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Monatshefte

Volume 92, Number 4, Winter 2000 Table of Contents

Texts and Documents

Peter Beicken
Bach, dreifach
Peter Beicken is Professor of German at the University of Maryland. Apart from his many scholarly publications, notably on Kafka, he has also published poetry and prose. Beicken is the recipient of the city of Wuppertal’s Eduard von der Heydt Prize for his Kindheit in W.: Gedichte und Prosa (1983) and of the Elizabeth Frazer de Bussy Prose Prize (1998); furthermore, he is the editor of Trans-Lit, the journal of the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German. (RG) (In German)

Articles

Martin Kagel
At Poetry’s End: Truth, Representation, and the Aesthetic in Johann Gottfried Seume’s Travelogues
Abstract:
The late-Enlightenment writer Johann Gottfried Seume (1763–1810) considers truth, in the sense of verisimilitude, to be a central concept in his writing. He strives to achieve the truthful representation of what he sees, particularly a kind of political realism as opposed to the literary aesthetic, which he equates with harmonizing idealization and ultimately delusion. The dichotomy between truthful representation and aesthetic embellishment also constitutes the conceptual framework of his two travelogues Spaziergang nach Syrakus im Jahre 1802 and Mein Sommer 1805. Both display features that underscore Seume’s claim of authentic depiction. Underlying this depiction, however, is a perception not concerned with purpose and objective, one of Seume’s central demands for literature. Thus the author’s sincerity, so ostensibly opposed to the concept of aesthetic autonomy, is the result of that same paradigm, an “aesthetic unconscious” that determines the author’s perception and that, in turn, calls into question the objectivity of the narrative. (MK)

 

Jost Hermand
Extremfall Büchner. Versuch einer politischen Verortung
Abstract:
This article gives a brief history of the major phases of Büchner’s reception in Germany. Depending on the various political and cultural circumstances, Büchner has been seen since the 1870s as (1) a committed socialist or even an early communist, (2) a disillusioned rebel who abandoned all political aspirations after the failed action surrounding the Hessische Landbote, or (3) as a melancholic who tended from the very outset toward an aestheticized outsider position. Major emphasis is placed on the last thirty years, when Büchner reception has evolved substantially from leftist-inspired views to psychological, existentialist, or poststructuralist perspectives, thereby drawing Büchner increasingly out of the realm of the political. (JH) (In German)

 

Catherine Nichols
Looking Back at the End of the World: Hans Magnus Enzensberger on 1989 and the Millennium
Abstract:
The wave of symposia throughout 1999/2000 which was dedicated to the task of taking stock of German literature and thought ten years after the historical caesura of 1989 and at the end of the millennium, demonstrated a dominance of introspection, preoccupation with the German Question, and frenzied anticipation of the Wenderoman. This article examines an alternative vision: Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s engagement with these historical events. It proposes, through chronological survey, that Enzensberger’s literary-theoretical orientation has remained largely unaffected by the changes, and furthermore that the non-linear turn his literary paradigm had taken prior to 1989, coupled with a general skepticism toward the degree of “order” achieved by the Cold War bipolarity, has allowed the caesura of 1989 to function in his perspective more as affirmation than as disruption. The survey investigates the nature of this paradigm in order to establish its theoretical viability and its significance to Enzensberger’s literary œuvre as a whole. (CN)

 

Personalia

Introduction, German Departments in the U.S.A., German Departments in Canada, Promotions, New Appointments, Visitors, Retirements, Necrology, Doctoral Dissertations, Summary

Book Reviews

Notes

Berliner Aufklärung
Monatshefte / Max Kade Institute Directory of German Studies 2000

Index Volume 92 (2000)