have until now been unreadable. Leggett's analysis demonstrates that the Nietzschean presence in Stevens brings with it certain assumptions that need to be made explicit if the form of the poetry is to be understood. Though many critics have discussed the concept of intertextuality, few have attempted a truly intertextual reading of a particular poet. Early Stevens not only develops an exemplary model of such a reading; it also provides crucial insights into Stevens's notions of femininity, virility, and poetry and elucidates the notions of art, untruth, fiction, and interpretation in both Stevens and Nietzsche.
Much recent critical theory has dismissed or failed to take seriously the question of the self. French theorists—such as Derrida, Barthes, Benveniste, Foucault, Lacan, and Lévi-Strauss—have in various ways proclaimed the death of the subject, often turning to German intellectual tradition to authorize their views. Stanley Corngold’s heralded book, The Fate of the Self, published for the first time in paperback with a spirited new preface, appears at a time when the relationship between the self and literature is a matter of renewed concern. Originally published in 1986 (Columbia University Press), the book examines the poetic self of German intellectual tradition in light of recent French and American critical theory. Focusing on seven major German writers—Hölderlin, Dilthey, Nietzsche, Mann, Kafka, Freud, and Heidegger—Corngold shows that their work does not support the desire to discredit the self as an origin of meaning and value but reconstructs the allegedly fragmented poetic self through effects of position and style. Offering new and subtle models of selfhood, The Fate of the Self is a source of rich insight into the work of these authors, refracted through poststructuralist critical perspectives.
In Five Portraits, one of the most acute critical thinkers of our time presents essays on five of the most important writers of the past hundred years: Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Celan, Robert Musil, Martin Heidegger, and Walter Benjamin. The result is a remarkable examination of a moment when these writers, caught between the dream of creating an abiding masterpiece and the reality of a brutal culture fascinated by apocalyptic catastrophe, deliberately put themselves and their work at the center of the storm. Written in elegant and jargon-free prose, Michael Andre Bernstein's essays create a vivid image of an epoch whose aspirations and torments continues to shape the world we inhabit today.
Winner of the 2014 Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for Best Book on Romanticism
In Fugitive Objects, Catriona MacLeod examines the question of why sculpture is both intensively discussed and yet rendered immaterial in German literature. She focuses on three forms of disappearance: sculpture’s vanishing as a legitimate art form at the beginning of the nineteenth century in German aesthetics, statues’ migration from the domain of high art into mass reproduction and popular culture, and sculpture’s dislodging and relocation into literary discourse. Through original readings of Clemens Brentano, Achim von Arnim, Adalbert Stifter, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and others, MacLeod reveals that if sculpture has disappeared from much of nineteenth-century German literature and aesthetics, it is a vanishing act that paradoxically relocates the statue back onto another cultural pedestal, attesting to the powerful force of the medium.
When looking at how trauma is represented in literature and the arts, we tend to focus on the weight of the past. In this book, Amir Eshel suggests that this retrospective gaze has trapped us in a search for reason in the madness of the twentieth century’s catastrophes at the expense of literature’s prospective vision. Considering several key literary works, Eshel argues in Futurity that by grappling with watershed events of modernity, these works display a future-centric engagement with the past that opens up the present to new political, cultural, and ethical possibilities—what he calls futurity.
Bringing together postwar German, Israeli, and Anglo-American literature, Eshel traces a shared trajectory of futurity in world literature. He begins by examining German works of fiction and the debates they spurred over the future character of Germany’s public sphere. Turning to literary works by Jewish-Israeli writers as they revisit Israel’s political birth, he shows how these stories inspired a powerful reconsideration of Israel’s identity. Eshel then discusses post-1989 literature—from Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs to J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year—revealing how these books turn to events like World War II and the Iraq War not simply to make sense of the past but to contemplate the political and intellectual horizon that emerged after 1989. Bringing to light how reflections on the past create tools for the future, Futurity reminds us of the numerous possibilities literature holds for grappling with the challenges of both today and tomorrow.
German Literature on the Middle East explores the dynamic between German-speaking and Middle Eastern states and empires from the time of the Crusades to the end of the Cold War. This insightful study illuminates the complex relationships among literary and other writings on the one hand, and economic, social, and political processes and material dimensions on the other. Focusing on German-language literary and nonfiction writings about the Middle East (including historical documents, religious literature, travel writing, essays, and scholarship), Nina Berman evaluates the multiple layers of meaning contained in these works by emphasizing the importance of culture contact; a wide web of political, economic, and social practices; and material dimensions as indispensible factors for the interpretive process.
This analysis of literary and related writing reveals that German views about the Middle East evolved over the centuries and that various forms of action toward the Middle East differed substantially as well. Ideas about religion, culture, race, humanism, nation, and modernity, which emerged successively but remain operative to this day, have fashioned Germany's changed attitudes toward the Middle East. Exploring the interplay between textual discourses and social, political, and economic practices and materiality, German Literature on the Middle East offers insights that challenge accepted approaches to the study of literature, particularly approaches that insist on the centrality of the linguistic construction of the world. In addition, Berman presents evidence that the German encounter with the Middle East is at once distinct and yet at the same time characterized by patterns shared with other European countries. By addressing the individual nature of the German encounter in the larger European context, this study fills a considerable gap in current scholarship.
The interdisciplinary approach of German Literature on the Middle East will be of interest to the humanities in general, and specifically to scholars of German studies, comparative literature, Middle Eastern studies, and history.
Nina Berman is Professor of Comparative Studies at The Ohio State University.
Jacket image: Map of Europe by Giovanni Magini, from his “Geography.” Venice, . From the University of Michigan Map Library.
Political Map of the World, April 2008. From the University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library, Map Collection.
