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Monatshefte

Volume 104, Number 4, Winter 2012 Table of Contents

Articles

Martin Wagner
Büchner und Butler: Das Pferde-Narrativ in den Woyzeck-Entwürfen und die Handlungsfähigkeit des postsouveränen Subjekts
Abstract:
This article’s analysis of the horse-imagery in Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck pursues the question whether the title character is predominantly a subject of social determination or autonomous agency. First, Woyzeck’s supervisor associates him with a horse. This association is a process of naming, a performative speech act that constructs Woyzeck as a horse and justifies his exploitation. While the standard interpretations stop here, this article argues that Woyzeck subsequently takes up this role of the horse himself so that it becomes a part of his own agency. This newly constructed agency allows him to develop a sense of responsibility for his son (whom he carries like a horse) and to escape the authority of his supervisors (arguing that he is driven by nature as a horse is). These later actions presuppose the naming by his supervisors as a horse, but transcend their original intention. Woyzeck takes up the semantic alternatives in the word “horse” to subvert the original call of the authorities. In this sense, and within the framework of Judith Butler’s study Excitable Speech, the agency of the subject is both dependent on the call from outside and yet beyond it in the irreducible polyvalence of language. (WM; in German)

 

Markus Weidler
Heidegger’s “Fourfold” as a Critique of Idolatry
Abstract:
Heidegger’s conception of “the fourfold,” or Geviert, and the meaning of its various aspects (“earth and sky, divinities and mortals”) is notoriously elusive. As a remedy to this situation I propose to read the fourfold as a programmatic blueprint for critiquing idolatry. Heidegger’s central concern, I argue, lies with idolatrous aspirations toward immortality, which are typically generated in certain cultural milieus. To make this case, I will draw on recent commentaries by Julian Young and Mark Johnston as well as on one of Heidegger’s near contemporaries, Georg Simmel. Specifically, Simmel’s milieu-based analyses in Philosophical Culture (1911) provide the much needed illustrations that will allow us to render Heidegger’s own culture-critical insights more concrete, with respect to the fourfold’s dynamic structure and inner tensions. (MW)

 

René Brouwer
Musil’s Search for Ethics Law
Abstract:
Musil rejects both traditional and modern conceptions of morality, as these offer either fixed sets of rules, or else principles that have to be applied rigidly. Instead, Musil proposes his alternative conception of what he calls “ethics,” which I here explain as a type of particularism. In Musil’s particularist account one ought to develop a sensitivity by which a situation at hand can be interpreted both in a variety of ways, and at the same time as precisely as possible. This heightened awareness of the possibilities that reality thus entails is best developed by means of a specific type of art, of which The Man Without Qualities is doubtlessly intended to be a prime example. This awareness might even lead to the experience of a reversal of self and world. Here Musil clearly goes beyond contemporary versions of particularism, by connecting it with what he calls a “crystal clear” mysticism. (RB)

 

Friedemann Spicker
Joachim Günther – eine Schlüsselfigur in der Geschichte des Aphorismus im 20. Jahrhundert
Abstract:
Joachim Günther (1905–1990) became a key figure in the history of aphorism in the early Bundesrepublik: as an editor, critic, and author, as someone who stimulated and supported others. Nevertheless, he has largely been neglected in literature studies. This is the first article to follow his intellectual biography under the aspect of aphorism. From the early 1920s, he worked in a triangle of philosophy, theology, and literature. This article rediscovers several sources, especially from the time of the Third Reich and from the Nietzsche context. It shows the personal context of the author at the beginning of the Neue Deutsche Hefte (1954–1990)—Paul Fechter, Heinrich Scholz, Martin Kessel, Hans Kudszus, Ernst Wilhelm Eschmann, Werner Helwig and others—and investigates the editor’s ideological guidelines. It deduces Günthers understanding of the genre from his choice of authors, his own reviews, and his aphoristic work. Thus a differentiated and well-balanced assessment of his contribution to the history of the genre is formed. (FS; in German)

 

Rolf J. Goebel
Kulturelles Gedächtnis als topographische Selbstartikulation
Abstract:
In contrast to theories according to which urban memory is merely an arbitrary projection of historical meanings on architectural surfaces devoid of any inherent meaning, high-modernist writers like Kafka, Benjamin, Kracauer, and Rilke conceive of memory as networks of historical voices, traces, and echoes that are being articulated by material urban topographies figuring as quasi-subjects. In analogy to the hermeneutic act of reading (literary) texts, these topographic selfarticulations are translated through various media and discourses—exemplified here by the novel, the essay, and poetry—into social discourses. Memory, then, is not only a temporal process but also a spatially located act of resisting modernity’s hyper-acceleration. Reconstructing aspects of this aesthetic tradition opens up new ways of authentic interrogations of the past that may be of significant methodological value for intermedial cultural studies. (RJG; in German)

 

