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Monatshefte

Volume 107, Number 3, Fall 2015 Table of Contents

Articles

Katherine DeVane Brown
Courtly Rivalry, Loyalty Conflict, and the Figure of Hagen in the Nibelungenlied
Abstract:
The variety of scholarly approaches to the Middle High German poem Das Nibelungenlied has generated an especially wide range of conflicting analyses of the complex figure of Hagen. This essay argues that Hagen’s relationship to Siegfried can be treated as an example of the courtly rivalry motif, a medieval narrative structure whose main features are outlined through a comparison of the depictions of rivalry in three contemporary Middle High German works (Herzog Ernst B, Wolfdietrich A and Tristan). Through the use of this narrative device, the poet problematizes the form of loyalty (MHG triuwe) that leads Hagen to kill Siegfried while using Hagen’s later interactions with Rüdiger to present the audience with an alternative definition of loyalty. Viewing Hagen’s character in relation to the problem of loyalty conflict can thus help reconcile the positive and negative aspects of his character while simultaneously shedding new light on the thematic structure of the Nibelungenlied. (KDB)

 

Edward Fichtner
Constructing Sigfrid: History and Legend in the Making of a Hero
Abstract:
Four hundred years ago, it was recognized by Marquart Freher that the figure of Sigfrid was the reflex of the Merovingian king Sigibert (535–575). This article identifies historical allusions in the Nibelungenlied to another source, the Danish viking Gotefrid, who was killed in the Netherlands in 885, but whose name was displaced by that of his comrade-in-arms, Sigifridus. The Sîvrit of the Nibelungenlied is thus a conflation of various features of the Merovingian Sigibert and the Carolingian Sigifred. Also addressed are references in the Nibelungenlied to certain place-names and geographical features that appear in association with these persons. (EF)

 

Carlos Gasperi
On the Language of Nature in Ludwig Tieck’s Der Runenberg
Abstract:
In part I of the essay, I investigate Johann Gottfried Herder’s philosophy of the origin of language, arguing that Herder’s philosophy cannot philosophically justify the natural origin of linguistic expression in man without presupposing the philosophically incomprehensible concept of what Herder himself termed “the language of nature.” In essence, Herder’s philosophy of language lacks a theory of negative representation to articulate the grounds by which it can claim to understand the limits of its own linguistic representation. My stake in making this argument becomes clear in part II of the paper, which aims to show how the German early Romantic concept of allegory transcends this philosophical problem by way of understanding the essence of linguistic expression proper rather than in the praxis of reflexive language. I then turn to the subject of Germanic runes and “nature hieroglyphs” in the German early Romantic imagination to show how the Romantics saw art and language as a common praxis in their effort to engage the mystery of what is nature. In part III, I provide a close reading of Tieck’s novella in order to substantiate the former two parts of the essay. (CG)

 

Julia Karolle-Berg
The Case of the Missing Literary Tradition: Reassessing Four Assumptions of Crime and Detective Novels in the German-Speaking World (1900–1933)
Abstract:
This article challenges four persistent assumptions in German-language postwar literary histories on crime and detective fiction that have led scholars to conclude that no literary tradition existed between 1900 and 1933 in the German-speaking world. These assumptions were that little German-language crime and detective fiction existed, that authors should still be well known today, that only works of high literature should constitute a tradition, and that crime and detective fiction should conform to Golden Age generic rules. By problematizing these assumptions, I provide an alternative perspective on the literature that existed and suggest approaches to understanding this invisible tradition. (JK-B)

 

Krzysztof Okoński
Der Himmel fiel aus allen Wolken von Stephan Krawczyk: Die DDR-Literatur der Gegenwart oder ein Schwanengesang auf die subversive Kultur im Dreibuchstabenland?
Abstract:
Stephan Krawczyk—a writer, poet, singer, and musician born in the GDR in 1955—is the author of Der Himmel fiel aus allen Wolken (2009). In the late 1980s, he was banned from performing in public, incarcerated in the Stasi’s Hohenschönhausen prison, and in 1988 deported to West Germany. After his arrival “from Germany to Germany,” Krawczyk received high praise from the West German media. Krawczyk experienced the East German peaceful revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall in exile. In his book he recalls lesser-known private, artistic, and political facts from that period. Unification in 1990 brought the opportunity for the emergence of new literature in East Germany, but Krawczyk has remained the same nonconformist and critical witness of Ostalgie—a strange fascination with the dictatorship in the Honecker era. The aim of the article is to analyze his book as a contribution to the German culture of remembrance. It also seeks to answer the following question: Is Krawczyk’s German-German time travel between two different societies, life styles, political systems, and cultural backgrounds an example of a new “contemporary GDR literature” or a deconstruction of his own myth as a dissident? (KO; in German)

 