Todd Kontje University of Michigan Press, 2004 Library of Congress PT149.A2K66 2004 | Dewey Decimal 830.9325
Todd Kontje's German Orientalisms offers a fresh examination of the role of the East in the "Kontje has pulled off the amazing feat of a grand narrative: from the epic literature of the Middle Ages to very recent texts on the emerging multicultural Germany. Kontje's grand narrative, it should be noted, is not at all simplistic or reductionistic. He gets at the individual texts in complex ways, and he can tease out multidimensional features of the German texts' treatments of the 'East.' Nonetheless, he displays an enviable erudition and scholarship, tracing lines through centuries when most scholars today limit themselves to narrow specialties."
-Russell Berman, Stanford University
"Intellectually rigorous and conceptually nuanced, Todd Kontje's German Orientalisms is a valuable contribution to the debate on identity politics in German cultural history. Through an erudite and insightful analysis of the German fictions of a broadly defined 'Orient' from the Middle Ages to the present, Kontje illustrates how German literature situated itself within a 'symbolic geography,' whose coordinates are defined by both its representations of the Orient and its affiliation with the Occident. German Orientalisms offers not only an admirable synthesis of the scholarship on German linguistic and cultural nationalism but also sophisticated interpretive strategies for a better understanding of our perceptions and misconceptions of alterity."
-Azade Seyhan, Bryn Mawr College
"This is a fascinating topic, and the book opens new scholarly vistas. In an age of increased specialization, Kontje takes a macro view, looking at German literature almost
from its beginnings to the present, from Wolfram to Özdamar. He also has the courage to link his well-researched work to topics like globalization, the culture wars, and canon formation. He doesn't merely proclaim literature's importance, he shows by example how the literary imagination-creative as it is, dodging dogmatism, and able to confound ideologies-can thrive in an era of cultural studies."
-Sara Friedrichsmeyer, University of Cincinnati
Todd Kontje's German Orientalisms offers a fresh examination of the role of the East in German literary imagination, ranging from the Middle Ages to the present. In its wide historical sweep, this book offers important new insights into many of the most famous writers in the German language, from Goethe to Thomas Mann to Günter Grass.
Building on Edward Said's Orientalism-which defined Orientalism as a form of Western knowledge directly linked to imperial power-Kontje offers a more nuanced version as seen through the lens of German literature of the last thousand years.
Said's focus was on British and French Orientalists-two nations with colonial interests in the East. Germany was different in that it had no stake in the Orient. Far from diminishing an Orientalist perspective, however, the absence of a German empire in the East produced a peculiarly German brand of Orientalism, one in which German writers alternated between identification with the rest of Europe and allying themselves with parts of the East against the West.
Above all, Kontje asks how German writers conceived of their place in "the land of the center" (das Land der Mitte) and how their literary works help to create the imagined community of the German nation.
In postbellum America, publishers vigorously reprinted books that were foreign in origin, and Americans thus read internationally even at a moment of national consolidation. A subset of Americans’ international reading—nearly 100 original texts, approximately 180 American translations, more than 1,000 editions and reprint editions, and hundreds of thousands of books strong—comprised popular fiction written by German women and translated by American women. German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866–1917 by Lynne Tatlock examines the genesis and circulation in America of this hybrid product over four decades and beyond. These entertaining novels came to the consumer altered by processes of creative adaptation and acculturation that occurred in the United States as a result of translation, marketing, publication, and widespread reading over forty years. These processes in turn de-centered and disrupted the national while still transferring certain elements of German national culture. Most of all, this mass translation of German fiction by American women trafficked in happy endings that promised American readers that their fondest wishes for adventure, drama, and bliss within domesticity and their hope for the real power of love, virtue, and sentiment could be pleasurably realized in an imagined and quaintly old-fashioned Germany—even if only in the time it took to read a novel.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, representations of Poland and the Slavic East cast the region as a primitive, undeveloped, or empty space inhabited by a population destined to remain uncivilized without the aid of external intervention. These depictions often made direct reference to the American Wild West, portraying the eastern steppes as a boundless plain that needed to be wrested from the hands of unruly natives and spatially ordered into German-administrated units.
While conventional definitions locate colonial space overseas, Kristin Kopp argues that it was possible to understand both distant continents and adjacent Eastern Europe as parts of the same global periphery dependent upon Western European civilizing efforts. However, proximity to the source of aid translated to greater benefits for Eastern Europe than for more distant regions.
Hermann Broch (1886-1951) is remembered among English-speaking readers for his novels The Sleepwalkers and The Death of Virgil, and among German-speaking readers for his novels as well as his works on moral and political philosophy, his aesthetic theory, and his varied criticism. This study reveals Broch as a major historian as well, one who believes that true historical understanding requires the faculties of both poet and philosopher.
Through an analysis of the changing thought and career of the Austrian poet, librettist, and essaist Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929), Broch attempts to define and analyze the major intellectual issues of the European fin de siècle, a period that he characterizes according to the Nietzschean concepts of the breakdown of rationality and the loss of a central value system. The result is a major examination of European thought as well as a comparative study of political systems and artistic styles.
Imperial Fictions explores ways in which writers from late antiquity to the present have imagined communities before and beyond the nation-state. It takes as its point of departure challenges to the discrete nation-state posed by globalization, migration, and European integration today, but then circles back to the beginnings of European history after the fall of the Roman Empire. Unlike nationalist literary historians of the nineteenth century, who sought the tribal roots of an allegedly homogeneous people, this study finds a distant mirror of analogous processes today in the fluid mixtures and movements of peoples. Imperial Fictions argues that it is time to stop thinking about today’s multicultural present as a deviation from a culturally monolithic past. We should rather consider the various permutations of “German” identities that have been negotiated within local and imperial contexts from the early Middle Ages to the present.
The Inability to Love borrows its title from Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich’s 1967 landmark book The Inability to Mourn, which discussed German society’s lack of psychological reckoning with the Holocaust. Challenging that notion, Agnes Mueller turns to recently published works by prominent contemporary German, non-Jewish writers to examine whether there has been a thorough engagement with German history and memory. She focuses on literature that invokes Jews, Israel, and the Holocaust. Mueller’s aim is to shed light on pressing questions concerning German memories of the past, and on German images of Jews in Germany at a moment that s ideologically and historically fraught.
