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Monatshefte

Volume 104, Number 2, Summer 2012 Table of Contents

Articles

Jens Loescher
Traum, Physiologie, Biographie. Jean Pauls Schreiblabor
Abstract:
This article points at the historical constellation of Johannes von Müller’s and Johann Evangelista Pukinje’s physiological discourse on the one hand and Jean Paul’s reflections on writing as a corporeal act and its productive effects on the other. Subjective images’ (‘subjektive Bilder’), dreams, the concomitance of handwriting and brainwriting are topics that Jean Paul, the reading expert on novel discourses in medicine, addresses. The evolving writing strategies can be tracked in numerous manuscripts by the author’s hand; an early one from the “Satiren” will be presented here. Finally, the article deals with the complex interplay of literal productivity and the cognitive effects of writing—so significant in the case of a ‘paper worker’ who has produced more than 10,000 pages of aesthetic value in his life. (JL; in German)

 

Sara Luly
Emasculating Fear: Gothic and Gender in Caroline de la Motte Fouqué’s Der Cypressenkranz
Abstract:
In the wake of the Wars of Liberation, many conservative female writers, including Caroline de la Motte Fouqué, addressed what they perceived as a crisis of masculinity. Fouqué’s Gothic text Der Cypressenkranz (1816) can be read within the context of contemporary concerns regarding gender ambiguity. This article will explore Fouqué’s use of the Gothic mode to articulate the anxiety and fear surrounding the perceived loss of masculinity. Fouqué’s employment of Gothic motifs, which were well established by the time of the text’s publication, is innovative in her ability to establish and subsequently undermine genre expectations. Der Cypressenkranz therefore constitutes a unique contribution to German Gothic literature and to contemporary discussions of masculinity. (SL)

 

Patricia Czezior
Der Hessische Landbote und seine Lesbarkeit: Textstruktur, Adressatenbezug und Rezeption
Abstract:
The political pamphlet Der Hessische Landbote, a co-production of Georg Büchner and Ludwig Weidig, had always been regarded as a text destined to be mainly read by the rural population seeking to provoke a rebellion in the wake of the French revolution of 1830. Without contesting this principal aim, one must remember that at the time the illiteracy rate of the agricultural workers and other people of the rural underclass, the main target group of the text, was still very high. Even though Büchner and Weidig tried to take into account the low educational level of their addressees, it is doubtful whether there was ever a realistic chance to produce the desired effect, namely a rebellion or at least an awareness of the oppressive system, by distributing such a complex text with arguments and allusions that displays the profound education of its authors, but probably expects too much of its potential recipients. Besides, the pamphlet also shows elements which are clearly meant for a different target group, the bourgeoisie of the region. Taking into account these aspects the text is examined with respect to its unevenness and its potential recipients against the background of the sociocultural situation of the time. (PC; in German)

 

George F. Peters
“Jeder Reiche ist ein Judas Ischariot”: Heinrich Heine and the Emancipation of the Jews
Abstract:
Heinrich Heine is credited with being the first to apply the word “emancipation” to the cause of freedom and equality for those groups still enslaved by the tyranny of religious and political oppression in the post-revolutionary world of the early 19th century. Though his cosmopolitan thinking embraced the subjugated from Ireland to America, Heine was closest to the fate of his fellow Jews in Europe, and the term emancipation quickly became associated with the political and social movement for Jewish equality. Heine was directly affected by the shifting policies of the Germans states toward legal emancipation of the Jews. In the 1820s he actively participated in the first attempt of Jews to establish a Wissenschaft der Juden. His tortured struggle to reconcile his Jewishness with his calling as a German poet is recorded in writings and letters surrounding his baptism in 1825. Nevertheless, Heine remained aloof from the emancipation movement and was skeptical about the status of Jews in France, who had been emancipated for nearly forty years when Heine arrived in Paris. The roots of Heine’s largely negative judgment lie in his observation that the forces of early capitalism were undermining religious faith and that Jewish assimilation into bourgeois society necessitated the abandonment of those fundamental human values that characterize the essence of Judaism. (GP)

 

James Phillips
Eric Rohmer’s Die Marquise von O . . . , or Marriage Under Ambiguous Circumstances
Abstract:
Kleist’s “Die Marquise von O . . .”, as the story of a woman who learns to love her rapist, is baldly offensive. This has been insufficiently remarked in the literature, which has led to misappreciations of Rohmer’s film. By its omissions, accretions and displacements Rohmer’s adaptation opens up the hermeneutic setting in which the pregnant Marquise finds herself. Is it the Count or Leopardo who takes advantage of her once she slips into unconsciousness? The ambiguity wins for the film’s central couple a little freedom from tropes of the patriarchal domestication of women and introduces to the narrative the interpretative perplexity characteristic of Kleist’s other fictions. Rohmer also shifts the Count’s anecdote of the swan to the final scene where in the context of the reconciliation between the Count and the Marquise it—and with it the film as a whole—takes on the function of a parable of forgiveness. (JP)

