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Monatshefte

Volume 102, Number 4, Winter 2010 Table of Contents

Articles

Johannes Anderegg
„Grenzsteine der Kunst“. Goethes Gattungspoetik und die Arbeit an Faust
Abstract:
Goethe’s correspondence with Schiller concerning the theory of genres (1797) and its offshoot, i.e., the treatise Über epische und dramatische Dichtung are often considered to be the climax of Goethe’s classicism. The thesis is wide-spread that Goethe sought normative concepts of epos and drama, primarily as criteria for his own poetic production. However, not one of the works Goethe was writing or publishing at that time corresponds with the theory he and Schiller tried to derive from Homer and Sophocles. On the contrary, his poetic productivity seems to have undermined his theoretical efforts. In 1797 he was working on Faust and this meant shifting more and more towards a non-classical or even anti-classical concept of drama. It was only thirty years later that the treatise Über epische und dramatische Dichtung was published, together with some of Goethe’s and Schiller’s letters: not as an attempt to foster classicist views but rather as a documentation of historical change and of skepticism. (JA; in German)

 

Peter Sprengel
Fantasies of the Origin and Dreams of Breeding: Darwinism in German and Austrian Literature around 1900
Abstract:
A reckoning with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the conclusions derived therefrom by the Jena biologist Ernst Haeckel, left significant traces in the writings of several generations of German-language authors around 1900. While the milieu of Bourgeois Realism is primarily shocked at the thesis of the “struggle of existence” and the newly asserted “ape kinship”, representatives of naturalism foreground their satisfaction with the connectedness of the human with the entire world—under the sign of monism—and with the valorization of natural sexuality. The teleological view of evolutionary history cultivated here also leads to different perspectives on the “breeding” of a “new-” or “superman,” as was formulated philosophically primarily by Nietzsche, and in literature most markedly by Lasswitz (and in 1933 by Benn). Yet such optimistic hopes for the future are later met by profound skepticism: already in Nietzsche’s thought, in the poesie of later modernism, and even in the late works of Hauptmann. This skepticism clarifies the longing, dominant in Expressionism, for regression back to early stages of development, as well as the vision of a new barbarism, which is related in Döblin’s novel Mountains, Seas and Giants to horrific ideas of new forms of breeding, and hybrid beings. (PS; in German)

 

Marcus Bullock
Replik
Falling Motion, Endless Moment: Reading to the End of Kafka’s “Urteil”

Abstract:
The way the father in Kafka’s “Das Urteil” has come to figure as a symbol illustrates the strange fate that overtakes central features of a literary work when symptomatic readings neglect the development of such motifs within the integrity of a narrative. Reading a literary work by fragmenting it and interpreting each motif outside its situation and function in the body of the text, but instead according to the authority of an extraneous system of symbolic equivalents, subordinates everything to the incompatible relationship between these authorities. The resulting rampant multiplication of incommensurable meanings inclines critics to give up on the legibility of the text itself, as Andreas Härter recently noted in his Monatshefte review essay on Kafka criticism. The theoretical justifications for dismembering and disfiguring the body of a work mainly stress how enjoyably emancipating it is to do so. This paper investigates how enjoyable it may be not to. (MB)

 

Andreas Härter
Duplik
Der große Schwung der Abwendung. Zur Lesbarkeit Kafkas

Abstract:
Andreas Härter’s essay reviewing recent research publications on Kafka (Monatshefte 101.2, 2009) provoked a response from Marcus P. Bullock, which Härter in turn replied to. Härter’s rejoinder addresses the methodological assumptions and claims of Bullock’s reply; particularly his emphasis on the autonomous “work of art” in its structural unity and (narrative) integrity, his reservations about discourse analytical approaches, which are basically incompatible with his own concept of the autonomy of a work of art (the methodological shift of the past decades seems to become noticeable in this reluctance), and his rejection of deconstruction. Härter provides a reading of Kafka’s short tale “Gibs auf!” that considers deconstruction and the positioning of theory- and discourse-based interpretations while staying close to the text by reflecting primarily on its narrative and figural aspects. Subsequently the relation of text and reading (or of ‘work’ and research, respectively) indicates a peculiar discursive/metadiscursive ambivalence. (AH; in German)

 