James W. Jones
Gay Detectives and Victims in German Mystery Novels
Abstract:
The article provides an overview of novels that were published between 1980 and 2009 and that have major gay characters as a detective or a victim (often both). Examples are drawn from a corpus of fifty-six such works which are analyzed according to decades. The defining characteristic of the eight novels in the 1980s is the role of the closet in determining characters’ lives and, especially, their deaths. The nineteen novels of the 1990s exhibit an increasingly open and assertive gay consciousness and the use of gay-specific settings (e.g. bars). The twenty-nine novels published between 2000 and 2009 are marked by an increase in the number and variety of gay detectives and a growing attention to such themes as German reunification, the effects of HIV/AIDS, and gay marriage. By connecting the novels to their social contexts, the analysis shows how social changes affect the conception and portrayal of gay characters in fiction. Common characteristics such as the assistance provided by the detectives’ partners and friends, the use of humor, and the role of the erotic are described. Two recent novels show how elements of repression and liberation continue to influence the depictions of gay detectives and victims in mystery novels. (JWJ)

 

Personalia

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

Book Reviews

Arthos, John, The Inner Word in Gadamer’s Hermeneutics (David L. Simmons)

Berbig, Roland, Theodor Fontane Chronik. 5 Bände. (Petra S. McGillen)

Böndel, Paula, Die Künstlerthematik in den frühen Romanen von Marcel Proust, Robert Musil und James Joyce (Dominik Müller)

Campbell, Matthew and Michael Perraudin, eds., The Voice of the People: Writing the European Folk Revival, 1760–1914 (Arnd Bohm)

Catling, Jo and Richard Hibbitt, eds., Saturn’s Moons: W.G. Sebald—A Handbook (Markus Zisselsberger)

Gaier, Ulrich, Lesarten von Goethes Faust (David G. John)

Godel, Rainer und Gideon Stiening, Hrsg., Klopffechtereien—Missverständnisse— Widersprüche? Methodische und methodologische Perspektiven auf die Kant-Forster-Kontroverse (Helmut Peitsch)

Hille, Almut, Gregor Streim und Pan Lu, Hrsg., Deutsch-chinesische Annäherungen. Kultureller Austausch und gegenseitige Wahrnehmung in der Zwischenkriegszeit (Weijia Li)

Hoffmann, Nora, Photographie, Malerei und visuelle Wahrnehmung bei Theodor Fontane (Sabine Gross)

Keller, Ernst, Spuren und Schneisen. Ernst Jünger: Lesarten im 20. Jahrhundert (Marcus Bullock)

Loster-Schneider, Gudrun und Barbara Becker-Cantarino, Hrsg., “Ach, wie wünschte ich mir Geld genug, um eine Professur zu stiften”. Sophie von La Roche (1730–1807) im literarischen und kulturpolitischen Feld von Aufklärung und Empfindsamkeit (Stephanie M. Hilger)

May, Yomb, Georg Forsters literarische Weltreise. Dialektik der Kulturbegegnung in der Aufklärung (Helmut Peitsch)

Neumann, Gerhard, Theodor Fontane. Romankunst als Gespräch (Sean Franzel)

Osterwalder, Sonja, Düstere Aufklärung. Die Detektivliteratur von Conan Doyle bis Cornwell (Jochen Vogt)

Perrig, Severin, Stimmen, Slams und Schachtel-Bücher. Eine Geschichte des Vorlesens. Von den Rhapsoden bis zum Hörbuch (Justus Fetscher)

Pethes, Nicolas, Hrsg., Ausnahmezustand der Literatur. Neue Lektüren zu Heinrich von Kleist (Brian Tucker)

Purdy, Daniel, On the Ruins of Babel: Architectural Metaphor in German Thought (Tracy N. Graves)

Rasch, Wolfgang, Hrsg., Karl Gutzkow. Erinnerungen, Berichte und Urteile seiner Zeitgenossen. Eine Dokumentation (Jost Hermand)

Raulff, Ulrich, Kreis ohne Meister. Stefan Georges Nachleben (Martin A. Ruehl)

Rösch, Gertrud Maria, Hrsg., Fakten und Fiktionen. Werklexikon deutschsprachiger Schlüsselliteratur 1900–2010. Erster Halbband: Andres bis Loest (Stefan Jordan)

Sautermeister, Gert, Die Lyrik Gottfried Kellers. Exemplarische Interpretationen (Frederick Betz)

Sparling, Robert Alan, Johann Georg Hamann and the Enlightenment Project (Martijn Boven)

Stefa, Niketa, Die Entgegensetzung in Hölderlins Poetologie (Hannah Eldridge)

Theisohn, Philipp, Plagiat. Eine unoriginelle Literaturgeschichte (Peter Gilgen)

Vollmer, Hartmut, Die literarische Pantomime. Studien zu einer Literaturgattung der Moderne (Rüdiger Singer)

Annual Index (2012)