Irony’s Antics marks a major intervention into the underexplored role of the comic and its relationship to irony in German letters.
Combining theoretical breadth with close textual analysis, Erica Weitzman shows how irony, a key term for the German romantics, reemerged in the early twentieth century from a postromantic relegation to the nonsensical and the nihilistic in a way that both rethought romantic irony and dramatically extended its reach.
Through readings of works by Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Roth against the rich history of comic theory (particularly Hegel and Freud), Weitzman traces the development of a specifically comic irony in modern German-language literature and philosophy, a play with the irony that is itself the condition for all play. She thus provides a crucial reevaluation of German literary history and offers new insights into the significance of irony and the comic from the Enlightenment to the present day.
Among the avant-garde of the early twentieth century, the German movement remains one of the least understood in the current avant-garde and modernism debates. Rainer Rumold fills this gap with the first large-scale reassessment of the heyday and afterlife of German expressionist and Dada productions as a prolonged crisis of literary culture.
Jurek Becker, the author of the first comic novel on the Holocaust, Jacob the Liar, and other highly acclaimed works, was one of West Germany's most famous exiles from the GDR. A survivor of the Shoah-his mother died in a Nazi death camp-and witness to the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, Becker endured most of the trials that Jews experienced in Europe from the onset of World War II to the end of the Cold War.
In the first biography of this fascinating figure, Sander Gilman tells the story of Becker's life in five worlds: the Polish-Jewish middle-class neighborhood where Becker was born; the Warsaw ghetto and the concentration camps where Becker spent his childhood; the socialist order of the GDR, which Becker idealized, resisted, and finally was forced to leave; the isolated world of West Berlin, where he settled down to continue his writing; and the new, reunified Germany, for which Becker served as both conscience and inspiration.
Gilman was close friends with Becker for nearly thirty years, and his biography is based on unprecedented access to both the man and his papers. As Gilman reveals, Becker's story encapsulates the fractured experience of life in twentieth-century Europe, a time and place in which political systems and national borders were constantly in flux. The life of Becker, we learn, was one of great literary achievement and notoriety, but it was also one of profound cultural dislocation. An important theme in the book is Becker's struggle with his Jewishness, an identity he repressed in socialist East Germany, but embraced after reunification, when he found himself at the center of Jewish culture and literature.
Sander Gilman's story of Jurek Becker is biography of the highest order, a portrait of an extraordinarily gifted artist whose hope and courage are manifested in his legacy as one of the greatest German writers of the past century.
Kafka's Blues proves the startling thesis that many of Kafka's major works engage in a coherent, sustained meditation on racial transformation from white European into what Kafka refers to as the "Negro" (a term he used in English). Indeed, this book demonstrates that cultural assimilation and bodily transformation in Kafka's work are impossible without passage through a state of being "Negro." Kafka represents this passage in various ways—from reflections on New World slavery and black music to evolutionary theory, biblical allusion, and aesthetic primitivism—each grounded in a concept of writing that is linked to the perceived congenital musicality of the "Negro," and which is bound to his wider conception of aesthetic production. Mark Christian Thompson offers new close readings of canonical texts and undervalued letters and diary entries set in the context of the afterlife of New World slavery and in Czech and German popular culture.
Endings are not just singular moments in time but the outcomes of a process. And whatever a book’s conclusion, its form has a history. Literary Conclusions presents a new theory of textual endings in eighteenth-century literature and thought. Analyzing essential works by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Heinrich von Kleist, Oliver Simons shows how the emergence of new kinds of literary endings around 1800 is inextricably linked to the history of philosophical and scientific concepts.
Simons examines the interrelations of Lessing’s literary endings with modes of logical conclusion; he highlights how Goethe’s narrative closures are forestalled by an uncontrollable vital force that was discussed in the sciences of the time; and he reveals that Kleist conceived of literary genres themselves as forms of reasoning. Kleist’s endings, Simons demonstrates, mark the beginning of modernism. Through close readings of these authors and supplemental analyses of works by Walter Benjamin, Friedrich Hölderlin, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, he crafts an elegant theory of conclusions that revises established histories of literary genres and forms.
June J. Hwang’s provocative Lost in Time explores discourses of timelessness in the works of central figures of German modernity such as Walter Benjamin, Georg Simmel, Siegfried Kracauer, and Helmuth Plessner, as well as those of Alfred Döblin, Joseph Roth, and Hugo Bettauer. Hwang argues that in the Weimar Republic the move toward ahistoricization is itself a historical phenomenon, one that can be understood by exploring the intersections of discourses about urban modernity, the stranger, and German Jewish identity.
These intersections shed light on conceptions of German Jewish identity that rely on a negation of the specific and temporal as a way to legitimize a historical outsider position, creating a dynamic position that simultaneously challenges and acknowledges the limitations of an outsider’s agency. She reads these texts as attempts to transcend the particular, attempts that paradoxically reveal the entanglement of the particular and the universal.
In The Making of a Terrorist, Jeffrey Champlin examines key figures from three canonical texts from the German-language literature of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: Goethe’s Gotz von Berlichingen, Schiller’s Die Rauber, and Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas. Champlin situates these readings within a larger theoretical and historical context, exploring the mechanics, aesthetics, and poetics of terror while explicating the emergence of the terrorist personality in modernity. In engaging and accessible prose, Champlin explores the ethical dimensions of violence and interrogates an ethics of textual violence.
Eberhard Happel, German Baroque author of an extensive body of work of fiction and nonfiction, has for many years been categorized as a “courtly-gallant” novelist. In Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel, author Gerhild Scholz Williams argues that categorizing him thus is to seriously misread him and to miss out on a fascinating perspective on this dynamic period in German history.
