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Monatshefte

Volume 90, Number 1, Spring 1998 Table of Contents

Texts and Documents

Lisa Kahn
Drei Gedichte
Lisa Kahn, a native of Germany born in Berlin, has been living in the United States for many decades. She has taught German and French at various American institutions, notably in Texas, and has published numerous scholarly articles. Above all, however, Kahn is the author of a dozen volumes of poetry; in addition, she has also authored a collection of short stories and fairy tales (1984) and served as editor or coeditor of anthologies. A recipient of sundry honors and awards, Lisa Kahn was recently named Poeta Laureata by the University of New Mexico. Her “Drei neue Gedichte” are printed here for the first time. (RG) (In German)

 

Rita Terras
Die graue Eminenz
Rita Terras is Professor emerita of German at Connecticut College, New London, CT. Shortly after her retirement, she became editor of the German-American poetry journal TRANS-LIT, now in its fifth year. Aside from scholarly articles, she has published two volumes of poetry. Other poems as well as short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies in both Germany and the United States. Monatshefte previously published two of her poems. “Die graue Eminenz” is a new text which here appears in print for the first time. (RT) (In German)

Articles

Hans Adler
Monumentalfragment und Totalität: Johann Gottfried Herders Stellung zum diskursiven Konstrukt der Geschichtsphilosophie
Abstract:
Johann Gottfried Herder wrote his major works at a time when the modern concept of history was coming into being; the discovery of what was termed “sense of history” is attributed to him. This article discusses what integrating history into enlightenment thinking entailed during a period when an attitude of condescension—if not hostility—toward history prevailed. The necessity of merging philosophy and history not only created a new discipline—philosophy of history; it also profoundly affected the relationship between the past and its heirs in that history now was deemed accessible solely through philosophical reflection. While enlightened philosophy was directed toward totality, however, the historical multifariousness of events in all its apparent contingency would appear to elude any integration into a coherent system. Herder’s “monumental fragments” as an approach to totality embody that fruitful antagonism. (HA) (In German)

 

Richard Block
Stone Deaf: The Gentleness of Law in Stifter’s Brigitta
Abstract:
In preparing a revision of Brigitta for the third volume of the Studien, Stifter set out to join more urgently the fate of the characters in the story to the political destiny of Hungary and Europe. As a result, Brigitta must be read as a political allegory that predicts the fate of Hungary insofar as that land’s quest for self-expression will always give rise to a law that structures and misdirects that effort. This law structures not only the fate of the characters and their land but Stifter’s own narrative as well. Its indelible marker is the unnamed but omniscient narrator, and the relentless consistency with which it comes to express itself will only be visible after the fact, as narrative. For at the heart of the law’s expressive nature is something that always expresses itself otherwise, or in this case, as gentle. (RB)

 

Sean Ireton
Die Transformation zweier Gregors: Thomas Manns Der Erwählte und Kafkas Die Verwandlung
Abstract:
This article traces various motifs that run through Kafka’s Die Verwandlung and Thomas Mann’s Der Erwählte in an effort to suggest an influence of the former work upon the latter. Taking as its point of departure the transformation of Gregor Samsa and Gregorius into indeterminate grotesque creatures, the investigation pursues such related motifs as guilt/debt (Schuld) and nourishment in the form of both physical feeding and spiritual sustenance. In the case of Kafka, other stories containing identical themes (e.g. “Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande,” “Forschungen eines Hundes,” “Der Hungerkünstler”) occasionally enter the analysis in order to broaden and reinforce the motif-complex as well as to illuminate further connections to Thomas Mann’s novel. Ultimately, any definitive conclusion positing a direct influence is forgone and left to the power of suggestion based on the many affinities between the two texts. (SI) (In German)

 

Thomas Jung
Nicht-Darstellung und Selbst-Darstellung: Der Umgang mit der “Judenfrage” in der SBZ und der frühen DDR und dessen Niederschlag in Literatur und Film
Abstract:
This article reevaluates the first two decades of East German cultural politics after 1945. It demonstrates that during this period not only high literature, on which we traditionally concentrate, but also various areas of everyday culture were made to serve the purpose of Umerziehung (re-education). Using a broader approach to cultural issues, it focuses on the Jewish question and its artistic and literary representation. First, a brief review of the Jewish question within the framework of Marxist theory and set in a context of early developments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe is presented. Then an investigation of cultural processes around the Jewish question leads to the central argument that the instrumentalization of cultural production as well as cultural products had a particular effect on individual Jews, on (cultural) life as a whole, and on the self-understanding and self-representation of Jewish remigrants who settled in the SBZ or GDR. (TJ) (In German)

 