Carl Gelderloos
Breaking Open Utopia: Science Fiction as Critique in the GDR
Abstract:
In this article I offer a reading of Angela and Karlheinz Steinmüller’s novel Andymon (1982) in order to show how science fiction was able to function as critique in the German Democratic Republic. Andymon, a popular novel in a popular genre, establishes an extended analogy between spatial closure and temporal foreclosure to challenge the restrictive epistemological fixity the authors associated with both classical utopian texts and the cultural-political framework of socialist realism. By modeling competing dynamics of closure in its two primary spaces—aboard a vast spaceship and on the eponymous newly-settled planet—Andymon is able to offer a challenge from within a cognitive structure that links perfect knowledge of the past to the total determination of a future horizon. This destabilization of the past as an object of cognition thereby opens possibilities for the utopian reimagination of the future. Science fiction is thus able to critique both the official policy of socialist realism and the normative closure of classical utopian literature; the fact that Andymon enacts a critique of formal dimensions (closure, openings) on the level of plot can in turn contribute to our understanding of the relationship between the mass genre of science fiction and key legacies of critical theory. (CG)

 

Book Reviews

Aikin, Judith P., A Ruler’s Consort in Early Modern Germany: Aemilia Juliana of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (Barbara Becker-Cantarino)

Bauer, Esther K., Bodily Desire, Desired Bodies: Gender and Desire in Early Twentieth-Century German and Austrian Novels and Paintings (Klaus L. Berghahn)

Birgfeld, Johannes und Erhard Schütz, Hrsg., Michael Kleeberg. Eine Werksbegehung (Jonas Nesselhauf)

Bischoff, Doerte und Susanne Komfort-Hein, Hrsg., Literatur und Exil. Neue Perspektiven (Helga Schreckenberger)

Campbell, Bruce B., Alison Guenther-Pal, and Vibeke Rützou Petersen, eds., Detectives, Dystopia, and Poplit: Studies in Modern German Genre Fiction (Lynn M. Kutch)

Dürbeck, Gabriele und Axel Dunker, Hrsg., Postkoloniale Germanistik. Bestandsaufnahme, theoretische Perspektiven, Lektüren (Nicole Grewling)

Erlin, Matt and Lynne Tatlock, eds., Distant Readings: Topologies of German Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century (Brent O. Peterson)

Eskin, Michael, Karen Leeder, and Christopher Young, eds., Durs Grünbein. A Companion (Hannah V. Eldridge)

Fortmann, Patrick, Autopsie von Revolution und Restauration. Georg Büchner und die politische Imagination (Jeffrey L. Sammons)

Göttsche, Dirk and Nicholas Saul, eds., Realism and Romanticism in German Literature / Realismus und Romantik in der deutschsprachigen Literatur (Ervin Malakaj)

Kang, Jaeho, Walter Benjamin and the Media: The Spectacle of Modernity (Rolf J. Goebel)

Levi, Erik, ed., The Impact of Nazism on Twentieth-Century Music (Pamela M. Potter)

Levine, Michael G., A Weak Messianic Power: Figures of a Time to Come in Benjamin, Derrida, and Celan (Marcus Bullock)

Lützeler, Paul Michael, Transatlantische Germanistik. Kontakt, Transfer, Dialogik (Alan Lareau)

Martin, Ariane und Bodo Morawe, Dichter der Immanenz. Vier Studien zu Georg Büchner (Jeffrey L. Sammons)

Maurer, Michael, Hrsg., Herder und seine Wirkung / Herder and His Impact (Kaspar Renner)

Mikus, Birgit, The Political Woman in Print: German Women’s Writing 1845–1919 (Helen G. Morris-Keitel)

Oergel, Maike, ed., (Re-)Writing the Radical: Enlightenment, Revolution and Cultural Transfer in 1790s Germany, Britain and France (Carl Niekerk)

Schmieding, Leonard, „Das ist unsere Party“. HipHop in der DDR (Seth Howes)

Schneider, Reinhard, Vom Dolmetschen im Mittelalter. Sprachliche Vermittlung in weltlichen und kirchlichen Zusammenhängen (Seraina Plotke)

Simon, Ralf, Hrsg., Herders Rhetoriken im Kontext des 18. Jahrhunderts (Liisa Steinby)

Stewart, Faye, German Feminist Queer Crime Fiction: Politics, Justice and Desire (Sabine Wilke)

von Hammerstein, Katharina, Sich MitSprache erschreiben. Selbstzeugnisse als politische Praxis schreibender Frauen, Deutschland 1840–1919 (Helen G. Morris-Keitel)

Willems, Gottfried, Geschichte der deutschen Literatur Band 4. Vormärz und Realismus (Sean Franzel)

Williams, Gerhild Scholz, Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel: Eberhard Werner Happel, 1647–1690 (Carolin Struwe)