Happel primarily lived and worked in the vigorous port city of Hamburg, which was a “media center” in terms of the access it offered to a wide library of books in public and private collections. Hamburg’s port status meant it buzzed with news and information, and Happel drew on this flow of data in his novels. His books deal with many topics of current interest—national identity formation, gender and sexualities, Western European encounters with neighbors to the East, confrontations with non-European and non-Western powers and cultures—and they feature multiple media, including news reports, news collections, and travel writings. As a result, Happel’s use of contemporary source material in his novels feeds our current interest in the impact of the production of knowledge on seventeenth-century narrative. Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel explores the narrative wealth and multiversity of Happel’s work, examines Happel’s novels as illustrative of seventeenth-century novel writing in Germany, and investigates the synergistic relationship in Happel’s writings between the booming print media industry and the evolution of the German novel.
What does medieval literature look like from the point of view not of knights and ladies, but of treasure, and rings, nets and the grail? How does medieval literature imagine the agency of material things, and what exactly distinguishes human subjects from inanimate objects? Medieval Things: Agency, Materiality, and Narratives of Objects in Medieval German Literature and Beyond brings together a theoretically informed and politically engaged new materialist approach with a study of how everyday objects are understood in medieval literature. Bettina Bildhauer argues that medieval narratives can inspire current critical theory on agency and materiality. She focuses on famous and forgotten German narratives from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, including Wolfram of Eschenbach’s Parzival and the epic Song of the Nibelungs, and sets them in their global context. Many such tales can be reconceptualized as “thing biographies”—stories that follow the trajectory not of a human hero but of a coin, a gown, a treasure, or a ring. Many also use nets and networks to conceptualize dangerous structures of knowledge. Shine, glamour, and charisma emerge as particularly powerful ways in which material things exert a kind of agency that is neither pseudo-human nor fetishistic. In analyzing details like these from medieval literature, Bildhauer thus contributes in new ways to current theory on agency and materiality.
In the globalised world of today, traditional definitions of national Self and national Other no longer hold. The unmistakable transformation of German and Dutch societies demands a thorough rethinking of national boundaries on several levels. This book examines how literature of migration intervenes in public discourses on multiculturality in Germany and the Netherlands, epitomised in the strikingly parallel debates on the ‘German Leitkultur’ and the Dutch ‘multicultural drama’ in the year 2000. By juxtaposing detailed analyses of literary work by the Turkish-German writers Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Feridun Zaimoglu and the Moroccan-Dutch writers Abdelkader Benali and Hafid Bouazza, New Germans, New Dutch offers crucial insights into the specific ways in which this literature negotiates its national context of writing. This book demonstrates how German literature of migration seeks alternative forms of community outside the national parameters, whereas the Dutch literature negotiates difference and re-imagines Dutchness within the national framework.
In No One's Witness Rachel Zolf activates the last three lines of a poem by Jewish Nazi holocaust survivor Paul Celan—“No one / bears witness for the / witness”—to theorize the poetics and im/possibility of witnessing. Drawing on black studies, continental philosophy, queer theory, experimental poetics, and work by several writers and artists, Zolf asks what it means to witness from the excessive, incalculable position of No One. In a fragmentary and recursive style that enacts the monstrous speech it pursues, No One's Witness demonstrates the necessity of confronting the Nazi holocaust in relation to transatlantic slavery and its afterlives. Thinking along with black feminist theory's notions of entangled swarm, field, plenum, chorus, No One's Witness interrogates the limits and thresholds of witnessing, its dangerous perhaps. No One operates outside the bounds of the sovereign individual, hauntologically informed by the fleshly no-thingness that has been historically ascribed to blackness and that blackness enacts within, apposite to, and beyond the No One. No One bears witness to becomings beyond comprehension, making and unmaking monstrous forms of entangled future anterior life.
Even a casual perusal of seventeenth-century European print production makes clear that the Turk was on everyone’s mind. Europe’s confrontation of and interaction with the Ottoman Empire in the face of what appeared to be a relentless Ottoman expansion spurred news delivery and literary production in multiple genres, from novels and sermons to calendars and artistic representations. The trans-European conversation stimulated by these media, most importantly the regularly delivered news reports, not only kept the public informed but provided the basis for literary conversations among many seventeenth-century writers, three of whom form the center of this inquiry: Daniel Speer (1636-1707), Eberhard Werner Happel (1647-1690), and Erasmus Francisci (1626-1694). The expansion of the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries offers the opportunity to view these writers' texts in the context of Europe and from a more narrowly defined Ottoman Eurasian perspective.
Ottoman Eurasia in Early Modern German Literature: Cultural Translations (Francisci, Happel, Speer) explores the variety of cultural and commercial conversations between Europe and Ottoman Eurasia as they negotiated their competing economic and hegemonic interests. Brought about by travel, trade, diplomacy, and wars, these conversations were, by definition, “cross-cultural” and diverse. They eroded the antagonism of “us and them,” the notion of the European center and the Ottoman periphery that has historically shaped the view of European-Ottoman interactions.
Post-Fascist Fantasies examines the cultural function of the novels of communist authors in East Germany from a psychoanalytic angle. Various critics have argued that these socialist realist fictions were monolithic attempts to translate Communist dogma into the realm of aesthetics. Julia Hell argues to the contrary that they were in fact complex fictions sharing the theme of antifascism, the founding discourse of the German Democratic Republic. Employing an approach informed by Slavoj Zizek’s work on the Communist’s sublime body and by British psychoanalytic feminism’s concern with feminine subjectivity, Hell first examines the antifascist works by exiled authors and authors tied to the resistance movement. She then strives to understand the role of Christa Wolf, the GDR’s most prominent author, in the GDR’s effort to reconstruct symbolic power after the Nazi period. By focusing on the unconscious fantasies about post-fascist body and post-fascist voice that suffuse the texts of Wolf and others, Hell radically reconceptualizes the notion of the author’s subjective authenticity. Since this notion occupies a key position in previous literary-historical accounts of East German culture, Hell’s psychoanalytic approach problematizes the established literary model of an "authentic feminine voice" that gradually liberates itself from the GDR’s dominant ideological narrative. Far from operating solely on a narrowly political level, the novels of Wolf and others were intricate family sagas portraying psychic structures linked in complex ways to the GDR’s social dynamics. Hell traces this link through East German literatrure’s dominant narrative, a paternal narrative organized around the figure of the Communist father as antifascist hero.
