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Monatshefte

Volume 106, Number 2, Summer 2014 Table of Contents

Articles

Martina Kolb
Goethe’s Citrus, Nietzsche’s Figs, and Benn’s Olive: Poetic Reverie, Erotic Fantasy, and Botanic Agency
Abstract:
Against the critical backdrop of recent writings on time-honored human interactions with plants—such as Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire and Catherine Howell’s Flora Mirabilis—this article comparatively evaluates an intriguing spectrum of poetic-botanic intersections. With a focus on Goethe’s “Mignon’s Song” and Italian Journey, Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Ecce Homo, and Gottfried Benn’s Rönne Prose and “Creative Confession,” this essay traces the cultural history of the respective botanic genus in its relationship with imaginative texts and literary genres. While concentrating on the presence, form, and function of three botanic items in three German poets (Goethe, Nietzsche, and Benn), this article also draws on various representations of these and other plants in biblical and mythical texts, while at the same time making writers such as Dante, Shakespeare, Freud, Rilke, Wolfskehl, Pound, Eliot, Montale, Neruda, and Edna St. Vincent Millay part of a discussion that is not only invested in Mediterranean botany and Italian travel, German culture, and the poetics of yearning, but also in translation and adaptation, etymology and nomenclature, tradition and the individual talent. (MK)

 

Harry Vredeveld
Pia fraus: Anachronisms, Fake Latin, and Stolen Colors in Wilhelm Meinhold’s Maria Schweidler, die Bernsteinhexe
Abstract:
Wilhelm Meinhold wrote Die Bernsteinhexe (1843) as a Baroque chronicle in order to hoax the radical theologian David Friedrich Strauß, who declared the story of Jesus’ life to be a myth. His hope was to humiliate the biblical philologist by getting him to write a review declaring Meinhold’s forged “myth” to be authentic. When Strauß clear-sightedly refused to review the book and an anonymous newspaper critic demanded proof that the manuscript existed, Meinhold disclosed the hoax, but brazenly claimed victory. Henceforward he bragged at every opportunity that he had duped “doctors and professors of theology and philologists of the first rank,” not to mention all the reviewers. The cover-up hoax succeeded where the literary hoax had failed. To this day, scholars accept Meinhold’s boast that his forgery went undetected and, indeed, was undetectable. This article calls the bluff. It demonstrates that contemporary philologists would have uncovered the forgery with ease, if Meinhold had not forestalled them with his avowal. The fact is that Die Bernsteinhexe contains not only flagrant anachronisms and fake Latin, but also verses of a “carmen gratulatorium” that Meinhold—quite incompetently—plagiarized from the famed Erfurt humanist Helius Eobanus Hessus (1488–1540). (HV)

 

Jeroen Dewulf
Der Neue Mensch in Brasilien. Über den Schatten Nietzsches in Stefan Zweigs Land der Zukunft
Abstract:
One of the many enigmas related to Stefan Zweig’s final months in Brazil is the overly positive portrayal of his country of exile in Brasilien. Ein Land der Zukunft (1941). Was this because he did not know the country well enough to be able to look beyond its beautiful façade? Could the aristocratic character of the book be interpreted as a sign that, plagued by nostalgia, Zweig had tried to regenerate the bygone Austrian Empire in the Brazilian tropics? Or were the many parallels to Getúlio Vargas’s propagandistic image of Brazil signs that Zweig had been trying to obtain favors for himself or other Jewish refugees by rendering a service to the Fascist dictator? This article denies such insinuations and offers a different explanation by focusing on two works that influenced Zweig in his portrayal of Brazil: Gilberto Freyre’s Casa-grande & senzala (The Masters and the Slaves, 1933) and Sérgio Buarque de Holanda’s Raízes do Brasil (Roots of Brazil, 1936). It claims that the vision of Brazil as “land of the future” was not a Zweigian but rather a Brazilian creation with German-American roots, whose prophetic and aristocratic character can be traced back to Henry Mencken’s reading of Friedrich Nietzsche. (JD; in German)

 

Helmut G. Asper
Der Holocaust im fernen Spiegel: Der Prozess von Tisza-Eszlar (1882/1883) in den Filmen Der Prozeß und The Vicious Circle (1947/48)
Abstract:
The article analyzes the two films Der Prozess by G. W. Pabst and The Vicious Circle by William L. Wilder which both describe the infamous ritual murder process of Tisza-Eszlar and the pogrom against the Hungarian Jews in 1888. Incidentally, both films were shot in 1947/48 in Austria and in the United States. Although based on different sources, both films were inspired by the tragedy Die Sendung Semaels by the German-Jewish dramatist Arnold Zweig on the same topic in 1913. Many of the artists involved in both films had been persecuted by the Nazis and were expelled from Germany in 1933. For them it was a matter of concern to make a picture against antisemitism. The films draw parallels between the Hungarian pogrom and the persecution and annihilation of the Jews by the Nazis. (HGA; in German)

 