Matthias Konzett
The Politics of Recognition in Contemporary Austrian Jewish Literature
Abstract:
Focusing on the limited example of contemporary Austrian Jewish literature, this article explores possibilities of recognition beyond national and ethnic identities. Examining Elfriede Jelinek’s play Totenauberg, Robert Schindel’s novel Gebürtig, and Doron Rabinovici’s story “Noémi,” the author shows how these writers are ill at ease with national or ethnic categorizations and instead attempt to enlarge these definitions toward a metropolitan, transnational, and transcultural space. The first part of the article considers the instability of Jewish and Austrian identity as defined in various contexts of Austrian history (turn-of-the-century Vienna, inter-war and Nazi era, post World War II and reconstruction era, Waldheim and present era). The second part explores the confrontational and evasive staging of Jewish identity in Jelinek, Schindel, and Rabinovici in their strategic attempts to stem against prevailing modes of cultural amnesia and revisionism as well as against dubious manifestations of ethnic fetishization, sentimentality and philo-Semitism. (MK)

 

Review Articles

Sabine Hake
German Cinema

 

Book Reviews

Alefeld, Yvonne-Patricia, Göttliche Kinder. Die Kindheitsindeologie in der Romantik (Karl Menges)

Allan, Seán, The Plays of Heinrich von Kleist: Ideals and Illusions (Marjorie A. Gelus)

Auckenthaler, Karlheinz, Lauter Einzelfälle. Bekanntes und Unbekanntes zur neueren österreichischen Literatur (Jürgen Koppensteiner)

Bahti, Timothy and Marilyn Sibley Fries, eds., Jewish Writers, German Literature: The Uneasy Examples of Nelly Sachs and Walter Benjamin (Russell Berman)

Brenner, Peter J., Neue deutsche Literaturgeschichte. Vom “Ackermann” zu Günter Grass (Kim Vivian)

Csúri, Károly, Hrsg., Zyklische Kompositionsformen in Georg Trakls Dichtung (Ward B. Lewis)

Dassanowsky, Robert, Phantom Empires: The Novels of Alexander Lernet-Holenia and the Question of Postimperial Austrian Identity (Thomas Eicher)

Dedner, Burghard, Hrsg., Das Wartburgfest und die oppositionelle Bewegung in Hessen (Gisela Benda)

Donahue, Neil H., ed., Invisible Cathedrals: The Expressionist Art History of Wilhelm Worringer (Barbara Buenger)

Fontius, Martin und Anneliese Klingenberg, Hrsg., Karl Philipp Moritz und das 18. Jahrhundert. Bestandsaufnahmen—Korrekturen—Neuansätze (Irmgard S. Immel)

Gutknecht, Christoph, Lauter spitze Zungen. Geflügelte Worte und ihre Geschichte (Wolfgang Mieder)

Halkin, Ariela, The Enemy Reviewed: German Popular Literature through British Eyes between the Two World Wars (Keith Bullivant)

Hayer, Uwe, Das Genie und die Transzendenz. Untersuchungen zur konzeptionellen Einheir theologischer und aesthetischer Reflexion bei J.M.R. Lenz (Martin Kagel)

Jarka, Horst, ed., Von der Ringstraße zur 72nd Street. Jimmy Bergs Chansons aus dem Wien der dreißiger Jahre und dem New Yorker Exil (Alan Lareau)

Jordan, Lothar und Bernd Kortländer, Hrsg., Nationale Grenzen und internationaler Austausch: Studien zum Kultur- und Wissenschaftstransfer in Europa (Robert L. Jamison)

Murphy, Harriet, Canetti and Nietzsche: Theories of Humor in Die Blendung (Dagmar C. G. Lorenz)

Nawab, Mona el, Ingeborg Bachmanns “Undine geht.” Ein stoff- und motivgeschichtlicher Vergleich mit Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqués “Undine” und Jean Giraudoux’ “Ondine” (Sara Lennox)

Schings, Hans-Jürgen, Die Brüder des Marquis Posa. Schiller und der Geheimbund der Illuminaten (Horst S. Daemmrich)

Scholz Williams, Gerhild and Stephan K. Schindler, eds., Knowledge, Science and Literature in Early Modern Germany (Karl J. Fink)

Seibert, Peter, Der literarische Salon: Literatur und Geselligkeit zwischen Aufklärung und Vormärz (Ute Brandes)

Stephan, Alexander, Im Visier des FBI. Deutsche Exilschriftsteller in den Akten amerikanischer Geheimdienste (James R. Keller)

Trommler, Frank, Thematics Reconsidered: Essays in Honor of Horst S. Daemerich (Thomas Freeman)