Around 1800, print culture became a particularly rich source for metaphors about thinking as well as writing, nowhere more so than in the German tradition of Dichter und Denker. Goethe, Jean Paul, and Hegel (among many others) used the preface in order to reflect on the problems of writing itself, and its interpretation. If Sterne teaches us that a material book enables mind games as much as it gives expression to them, the Germans made these games more theoretical still. Weaving in authors from Antiquity to Agamben, Williams shows how European–and, above all, German–Romanticism was a watershed in the history of the preface. The playful, paradoxical strategies that Romantic writers invented are later played out in continental philosophy, and in post-Structuralist literature. The preface is a prompt for playful thinking with texts, as much as it is conventionally the prosaic product of such an exercise.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
If realist novels are the literary avatars of secular science and rational progress, then why are so many canonical realist works organized around a fear of that progress? Realism is openly indebted, at the level of form and content, to imperialist and scientific advances. However, critical emphasis on this has obscured the extent to which major novelists of the period openly worried about the fate of mystery and the dissolution of tradition that accompanied science’s shrinking of the world. Realism’s modernization is inseparable from nostalgia.
In Realism’s Empire: Empiricism and Enchantment in the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Geoffrey Baker demonstrates that realist fiction’s stance toward both progress and the foreign or supernatural is much more complex than established scholarship has assumed. The work of Honoré de Balzac, Anthony Trollope, and Theodor Fontane explicitly laments the loss of mystery in the world due to increased knowledge and exploration. To counter this loss and to generate the complications required for narrative, these three authors import peripheral, usually colonial figures into the metropolitan centers they otherwise depict as disenchanted and rationalized: Paris, London, and Berlin. Baker’s book examines the consequences of this duel for realist narrative and readers’ understandings of its historical moment. In so doing, Baker shows Balzac, Trollope, and Fontane grappling with new realities that frustrate their inherited means of representation and oversee a significant shift in the development of the novel.
The first major study in English of nineteenth-century German women writers, this book examines their social and cultural milieu along with the layers of interpretation and representation that inform their writing.
Studying a period of German literary history that has been largely ignored by modern readers, Ruth-Ellen Boetcher Joeres demonstrates that these writings offer intriguing opportunities to examine such critical topics as canon formation; the relationship between gender, class, and popular culture; and women, professionalism, and technology. The writers she explores range from Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, who managed to work her way into the German canon, to the popular serial novelist E. Marlitt, from liberal writers such as Louise Otto and Fanny Lewald, to the virtually unknown novelist and journalist Claire von Glümer. Through this investigation, Boetcher Joeres finds ambiguities, compromises, and subversions in these texts that offer an extensive and informative look at the exciting and transformative epoch that so much shaped our own.
"All art should become science and all science art; poetry and philosophy should be made one." Friedrich Schlegel's words perfectly capture the project of the German Romantics, who believed that the aesthetic approaches of art and literature could reveal patterns and meaning in nature that couldn't be uncovered through rationalistic philosophy and science alone. In this wide-ranging work, Robert J. Richards shows how the Romantic conception of the world influenced (and was influenced by) both the lives of the people who held it and the development of nineteenth-century science.
Integrating Romantic literature, science, and philosophy with an intimate knowledge of the individuals involved—from Goethe and the brothers Schlegel to Humboldt and Friedrich and Caroline Schelling—Richards demonstrates how their tempestuous lives shaped their ideas as profoundly as their intellectual and cultural heritage. He focuses especially on how Romantic concepts of the self, as well as aesthetic and moral considerations—all tempered by personal relationships—altered scientific representations of nature. Although historians have long considered Romanticism at best a minor tributary to scientific thought, Richards moves it to the center of the main currents of nineteenth-century biology, culminating in the conception of nature that underlies Darwin's evolutionary theory.
Uniting the personal and poetic aspects of philosophy and science in a way that the German Romantics themselves would have honored, The Romantic Conception of Life alters how we look at Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology.
The Early Romantics met resistance from artists and academics alike in part because they defied the conventional wisdom that philosophy and the arts must be kept separate. Indeed, as the literary component of Romanticism has been studied and celebrated in recent years, its philosophical aspect has receded from view. This book, by one of the most respected scholars of the Romantic era, offers an explanation of Romanticism that not only restores but enhances understanding of the movement's origins, development, aims, and accomplishments--and of its continuing relevance.