 

Michelle Mattson
Rebels Without Causes: Contemporary German Authors Not in Search of Meaning
Abstract:
This study looks at how the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard can help to explain why the characters in in Elke Naters’ Mau Mau (2002), Sven Regener’s Herr Lehmann (2001), and Judith Hermann’s two short story collections Sommerhaus später (1998) and Nichts als Gespenster (2003) seem largely vapid, emotionally stunted, and socially illiterate. The analysis focuses on three major theses in Baudrillard’s work: 1) In the post-modern world, we live in the realm of the hyperreal, a space in which signifiers are divorced from their connection to any signifieds. 2) Today’s society is characterized by a multiplication and saturation of exchanges that leads to a neutralization of history. 3) The human reaction to the oversaturation of images devoid of connection to the real is a pervasive and systemic melancholy. However, the article also argues that Baudrillard’s philosophies are not helpful for living in today’s world and that the features of his thinking illustrated in these novels represent an essentially paralytic ideology. (MM)

 

Book Reviews

Anton, Christine and Frank Pilipp, eds., Büchner Beyond Political Correctness: Remapping German Sensibilities in the 21st Century (Siegfried Mews)

Battiston, Régine, Lectures de l'identité narrative. Max Frisch, Ingeborg Bachmann, Marlen Haushofer, W.G. Sebald

Bielby, Clare and Anna Richards, eds., Women and Death 3: Women’s Representations of Death in German Culture since 1500 (Jane O. Newman)

Cohen-Pfister, Laurel and Susanne Vees-Gulani, eds., Generational Shifts in Contemporary German Culture (Silke Horstkotte)

El-Tayeb, Fatima, European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe (David Gramling)

Fisher, Jaimey and Brad Prager, eds., The Collapse of the Conventional: German Cinema and its Politics at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (Chris Homewood)

Forrest, Tara and Anna Teresa Scheer, eds., Christoph Schlingensief: Art without Borders (Jack Davis)

Heise, Ursula K., Nach der Natur. Das Artensterben und die moderne Kultur (Bernhard Malkmus)

High, Jeffrey L., Nicholas Martin nad Norbert Oellers, eds., Who Is This Schiller Now?: Essays on His Reception and Significance (Dirk Oschmann)

Honold, Alexander, Hrsg., Ost-westliche Kulturtransfers. Orient—Amerika (Kathrin Wittler)

Hühn, Helmut, Hrsg., Goethes “Wahlverwandtschaften”. Werk und Forschung (Michael Saman)

Kerth, Thomas, King Rother and His Bride: Quest and Counter-Quests (Astrid Lembke)

Krimmer, Elisabeth and Patricia Anne Simpson, eds., Enlightened War: German Theories and Cultures of Warfare from Frederick the Great to Clausewitz (Martin Kagel)

Lützeler, Paul Michael, Hermann Broch und die Moderne. Roman, Menschenrecht, Biografie (Thorsten Carstensen)

Mack, Michael, Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity: The Hidden Enlightenment of Diversity from Spinoza to Freud (Horst Lange)

Meyer, Imke, Männlichkeit und Melodrama. Arthur Schnitzlers erzählende Schriften (Walter Schönau)

Mossman, Stephen, Marquard von Lindau and the Challenges of Religious Life in Late Medieval Germany: The Passion, the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary (Salvatore Calomino)

Reuss, Roland, “Im Freien”? Kleist-Versuche (Hubert Thüring)

Samsami, Behrang, “Die Entzauberung des Ostens”. Zur Wahrnehmung und Darstellung des Orients bei Hermann Hesse, Armin T. Wegner und Annemarie Schwarzenbach (Kathrin Wittler)

Schneider, Daniel, Identität und Ordnung. Entwürfe des “Eigenen” und “Fremden” in deutschen Kolonial- und Afrikaromanen von 1889 bis 1952 (Sabine Wilke)

Stachel, Thomas, Der Ring der Notwendigkeit. Friedrich Schiller nach der Natur (Peter Höyng)

Watanabe-O'Kelly, Helen, Beauty or Beast? The Woman Warrior in the German Imagination from the Renaissance to the Present (Katherine Goodman)

Wodianka, Stephanie, Zwischen Mythos und Geschichte. Ästhetik, Medialität und Kulturspezifik der Mittelalterkonjunktur (Richard Utz)

Books Received