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Monatshefte

Volume 111, Number 2, Summer 2019
Table of Contents

 

ARTICLES

Giovanna Pinna

Ancient Comedy Reloaded: Aesthetics and Moral Reflection in Lessing’s Rewriting of Plautus

The reception of Plautus plays an important role in the development of Lessing’s theory and practice of comic writing. In this article, I will take into consideration Lessing’s rather neglected early play Der Schatz, which is based on the Plautine Trinummus, placing it against the background of Lessing’s early production. Subjecting it to a close reading, compared with its antique hypotext, I demonstrate that the modifications in dramatic structure and the characters respond to the need that the dramatic action be adapted to the ethical norms which inform social relationships and behaviors in Enlightenment Europe. Thus, since his early years, Lessing engages in comedy-writing and reflects on the essence of comedy, seeking in the Roman author the universal psychological mechanisms that produce laughter and humoristic effects. At the same time, he tries to outline a modern idea of comedy, built on the sensitivity and moral conceptions of his own epoch. (GP)

 

Uwe Hentschel

Goethes Hohelied auf den Gärtner

This essay takes up the theme of gardening practices, which became significant both for daily life (among others Goethe, Wieland and Schiller had gardens) and literature (in texts by Goethe, Wezel and Merck among others) in the second half of the eighteenth century. The starting point is a short sequence from Goethe’s Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers in which the protagonist reports that he enjoys the “simple harmless delight of one who has brought a bundle of herbs to his table” that he has planted and harvested himself. This episode, trivial at first glance, is a particularly vivid example of non-alienated activity. This essay investigates the social causes that led to the wish to present such simple labor as desirable as early as the eighteenth century. It emerges that the gardening enthusiasts such as Goethe and Wieland attributed great value to the possibility of forming and accomplishing something self-reliantly, independently and above all holistically. (UH; in German)

 

Nikolas Immer

Götter versus Heroen. Die implizite Dramenpoetik der Briefe Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen

In his essay On the Aesthetic Education of Man Friedrich Schiller differentiates between two concepts of beauty, graceful beauty and energetic beauty. This distinction does not only correlate with the double aesthetics of beauty and the sublime, but also implies an important link to Schiller’s poetics of drama. In conjunction with his essay On Näíve and Sentimental Poetry it shall be demonstrated how those aesthetic concepts comply with the dramatic genres of comedy and tragedy. (NI; in German)

 

Ulrich Boss

Vom Geschlechter- zum Weltkrieg. Männlichkeitskrise und Revirilisierungsdiskurs in Robert Musils Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften

Robert Musil understood the war euphoria of 1914 as a form of escape from an outlived order that was no longer able to satisfy elementary ‘spiritual’ needs. In The Man Without Qualities, this disintegration of the old order manifests itself not least in a fundamental crisis of masculinity, for which the numerous body deficits of the novel’s male characters are symptomatic. The attempts of these largely deplorable male figures to regain their masculinity lead straight to war. Yet Musil’s novel also questions the pre-war discourse of revirilisation by the fact that ironically, the male-muscular title hero—his body image corresponds in almost every detail to Ernst Kretschmer’s constitutional type of the athlete—does not take part in it and instead searches for an alternative way out of social-moral stagnation. (UB; in German)

 

Charles Vannette

A Cartography of Cognition: Urban Sketches by Robert Walser

This article applies cognitive theories from phenomenological psychiatry in a reading of two of Robert Walser’s Berlin stories; “Guten Tag, Riesin!” and “Der Park.” Walser’s flâneurs narrate a city whose topography is defined by distanced, clichéd, and two-dimensional images, in which an emphasis on the singularity of observed objects dissolves the context of the city street. This process of decontextualization creates a new city space that lacks the restrictions of distance or direction. The narrators’ unique mode of observation produces a curiously denaturalized and undefined city, in which spatial associations between objects dissolve. Yet beneath the surface of the observed city lies a hidden and unnamable significance. Cognitive theories serve to better explain this simultaneity of superficiality and depth in the text, in which the narrators’ dissecting observation becomes a transformative gaze by which they seek to pull back on the city’s surface and to uncover the slumbering secrets below. (CV)