Poetry is in fact the general ideal of the Romantics, Frederick Beiser tells us, but only if poetry is understood not just narrowly as poems but more broadly as things made by humans. Seen in this way, poetry becomes a revolutionary ideal that demanded--and still demands--that we transform not only literature and criticism but all the arts and sciences, that we break down the barriers between art and life, so that the world itself becomes "romanticized." Romanticism, in the view Beiser opens to us, does not conform to the contemporary division of labor in our universities and colleges; it requires a multifaceted approach of just the sort outlined in this book.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Romanticism Now and Then 1. The Meaning of "Romantic Poetry" 2. Early German Romanticism: A. Characteristic 3. Early Romanticism and the AufklÃƒÂ¤rung 4. FrÃƒÂ¼hromantik and Platonic Tradition 5. The Sovereignty of Art 6. The Concept of Bildung Early German Romanticism 7. Friedrich Schlegel: The Mysterious Romantic 8. The Paradox of Romantic Metaphysics 9. Kant and the Naturphilosophen 10. Religion and Politics in FrÃƒÂ¼hromantik
Abbreviations Notes Bibliography Index
This is an excellent book. Its ten chapters are much more accessible and often clearer than the larger classic tomes on the subject. Each takes up a very significant topic and is sure to be read with profit by a wide range of readers - whether they are new to the field or already quite familiar with it. The book concerns an era, Early German Romanticism, that is properly becoming a major focus of new research. This volume could become one of the most helpful steps in making the area part of the canon for Anglophone scholars in all fields today. It is surely one of the best remedies for correcting out of date images of the work of the German romantics as regressive, obscurantist, or irrelevant. Early German Romanticism extends and modifies the project of the Enlightenment. The author shows that it deserves our attention not only because it is an era represented by some of the most interesting and creative personalities in our cultural history, but also because its main line of thought is responsible for a way of thinking central to our own time, namely a naturalism that might be expansive enough to do justice to traditional interests in the unique value of human freedom. --Karl Ameriks, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
This book is a very fine and erudite study. It is impressively wide-ranging: literature, metaphysics, political philosophy, science, ethics, and religion all come seriously into play. It almost functions as an introduction to Early German Romanticism at a very high though not forbidding level. --Ian Balfour, Professor of English, York University
People have long imagined themselves as rooted creatures, bound to the earth—and nations—from which they came. In Rootedness, Christy Wampole looks toward philosophy, ecology, literature, history, and politics to demonstrate how the metaphor of the root—surfacing often in an unexpected variety of places, from the family tree to folk etymology to the language of exile—developed in twentieth-century Europe.
Wampole examines both the philosophical implications of this metaphor and its political evolution. From the root as home to the root as genealogical origin to the root as the past itself, rootedness has survived in part through its ability to subsume other compelling metaphors, such as the foundation, the source, and the seed. With a focus on this concept’s history in France and Germany, Wampole traces its influence in diverse areas such as the search for the mystical origins of words, land worship, and nationalist rhetoric, including the disturbing portrayal of the Jews as an unrooted, and thus unrighteous, people. Exploring the works of Martin Heidegger, Simone Weil, Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Celan, and many more, Rootedness is a groundbreaking study of a figure of speech that has had wide-reaching—and at times dire—political and social consequences.
Sex Changes with Kleist
Katrin Pahl Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PT2379.Z5P34 2019 | Dewey Decimal 838.609
Sex Changes with Kleist analyzes how the dramatist and poet Heinrich von Kleist (1777–1811) responded to the change in the conception of sex and gender that occurred in the eighteenth century. Specifically, Katrin Pahl shows that Kleist resisted the shift from a one-sex to the two-sex and complementary gender system that is still prevalent today. With creative close readings engaging all eight of his plays, Pahl probes Kleist’s appreciation for incoherence, his experimentation with alternative symbolic orders, his provocative understanding of emotion, and his camp humor. Pahl demonstrates that rather than preparing modern homosexuality, Kleist puts an end to modern gender norms even before they take hold and refuses the oppositional organization of sexual desire into homosexual and heterosexual that sprouts from these norms.
Focusing on the theatricality of Kleist’s interventions in the performance of gender, sexuality, and emotion and examining how his dramatic texts unhinge major tenets of classical European theater, Sex Changes with Kleist is vital reading for anyone interested in queer studies, feminist studies, performance studies, literary studies, or emotion studies. This book changes our understanding of Kleist and breathes new life into queer thought.
A testament to the "spirit of poesy" that informs the life and work of Geza von Molnar, this volume of essays comes together around his principal preoccupations: the philosophical foundations of Goethe's writings, the structure and reception of German romanticism, the ethics of reading, and the fate of European Jewry. At the center of this work is the idea of a genuinely free humanity -- from its ambiguous presence in the aesthetic projects of Goethe and German romanticism to its utter absence in the Nazi extermination camps. Combining works in philosophy, literature, and Jewish studies by established and younger scholars, this collection contributes significantly to an understanding of German culture.
A figure of reflexivity, narcissism describes a relation between self and other mediated through the mirror or reflection. As such, the concept might help us to consider how what we come to know as the other, or the object, is always the result of a process of image-making. It is in this suggestive sense that narcissism interests Caroline Rupprecht in Subject to Delusions.
Because "the other," or the object, is constructed, Rupprecht finds in narcissism the possibility of rewriting notions of identity. She then pursues this possibility through modern literary texts in which narcissism acts as a structuring principle—works by the expressionist poet Henriette Hardenberg, the American avant-garde novelist Djuna Barnes, and the surrealist writer Unica Zürn—reading each within the critical framework of the evolution of the idea of narcissism in psychoanalytic theory. All written by women, these works also raise questions of gender and sexuality. Moreover, because each of these authors belonged to or was influenced by a particular literary movement, Rupprecht's analysis advances our understanding of the poetics of these movements and of the movement of modernism itself. Underlying all is a deep engagement with psychoanalytic theory. Drawing on Freud, his contemporaries and rivals, Jacques Lacan, Melanie Klein, and many other theorists, Rupprecht interrogates preconceived notions of identity and subjectivity through her readings of the "transgressive potential" of narcissism as it is enacted in the texts under study. Bringing the works of literary modernism and psychoanalysis together in an innovative and provocative way, her book succeeds in enhancing our sense of both, and in clarifying the complex role of narcissism in our cultural narrative.
Theory as Practice was first published in 1997. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In light of recent, dramatic revisions in criticism of European-particularly German-Romanticism, this anthology brings together key texts of the movement, especially those written in the last quarter of the eighteenth century by a small, influential circle centered at Jena.
In their introductory essays, the editors locate writings by Fichte, Schelling, Novalis, August Wilhelm Schlegel, and Friedrich Schlegel, among others, in this context. The selections include extensive excerpts from the correspondence of the Jena Romantics, their commentaries on each other's work, their most pertinent essays, fragments, and dialogues as well as diary entries and reviews. These works, together with the editors' articulation and elaboration of their significance, provide a new perspective on the provenance of postmodern thought and literary theory.