Tanja Nusser
„What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem.“ Die Figur des blinden Sehers von Ovids Metamorphosen bis zu Dürrenmatts Das Sterben der Pythia
Abstract:
With the different myths of Teiresias—in the versions of Ovid and Kallimachos—a figure entered the cultural stage of Western societies that to this day stands for two topoi: 1) the blind seer who speaks the truth and 2) truth-telling that is irrevocably connected to sexuality. These two topoi, however, are seldom brought together in either literary texts or literature studies. This article takes a closer look at the connection between sexuality and blind insights or truthspeaking in variations of this mythical figure in three chronological steps: antiquity, modernity, and postmodernity. Beginning with the myth as it was established by Kallimachos and Ovid and then analyzing Sophocles’ Oidipous Tyrannos as well as his Antigone, the article moves on to late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century versions with Michael Field’s LII [Tiresias: but that I know by experience] and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land to end with Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s Das Sterben der Pythia. (TN; in German)

 

Istvan Gombocz
„Sich bewähren, oder bewahren?“ Einführung in Leben und Schaffen des siebenbürgischen Autors Eginald Schlattner
Abstract:
Eginald Schlattner is currently the best-known author of the rapidly disappearing German diaspora in Eastern Europe. Between 1998 and 2005, he published three highly successful novels with the recent history of the Transylvanian Germans (commonly known as Saxons) as the focus. This article first provides a summary of Schlattner’s life with an emphasis on the Stalinist era of the 1950s. Subsequently, it introduces the novels of his Transylvanian trilogy, along with his recently published short stories. It seeks to answer the following questions: How much damage did National Socialism of the 1940s and Stalinism of the 1950s inflict on the Transylvanian Saxons? To what extent are the Saxons themselves responsible for the fall of their culture of 750 years? What are the long-term chances of a peaceful international cooperation in the troubled East European region? (IG; in German)

 

Book Reviews

Allkemper, Alo, Norbert Otto Eke und Hartmut Steinecke, Hrsg., Poetologisch-poetische Interventionen: Gegenwartsliteratur schreiben (Suzuko Mousel Knott)

Amos, Thomas, Ernst Jünger (Adelheid Kegler)

Barker, John W., Wagner and Venice Fictionalized: Variations on a Theme (Rolf J. Goebel)

Cowan, Michael, Technology’s Pulse: Essays on Rhythm in German Modernism (Kristen Hylenski)

Daub, Adrian, Tristan’s Shadow: Sexuality and the Total Work of Art after Wagner (Rolf J. Goebel)

Florack, Ruth und Rüdiger Singer, Hrsg., Die Kunst der Galanterie. Facetten eines Verhaltensmodells in der Literatur der Frühen Neuzeit (Christophe Losfeld)

Fritsch-Lange, Patricia und Lutz Hagestedt, Hrsg., Hans Fallada. Autor und Werk im Literatursystem der Moderne (Thorsten Carstensen)

Greiner, Bernhard, Die Tragödie. Eine Literaturgeschichte des aufrechten Ganges (Orsolya Kiss)

Hnilica, Irmtraud, Im Zauberkreis der großen Waage. Die Romantisierung des bürgerlichen Kaufmanns in Gustav Freytags Soll und Haben (Jeffrey L. Sammons)

Kapczynski, Jennifer M. and Michael D. Richardson, eds., A New History of German Cinema (Heike Klippel)

Kaul, Susanne und Oliver Kohns, Hrsg., Politik und Ethik der Komik (Jill E. Twark)

Kessel, Martina and Patrick Merziger, eds., The Politics of Humour: Laughter, Inclusion, and Exclusion in the Twentieth Century (Jill E. Twark)

Lobsien, Eckhard, Schematisierte Ansichten. Literaturtheorie mit Husserl, Ingarden, Blumenberg (Dirk Oschmann)

Löck, Alexander und Dirk Oschmann, Hrsg., Literatur und Lebenswelt (Hans Sanders)

Lyon, John B., Out of Place: German Realism, Displacement and Modernity (Frederick Betz)

Macha, Jürgen, Anna-Maria Balbach und Sarah Horstkamp, Hrsg., Konfession und Sprache in der Frühen Neuzeit. Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven (Robert B. Howell)

Marven, Lyn and Stuart Taberner, eds., Emerging German-Language Novelists of the Twenty-First Century (Helga G. Braunbeck)

Müller-Sievers, Helmut, The Cylinder: Kinematics of the Nineteenth Century (Vance Byrd)

Pahl, Katrin, Tropes of Transport: Hegel and Emotion (Michael G. Levine)

Rinner, Susanne, The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination: Transnational Memories of Protest and Dissent (Siegfried Mews)

Roberts, David, The Total Work of Art in European Modernism (Peter Zusi)

Schaub, Gerhard, Hugo Ball—Kurt Schwitters. Studien zur literarischen Moderne (Arndt Niebisch)

Schofield, Benedict, Private Lives and Collective Destinies: Class, Nation and the Folk in the Works of Gustav Freytag (1816–1895) (Jeffrey L. Sammons)

Singh, Sikander, Das Glück ist eine Allegorie. Christian Fürchtegott Gellert und die europäische Aufklärung (Gerhard Sauder)

Wacker, Gabriela, Poetik des Prophetischen. Zum visionären Kunstverständnis in der Klassischen Moderne (Silke Horstkotte)

White, Michael James, Space in Theodor Fontane’s Works: Theme and Poetic Function (Petra McGillen)

Books Received