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Monatshefte

Volume 91, Number 3, Fall 1999 Table of Contents

Texts and Documents

Karl Krolow
Sechs späte Gedichte
Karl Krolow, born in Hannover in 1915, died on 21 June 1999. He could justly be called both the dean and the nestor of modern—i.e., postwar—German lyric poetry. Beginning in the early 1950s, he published well over 30 volumes of poems, along with critical essays and narrative prose. Krolow’s “Sechs späte Gedichte,” written in 1997/98, are printed here for the first time. (RG) (In German)

Articles

Sylvain Guarda
Hegel’s ‘Schein’: Eine ästhetische Konsekration (unter Berücksichtigung von Mörikes Gedicht “Auf eine Lampe”)
Abstract:
In evaluating Hegel’s lectures on aesthetics, this article charts the philosopher’s attempt to reconcile the individual with the divine through art. Not only does Hegel critically integrate Kant’s and Schiller’s artistic views into a synergetic system that centers on man as individual and mirror image of God, but he also lends to art a consecrative dimension which allows the individual to free himself from all life contingencies in order to become part of a holistic community. The study ends with an analysis of Eduard Mörike’s poem “Auf eine Lampe,” which illustrates how Hegel would resolve the problematic relationship between form and content in his transubstantial art form. (SG) (In German)

 

Lynne Tatlock
Disease and Communion in Wilhelm Raabe’s Unruhige Gäste
Abstract:
While images of disjuncture and exclusion spectacularly abound in Wilhelm Raabe’s Unruhige Gäste (1885), the desire for community, even nation, constitutes the underpinnings of this tale of rural, post-unification Germany. In particular, the author’s introduction of a specific and frequently fatal contagious disease—typhus—creates slippages in the social order and narrative logic that lead to unforeseen points of contact between ostensibly disparate characters and ostensibly isolated historical moments. Disease and death serve not primarily as occasions for textual exploration of modes of social exclusion, but rather as powerful, even if negative, signifiers of links between people and thus of unfulfilled potential for community. Raabe’s novel mourns the repeated failure of imagination that distinguishes his characters’ construction of one another and their understanding of human belonging and expresses disappointment in the unfulfilled potential of empire and nation, in the failure of Imperial Germany to realize a whole and greater society. (LT)

 

Mary M. Paddock
So ist das Leben: Frank Wedekind’s Scharfrichter Diary
Abstract:
Frank Wedekind’s So ist das Leben has been routinely dismissed as the jeremiad of a self-pitying dramatist, but minimal attention has been given to the importance of his role as a cabaret artist in the writing of the play. Wedekind’s professional dissatisfaction does play a dominant role, as reflected in the play’s main figure, Nicolo, a deposed king cum itinerant performer. However, Nicolo and his daughter, Alma, must be considered as inseparable in an analysis of the work’s autobiographical dimension as they are in the play itself. A more positive outlook emerges, suggesting that Wedekind’s involvement in the cabaret held some satisfaction for him. Revisions for the 1911 play underscore this duality, as well as the view of the 1902 version as a personal journal in which the author recorded his frustrations as a struggling playwright, but also documented his directly related, often conflicting feelings about being a cabaret performer. (MMP)

 

Richard Andress
Verschoben, aber nicht aufgehoben: Zur Topographie der Liebe im Kontext von Volksgemeinschaft und Krieg in erfolgreichen NS-Filmen
Abstract:
The unequivocally propagandistic films of the Third Reich were far from popular. In fact, Goebbels knew that blatant propaganda would not draw large crowds and thus advocated its more subtle use in movies, even pushing for films that would distract audiences from the harsh realities of war. Musical romance movies like Wunschkonzert, Die große Liebe, and Die Frau meiner Träume are examples of such films that achieved considerable popularity. With their premieres respectively in 1940, 1942, and 1944, it is particularly revealing to place their representations of love in the context of the ongoing war and the Volksgemeinschaft. In the process, a topography of filmed love can be generated, its main characteristic being that love and illusion become increasingly foregrounded as the war becomes more and more hopeless for the Germans. (RA) (In German)

 

Stephen Brockmann
The Written Capital
Abstract:
Using post-unification Berlin fiction as its primary focus, this article explores the tension in contemporary German culture between the written word and the visual image as factors in national identity formation. Beginning with an exploration of the exalted status of storytelling in Wim Wenders’ film Der Himmel über Berlin, the article then asks whether the written word has lost national-political status in the wake of German reunification. Suggesting that this question is impossible to answer in the absence of empirical sociological studies, the article then moves on to explore internal literary evidence of a battle between the written word and visual images in contemporary Berlin fiction, from Monika Maron’s Stille Zeile Sechs to Thomas Hettche’s Nox. In conclusion the article suggests that for the most part contemporary literary depictions of the German capital demonstrate continued devotion to the written word, claiming it as the primary marker of German national identity. (SB)

 

Marcus Bullock
Beyond 2000: Ernst Jünger’s Second German Century
Abstract:
Seldom in his reflections on the twentieth century, extending from experiences before the First World War to his death in 1998, did Ernst Jünger deviate from the ideology of adventurous militarism, and never from the mythology of heroic struggle. Nonetheless, the critical reception that has so insistently leaned on analogies between his position and the catastrophes of German fascism now faces a significant shift in its task. The monument that readers in the next century will find in his bewitching fantasies of masculine endurance and his own astoundingly enduring existence will assuredly outlive the disordered tangle of threads linking him to the Third Reich. If the attempt to identify him with National Socialist mythology is itself not free of myth, then this tie will provide little resistance to the growth of his posthumous renown. A successful critique now requires a larger scale in the relationship between literature and history. (MB)

 

Review Articles

Klaus L. Berghahn
German Misery—1945: A Revision

Book Reviews