Jochen Schulte-Sasse is professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota and coeditor (with Wlad Godzich) of the Theory and History of Literature series at the University of Minnesota Press. Haynes Horne (University of Alabama), Andreas Michel (Indiana University), Assenka Oksiloff (New York University), Elizabeth Mittman (Michigan State University), Lisa C. Roetzel (University of Rochester), and Mary R. Strand each received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
In Transculturality and German Discourse in the Age of European Colonialism, Chunjie Zhang examines the South Pacific travel writings of George Forster and Adelbert von Chamisso, literary works by August von Kotzebue and Johann Joachim Campe, Herder’s philosophy of history, and Kant’s theory of geography from the perspective of non-European impact during the age of Europe’s colonial expansion. She explores what these texts show about German and European superiority, the critique of the slave trade, European moral debauchery, acknowledgments of non-European cultural achievements, and sympathy with colonized peoples. Moving beyond the question of empire versus enlightenment, Zhang’s book diligently detects global connections, offering much to scholars of literature, culture, and intellectual history.
The Translated Jew brings together an eclectic set of literary and visual texts to reimagine the transnational potential for German Jewish culture in the twenty-first century. Departing from scholarship that has located the German Jewish text as an object that can be defined geographically and historically, Leslie Morris challenges national literary historiography and redraws the maps by which transnational Jewish culture and identity must be read.
Morris explores the myriad acts of translation, actual and metaphorical, through which Jewishness leaves its traces, taking as a given the always provisional nature of Jewish text and Jewish language. Although the focus is on contemporary German Jewish literary cultures, The Translated Jew also turns its attention to a number of key visual and architectural projects by American, British, and French artists and writers, including W. G. Sebald, Anne Blonstein, Hélène Cixous, Ulrike Mohr, Daniel Blaufuks, Paul Celan, Raymond Federman, and Rose Ausländer.
In thus realigning German Jewish culture with European and American Jewish culture and post-Holocaust aesthetics, this book explores the circulation of Jewishness between the United States and Europe. The insistence on the polylingualism of any single language and the multidirectionality of Jewishness are at the very center of The Translated Jew.
Winner of the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award
Recipient, 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship
Around 1900, when the last blank spaces on their maps were filled, Europeans traveled to far-flung places hoping to find the spectacularly foreign. They discovered instead what Freud called, several years later, the uncannily familiar: disturbing reflections of themselves—either actual Europeans or Westernized natives. This experience was most extreme for German travelers, who arrived in the contact zones late, on the heels of other European colonialists, and it resulted not in understanding or tolerance but in an increased propensity for violence and destruction. The quest for a “virginal,” exotic existence proved to be ruined at its source, mirroring back to the travelers demonic parodies of their own worst aspects. In this strikingly original book, John Zilcosky demonstrates how these popular “uncanny” encounters influenced Freud’s—and the literary modernists’—use of the term, and how these encounters remain at the heart of our cross-cultural anxieties today.
“What a strange invention marriage is!” wrote Kierkegaard. “Is it the expression of that inexplicable erotic sentiment, that concordant elective affinity of souls, or is it a duty or a partnership . . . or is it a little of all that?”
Like Kierkegaard a few decades later, many of Germany’s most influential thinkers at the turn of the eighteenth century wondered about the nature of marriage but rejected the easy answers provided by biology and theology. In Uncivil Unions, Adrian Daub presents a truly interdisciplinary look at the story of a generation of philosophers, poets, and intellectuals who turned away from theology, reason, common sense, and empirical observation to provide a purely metaphysical justification of marriage.
Through close readings of philosophers like Fichte and Schlegel, and novelists like Sophie Mereau and Jean Paul, Daub charts the development of this new concept of marriage with an insightful blend of philosophy, cultural studies, and theory. The author delves deeply into the lives and work of the romantic and idealist poets and thinkers whose beliefs about marriage continue to shape ideas about gender, marriage, and sex to the present day.
Underworlds of Memory argues persuasively that the literary works of the expatriate German author W. G. Sebald can best be understood through the lens of the classical genre of epic.
Scholars often read Sebald’s work as a project of cultural memory that aims to reevaluate Europe's past in the wake of the traumatic and complex events of the twentieth century. Sebald’s characters seek out the traces of Europe’s destructive history in strange places. They linger in disused train stations, pause before works of art, and return to childhood homes that turn out to be more foreign than any place they have visited. Underworlds of Memory demonstrates that these strange encounters with the past are based on central tropes of classical epic: the journey to the underworld, the encounter with a work of art, and the return to the homeland.
Sebald thus follows in the footsteps of German Jewish authors, including Peter Weiss, Siegfried Kracauer, and Jean Améry, who use these same epic tropes to reconsider the cultural memory of the Holocaust. Underworlds of Memory reads Sebald's works together with the works of these German Jewish authors and the classical epics of Homer and Virgil in order to describe and trace the origins of the unique intervention into cultural memory they embody.
The term "Untranslatables" is rooted in two explorations of translation written originally in German: Walter Benjamin's now ubiquitous "The Task of the Translator" and Goethe's extensive notes to his "tradaptation" of mystical Persian poetry. The essays collected in Un/Translatables unite two inescapable interventions in contemporary translation discourses: the concept of "Untranslatables" as points of productive resistance, and the Germanic tradition as the primary dialogue partner for translation studies. The essays collected in the volume pursue the critical itineraries that would result if "Untranslatables," as discussed in Barbara Cassin's Dictionary of Untranslatables, were returned, productively estranged, to their original German context. Thus, these essays explore Untranslatables across Germanic literatures—German, Yiddish, Dutch, and Afrikaans—and follow trajectories into Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, English, and Scots.
The Virginal Mother in German Culture presents an innovative and thorough analysis of the contradictory obsession with female virginity and idealization of maternal nature in Germany from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Lauren Nossett explores how the complex social ideal of woman as both a sexless and maternal being led to the creation of a unique figure in German literature: the virginal mother. At the same time, she shows that the literary depictions of virginal mothers correspond to vilified biological mother figures, which point to a perceived threat in the long nineteenth century of the mother’s procreative power.