Barbara Hales
Dancer in the Dark: Hypnosis, Trance-Dancing, and Weimar’s Fear of the New Woman
Abstract:
Many writers in the Weimar press viewed the liberated New Woman as undermining traditional gender roles and, thus, as posing a threat to the entire social order. This article will demonstrate the cultural resonance found in the Weimar popular media through an analysis of Anita Berber’s expressive dance and through female characters in films of the period (Fritz Lang’s 1927 film, Metropolis, and Arnold Fanck’s 1926 film, Der Heilige Berg [The Holy Mountain]) that unleash evil consequences upon their male protagonists. As background to this analysis, the article provides a detailed study of women engaged in hypnosis and trance-dancing. Like the New Woman, the trance-dancer is both an object of men’s desire and a femme fatale that threatens male subjectivity. (BH)

 

Personalia

Introduction, German Departments in the U.S.A., German Departments in Canada, Promotions, New Appointments, Visitors, Retirements, Necrology, Doctoral Dissertations, Summary

 

Book Reviews

Alloa, Emmanuel und Alice Lagaay, Hrsg., Nicht(s) sagen. Strategien der Sprachabwendung im 20. Jahrhundert (Stefan Greif)

Almond, Ian, History of Islam in German Thought: From Leibniz to Nietzsche (Kamakshi P. Murti)

Bade, James N., Fontane’s Landscapes (Frederick Betz)

Birkmeyer, Jens, Hrsg., “Blumenworte welkten”. Identität und Fremdheit in Rose Ausländers Lyrik (Jefford Vahlbusch)

Brüggemann, Heinz und Günter Oesterle, Hrsg., Walter Benjamin und die romantische Moderne (Rolf J. Goebel)

Campe, Rüdiger, Hrsg., Penthesileas Versprechen. Exemplarische Studien über die literarische Referenz (Erika Berroth)

Critchfield, Richard D., From Shakespeare to Frisch: The Provocative Fritz Kortner (Andreas Englhart)

Esterhammer, Angela, Romanticism and Improvisation, 1750–1850 (Sean Franzel)

Fleming, Paul, Exemplarity and Mediocrity: The Art of the Average from Bourgeois Tragedy to Realism (Brian Tucker)

Goebel, Rolf J., ed., A Companion to the Works of Walter Benjamin (Dirk Oschmann)

Haupt, Sabine und Stefan Bodo Würffel, Hrsg., Handbuch Fin de Siècle (Peter Zusi)

Holland, Jocelyn, German Romanticism and Science: The Procreative Poetics of Goethe, Novalis, and Ritter (Heather I. Sullivan)

Johannsen, Anja K., Kisten, Krypten, Labyrinthe. Raumfigurationen in der Gegenwartsliteratur: W.G. Sebald, Anne Duden, Herta Müller (Margaret R. McCarthy)

Koegel, John, Music in German Immigrant Theater: New York City, 1840–1940 (Alan Lareau)

Lützeler, Paul Michael, Bürgerkrieg global. Menschenrechtsethos und deutschsprachiger Gegenwartsroman (Monika Albrecht)

Mathäs, Alexander, Narcissism and Paranoia in the Age of Goethe (Ann Schmiesing)

Oschmann, Dirk, Friedrich Schiller (Klaus Berghahn)

Powell, Larson, The Technological Unconscious in German Modernist Literature: Nature in Rilke, Benn, Brecht, and Döblin (Christine Kanz)

Richter, Gerhard, Thought Images: Frankfurt School Writers’ Reflections from Damaged Life (Peter Gilgen)

Safranski, Rüdiger, Goethe und Schiller. Geschichte einer Freundschaft (Klaus L. Berghahn)

Schlüter, Kai, Günter Grass im Visier—Die Stasi-Akte. Eine Dokumentation mit Kommentaren von Günter Grass und Zeitzeugen (Siegfried Mews)

Sieg, Katrin, Choreographing the Global in European Cinema and Theater (Helga Kraft)

Wagner-Egelhaaf, Martina, Hrsg., Hermanns Schlachten. Zur Literaturgeschichte eines nationalen Mythos (Iulia-Karin Patrut)

Weber, Samuel, Benjamin’s –abilities (Uwe Steiner)

Wheatland, Thomas, The Frankfurt School in Exile (Hinrich C. Seeba)

Wirth, Uwe, Die Geburt des Autors aus dem Geist der Herausgeberfiktion. Editoriale Rahmung im Roman um 1800: Wieland, Goethe, Brentano, Jean Paul und E.T.A. Hoffmann (Rainer Godel)

Annual Index (2010)