 

Paweł Kubiak

Zum Schweigen um den NS-Genozid an österreichischen Roma und Sinti in der Zweiten Republik

The question about the dimensions of silence in the Austrian culture of the Second Republic leads us unavoidably to the period of National Socialism. In the paper the novel Abschied von Sidonie by Erich Hackl (English translation Farewell Sidonia by Edna McCown) and his articles are used as a platform to describe the silence about the genocide of the Romani people. The testimonies of persecution of this ethnic community deserve all the more attention as the tragic fate of this group was long surrounded by a wall of silence. Thus, the article centers on the following questions: (1) What was concealed by the silence community? (2) Why was the circle of silence to a great extent “break-resistant” for a relatively long time? (3) Which forms of coming to terms with the past were adopted to break the aforementioned wall of silence and to make public the shameful and painful past or bring it back to collective memory? (PK; in German)

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Beck, Sandra, Narratologische Ermittlungen. Muster detektorischen Erzählens in der deutschsprachigen Literatur (Sabine Gross)

Clar, Peter, „Ich bleibe, aber weg.“ Dekonstruktionen der AutorInnenfigur(en) bei Elfriede Jelinek* (Inge Arteel)

Day, Lara and Oliver Haag, eds., The Persistence of Race: Continuity and change in Germany from the Wilhelmine Empire to National Socialism (Vanessa D. Plumly)

Didi-Huberman, Georges, The Eye of History: When Images Take Positions (Kristopher Imbrigotta)

Dinges, Martin, Bettine von Arnim und die Gesundheit. Medizin, Krankheit und Familie im 19. Jahrhundert (Helen G. Morris-Keitel)

Fauser, Markus, Rolf Dieter Brinkmanns Fifties. Unterwegs in der literarischen Provinz (Martin Kagel)

Gerstner, Frederike, Inszenierte Inbesitznahme. Blackface und Minstrelsy in Berlin um 1900 (Alan Lareau)

Goebel, Rolf J., Klang im Zeitalter technischer Medien. Eine Einführung (Tobias Robert Klein)

Hohendahl, Peter Uwe, Perilous Futures: On Carl Schmitt’s Late Writings (Marcus Bullock)

Hösle, Vittorio, Kritik der verstehenden Vernunft: Eine Grundlegung der Geisteswissenschaften (Alex Holznienkemper)

Hund, Wulf D., Wie die Deutschen weiß wurden. Kleine (Heimat)Geschichte des Rassismus (Priscilla Layne)

König, Christoph, Isolde Schiffermüller, Christian Benne und Gabriella Pelloni, Hrsg., Lektürepraxis und Theoriebildung. Zur Aktualität Max Kommerells (Rolf J. Goebel)

Paterno, Wolfgang, Faust und Geist. Literatur und Boxen zwischen den Weltkriegen (Ofer Idels)

Peitsch, Helmut, Georg Forster. Deutsche ,Antheilnahme‘ an der europäischen Expansion über die Welt (Roman Lach)

Pfaff, Peter, Kafka lesen. Zur Methode seiner Literatur (Marcus Bullock)

Reinhardt, Maria, Geteilte Kritiken. DDR-Literatur und bundesrepublikanische Literaturkritik (Marcel P. Rotter)

Thompson, Mark Christian, Anti-Music: Jazz and Racial Blackness in German Thought between the Wars (Alan Lareau)

Ullrich, Heiko, Hrsg., Privatmann – Protestant – Patriot – Panegyriker – Petrarkist – Poet. Neue Studien zu Leben und Werk Georg Rudolf Weckherlins (1584–1653) (Christian Meierhofer)

von Petersdorff, Dirk und Jens Ewen, Hrsg., Konjunkturen der Ironie – um 1800, um 2000 (Christian Weber)

Wolf, Michaela, ed., Interpreting in Nazi Concentration Camps (Viktorija Bilić)

 

BOOKS RECEIVED