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Volume 89, Number 3, Fall 1997 Table of Contents
Texts and Documents
Zum achtzigsten Geburtstag
Jakob Hessing was brought up in West Berlin and is now Professor of German Literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His publications include both scholarly work and fiction: to wit, Else Lasker-Schüler: Deutsch-jüdische Dichterin (1985), Der Fluch des Propheten: Drei Abhandlungen zu Sigmund Freud (1989), and the novel Der Zensor ist tot (1990), among others. “Zum achtzigsten Geburtstag,” here printed for the first time, is an independent short story; however, it also forms part of a longer narrative project called Familiengeschichte: Kapitel eines Romans. Each chapter of this novel is a piece of prose that can be read on its own, but its protagonists appear in other pieces as well. When the stories are finally put together in a more or less chronological order, these persons will turn out to be the members of a Jewish family who has survived the Holocaust and has chosen to live in West Germany, of all places. One part of the family, however, has emigrated to Israel, and it is from their perspective—or mostly from their perspective—that the stories are being told. When completed, the novel will span the time from about 1945 to the present. “Zum achtzigsten Geburtstag” is one of the later pieces.
Ergriffenheit and Kritik: or, Decolonizing Heine
The revival of interest in Heine in the context of the 1968 revolt had a flaw which was perhaps analogous to the whole project of decolonization. For if Heine had been ‘colonized’ to the point of effacement by the discourse of anti-Semitism in Germany, the emancipation of the poet from the insidious and lingering after-effects of that effacement involved much more than the rehabilitation and recognition of the poet at the overtly ‘political’ level. Reading the anti-Semitic polemic on Heine was not only political hostility, but also fear of emotional identification with its object—fear of succumbing to Heine’s poetic ‘magic.’ It was, ultimately, the despairing attempt to deny that Heine as a Jew could ever create Ergriffenheit in his German readers; and this is the very dimension which still needs to be restored to the reading of Heine’s text: for it is precisely in the unprecedented fusion of Ergriffenheit, of the transports of lyric feeling, with the most acute social and political criticism that the secret of Heine's poetic power lies. (PP)
Lisa A. Rainwater van Suntum
Hiding behind Literary Analysis: Heinrich Heine’s Shakspeares Mädchen und Frauen and Lou Andreas-Salomé's Henrik Ibsens Frauengestalten
Three years after the Bündestagsbeschlüß of 1835 Heinrich Heine started work on a project which dealt with Shakepeare’s female figures. Writing under censorship Heine was careful not to discuss openly his dismay in regards to political, religious, and economic issues. Shakspeares Mädchen und Frauen serves as one of his many treatises, in which, writing under self-censorship, he uses irony, satire, and cryptic notions to put forth his ideas. Lou Andreas-Salomé struggled with her own form of self-censorship. Afraid of being ostracized by her male colleagues, she was wary of publicly stating her views on feminism. Using the female figures of Henrik Ibsen, she is able to discuss the roles of women and put forth a model of the New Woman. Both writers delve into the social and political issues of their time, always careful, however, to mask their ideas behind literary analysis. (LARvS)
Franz Mehrings Heine-Bild
Heine was—next to Lessing and Schiller—the German writer and poet Mehring revered most. In sharp contrast to the moralistic and anti-Semitic biases against Heine among the Wilhelminian bourgeoisie Mehring emphasized in his Heine biography and his eight articles on Heine above all the enlightened, cosmopolitan, and early socialist ideas in Heine’s work. Even if some of Mehring’s ideas seem to be outdated today, his defense of higher forms of culture and his political courage are definitely not. (JH) (In German)
Special Survey: To Whom and to What End Do We Teach German?