Examining the virginal mother in the first novel by a German woman (Sophie von La Roche), canonical texts by Goethe, nineteenth-century popular fiction, autobiographical works, and Thea von Harbou’s novel Metropolis and Fritz Lang’s film by the same name, this book highlights the virginal mother at pivotal moments in German history and cultural development: the entrance of women into the literary market, the Goethezeit, the foundation of the German Empire, and the volatile Weimar Republic. The Virginal Mother in German Culture will be of interest to students and scholars of German literature, history, cultural and social studies, and women’s studies.
Nazi Germany’s book burnings, its campaign against “degenerate art,” and its persecution of experimental artists pushed the avant garde to the brink of extinction. How the avant-garde came back, finding a new purpose in the wake of the war, is the subject of Visions of Violence.
An extreme faction of aesthetic modernity intent on bulldozing contemporary life, the avant-garde has regularly employed visions of violence in their push for societal and cultural renewal. But in the shadow of unparalleled war and genocide, such aesthetic violence lost its force. This book explores the reconfiguration of the avant-garde in response to the violent transformation of European reality. Citing the emergence of independent avant-garde practitioners in the place of the previous collective, Richard Langston considers six individual exemplars of Germany’s post-fascist avant-garde—works that span the last six decades: painter, writer, and filmmaker Peter Weiss’s appropriation of French surrealism in the fifties; writer Dieter Wellershoff’s coterie of “new realists”; artist Wolf Vostell’s mediation and conflation of the experiences of the Auschwitz trials and the Vietnam War; poet and novelist Dieter Brinkmann’s collages from the seventies; the multimedia displacements of Alexander Kluge; and the performative engagements of dramatists Christoph Schlingensief and Rene Pollesch.
Taking stock of the evolution of Germany’s post-fascist avant-gardes, Langston’s book shows how the movement from Weiss to Pollesch exhibits the problems that both modernity and postmodernity pose for an aesthetic engagement of Germany’s violent past.
In 2003, Lebanese writer Rashid al-Daif spent several weeks in Germany as part of the “West-East Divan” program, a cultural exchange effort meant to improve mutual awareness of German and Middle Eastern cultures. He was paired with German author Joachim Helfer, who then returned the visit to al-Daif in Lebanon. Following their time together, al-Daif published in Arabic a literary reportage of his encounter with Helfer in which he focuses on the German writer’s homosexuality. His frank observations have been variously read as trenchant, naïve, or offensive. In response, Helfer provided an equally frank point-by-point riposte to al-Daif’s text. Together these writers offer a rare exploration of attitudes toward sex, love, and gender across cultural lines. By stretching the limits of both fiction and essay, they highlight the importance of literary sensitivity in understanding the Other.
Rashid al-Daif’s “novelized biography” and Joachim Helfer’s commentary appear for the first time in English translation in What Makes a Man? Sex Talk in Beirut and Berlin. Also included in this volume are essays by specialists in Arabic and German literature that shed light on the discourse around sex between these two authors from different cultural contexts.
Analyzing literary texts and films, White Rebels in Black shows how German authors have since the 1950s appropriated black popular culture, particularly music, to distance themselves from the legacy of Nazi Germany, authoritarianism, and racism, and how such appropriation changes over time. Priscilla Layne offers a critique of how blackness came to symbolize a positive escape from the hegemonic masculinity of postwar Germany, and how black identities have been represented as separate from, and in opposition to, German identity, foreclosing the possibility of being both black and German. Citing four autobiographies published by black German authors Hans Jürgen Massaquo, Theodor Michael, Günter Kaufmann, and Charly Graf, Layne considers how black German men have related to hegemonic masculinity since Nazi Germany, and concludes with a discussion on the work of black German poet, Philipp Khabo Köpsell.
Womb Fantasies examines the womb, an invisible and mysterious space invested with allegorical significance, as a metaphorical space in postwar cinematic and literary texts grappling with the trauma of post-holocaust, postmodern existence. In addition, it examines the representation of visible spaces in the texts in terms of their attribution with womb-like qualities. The framing of the study historically within the postwar era begins with a discussion of Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair in the context of the Cold War’s need for safety in light of the threat of nuclear destruction, and ranges over films such as Marguerite Duras’ and Alan Resnais’ film Hiroshima mon amour and Duras’ novel The Vice-Consul, exploring the ways that such cultural texts fantasize the womb as a response to trauma, defined as the compulsive need to return to the site of loss, a place envisioned as both a secure space and a prison. The womb fantasy is linked to the desire to recreate an identity that is new and original but ahistorical.
The publication of Martha B. Helfer’s The Word Unheard: Legacies of Anti-Semitism in German Literature and Culture marks a stunningly original new direction in the interpretation of canonical works of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German literature.
Between 1749 and 1850—the formative years of the so-called Jewish Question in Germany—the emancipation debates over granting full civil and political rights to Jews provided the topical background against which all representations of Jewish characters and concerns in literary texts were read. Helfer focuses sharply on these debates and demonstrates through close readings of works by Gotthold Lessing, Friedrich Schiller, Achim von Arnim, Annette von Droste- Hülshoff, Adalbert Stifter, and Franz Grillparzer how disciplinary practices within the field of German studies have led to systematic blind spots in the scholarship on anti-Semitism to date.
While all the authors discussed are well known and justly celebrated, the particular works addressed represent an effective mix of enduring classics and less recognized, indeed often scandalously overlooked, texts whose consideration leads to a reevaluation of the author’s more mainstream oeuvre. Although some of the works and authors chosen have previously been noted for their anti-Semitic proclivities, the majority have not, and some have even been marked by German scholarship as philo-Semitic—a view that The Word Unheard undertakes not so much to refute as to complicate, and in the process to question not only these texts but also the deafness of the German scholarly tradition. With implications that reach into many disciplines, The Word Unheard will be a foundational study for all scholars of modern Germany.