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Monatshefte

Volume 89, Number 2, Summer 1997 Table of Contents

Texts and Documents

Carl R. Martin
Four American Poems in a German-Austrian Key
Carl R. Martin is an English-language writer who draws inspiration from his experience with Germany and Austria. The first black student to graduate from Oak Ridge Military Academy, he completed a B.A. degree from Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, and has since then held a number of awards and grants. His poems have appeared in Pembroke Magazine, WordImage, and the Denver Quarterly, and are forthcoming in International Poetry Review. His first book, Go Your Stations, Girl, was published in 1991, and a second one, Genii over Salzburg, will appear in the spring of 1998. The “Four American Poems in a German-Austrian Key” appear here for the first time. (CLN) (In English)

 

Articles

Michael Schumann
Arminius redivivus: Zur literarischen Aneignung des Hermannsstoffs im 18. Jahrhundert
Abstract:
A closer look at the German literature of the later eighteenth centruy reveals a rapidly growing emphasis on patriotic themes. In this context the reinvention of Arminius as a national hero is of special significance. Tracing the genealogy of several eighteenth-century “Hermannsdramen,” the essay tries to determine points of contact between “enlightened patriotism” and the formation of German nationalist discourse. (MS) (In German)

 

Susan E. Gustafson
“Don’t See, Don’t Tell”: Gender Transgression and Repetition Compulsion in Goethe’s Die natürliche Tochter
Abstract:
Goethe’s Die natürliche Tochter depicts the emblematic eradication of a gender-bending daughter. The father figures of the play return obsessively to the issue of the daughter’s (Eugenie’s) potential death, recounting her masculine feats and her subsequent disappearances and reappearances. These reiterations of Eugenie’s fate function much in the same way that Freud describes the purpose of repetition compulsion in Beyond the Pleasure Principle. In the play the repetitive returns to Eugenie’s annihilation mark an attempt on the part of the “fathers” of the drama to master a traumatic experience: Eugenie’s amorphous mix of gender identities. Her death represents the expunction of her masculinity and insures her exclusive femininity. Die natürliche Tocher suggests that Eugenie can survive her inevitable emasculation only as a poetic image, in banishment, or in marriage. Each of these “options” represents symbolic death. Eugenie, the gender-bending daughter-son must—one way or another—die. (SEG)

 

Kristina R. Sazaki
The Crippled Text/Woman: Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s Ledwina
Abstract
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s early prose fragment Ledwina (1820–25) tells the story of a woman's vain search for her (creative) identity. This article reads Ledwina as a crippled text and argues that Droste-Hülshoff uses ‘crippled’ imagery to embody woman’s position in society and in the creative realm. Ledwina’s walks along the river, her disquieting dream and visions, various travel anecdotes about other women, and her brother’s excursion to a cave all take on new significance when seen in terms of Ledwina’s journey of self-discovery. The motif of crippling designates the feminine condition in discord with society and links the two divergent narrative strands (social and personal), thereby elevating the text beyond the romantic ideals of a dying heroine. What initially appears to be one woman’s crippling is indicative of the feminine condition and mandates the fragmentary body of the text. (KRS)

 

David Kenosian
The Colonial Body Politic: Desire and Violence in the Works of Gustav Frenssen and Hans Grimm
Abstract:
This article explores how constructions of race legitimize the violent subjugation of Africans in the German colonies in the works of two of the most important German colonial writers, Gustav Frenssen and Hans Grimm. The widespread belief that black Africans are inferior to white Europeans served as a justification for oppressive power relations which can be seen in Hegelian terms: the Europeans’ desire for recognition as master compels them to conquer the Africans. A close analysis of texts by Frenssen and Grimm reveals internal instabilities in the discourse of race: the body is transformed from a marker of difference into the point of convergence between the races. This shift enables the writers to represent violence against the Africans as a means of combatting threats to the putative hierarchy of the races. (DK)

 

John-Thomas Siehoff
“Philine ist doch am Ende nur ein Hürchen . . .”: Doktor Faustus: Ein Bildungsroman? Thomas Manns Doktor Faustus und die Spannung zwischen den Bildungsideen der deutschen Klassik und ihrer Rezeption durch das deutsche Bürgertum im 19. und fruehen 20. Jahrhundert
Abstract:
In Doktor Faustus Thomas Mann criticizes specific German academic and philosophical traditions from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The article shows that Mann believed some of these traditions were based on an inaccurate perception of the works of Weimar classicism by the German bourgeoisie. Two passages from the ninth and the thirty-eighth chapters of Doktor Faustus show how misinterpretations of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister contributed to the development of a negative morality in the Weimar Republic. But even though Mann’s protagonist Adrian Leverkuehn realizes these intellectual failures, he cannot get past them in his own philosophy. (J-TS) (In German)

 

Reinhold Grimm
Intertextualitaet als Schranke: Übersetzungsprobleme bei Zitaten und der dergleichen am Beispiel Günter Kunerts
Abstract:
“Intertextuality,” it seems, has become a household word in literary theory and criticism ever since Julia Kristeva published her influential Recherches on this topic in 1969. With blithering arbitrariness, certain scholars, referring (or not referring) to her, have come to combine the most unrelated texts, and to draw from them the most astonishing conclusions. However, things are totally different if one investigates concrete textual, or intertextual, relationships as they occur, time and again, in translational endeavors. As a matter of fact, intertextuality then reveals itself, in most cases, as an insurmountable linguistic barrier. Poems by Günter Kunert, from his most recent collections of verse in particular, provide a variety of gripping examples—which, needless to say, could be augmented almost at will. (RG) (In German)

 

Book Reviews

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