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Volume 99, Number 3, Fall 2007 Table of Contents

Special Issue: Dea Loher


Birgit Haas
Dea Loher: Vorstellung


Bibliographie Dea Loher


Birgit Haas
Die Rekonstruktion der Dekonstruktion in Dea Lohers Dramen, oder: Die Rückkehr des politischen Dramas
Pitting Lohers aesthetics of theatre against Hans Thies Lehmann’s view of the postdramatic, this essay examines the various ways in which Loher overcomes the postdramatic theatre. Drawing on a vast range of examples from her work, the essay clarifies Loher’s position in regard to mimesis. Whilst postmodernism features as a theme in Loher’s oeuvre, the form of her plays denies the idea of the radicalized V-effect that is typical of postmodern performances. As far as the dramatic form is concerned, Loher’s plays do not adhere to a postmodern postdramatic style. By contrast, Loher harks back to the tradition of the political theatre of Sartre and Brecht. This does not mean, however, that she merely replicates their aesthetics. Mimesis means that she employs both Brecht’s “not-but” and Sartre’s engaged theatre, thus distancing herself from the idea of radicalized Brechtian (i.e., postmodern) theatre. In this sense, her theater is derived from modernist ideas, namely the focus on the individual in an increasingly mechanized environment; an individual who—in contrast to the two-dimensional figures of the postdramatic—is still open to communication with others through language, thus being able to negotiate his/her position. Loher does not teach her audience what to think; yet she offers a dramatic framework for the struggle of the individual. (BH; in German)


Sebastian Wogenstein
“Meine Nachahmung eine Neuerschaffung”—Aneignung und Ent-Stellung in Dea Lohers Manhattan Medea
The question how to situate Dea Loher’s drama Manhattan Medea in the Medea reception serves as a point of departure for a discussion of imitation, originality, and the act of copying. In their dialogues, the characters Medea, as in Euripides’ tragedy a refugee, and Velazquez, a security guard, reflect on originality and imitation. The article explores the theoretical and self-referential aspects evoked by these discussions and links them with a more general inquiry into the dimensions of interpretation in the arts. The question of originality and appropriation is expanded and problematized through focusing on radical social criticism voiced among others by the drag queen Deaf Daisy. In this context the article also examines the potential of performative signification encountered in Medea’s deadly bridal gift, especially in light of Marjory Garber’s remark that “[w]hat gets married is a dress.” Transgressive in its form too, Manhattan Medea combines tragic elements and those characteristic of comedy. (SW; in German)


Stephanie Catani
Vom Anfang und Ende des Mythos. Medea bei Christa Wolf und Dea Loher
Literary texts treating mythological subjects fulfill a mythmaking function, as Horkheimer⁄Adorno and Blumenberg have shown in their theories of myth. As it deals with mythological pretexts, literature acts mythopoetically. This implies a self-reflexive criticism of myths. In view of its overwhelming number of literary adaptations throughout cultural history, the myth of Medea can be seen as a literary “work on myth.” On the basis of Christa Wolf’s novel Medea. Stimmen on the one hand and Dea Loher’s play Manhattan Medea on the other, the paper analyzes the mythopoetic dimension of literature with the goal of exhibiting the critical tendencies in the examined texts, and showing at the same time their decisive differences. In Wolf’s novel, myth returns to its beginnings in such a way that its problematic creative processes are expounded. Furthermore, critical reflections on myth are developed by processes of a collective memory which become relevant for the production of myths. In doing so, the novel clearly refers to the current debate on literature as a ‘storage’ of a collective memory. The paper concludes that Dea Loher’s Manhattan Medea radicalizes the criticism of myth that is present in Wolf’s novel: Loher’s play questions the literary work on myth. Thus Loher denies the myth’s innovative potential and brings the Medea myth to a preliminary end. (SC; in German)


Michael Börgerding
“I’m just blue”—Der Regisseur Andreas Kriegenburg und seine Auseinandersetzung mit den Texten der Dramatikerin Dea Loher
The article describes the working relationship between the theater director Andreas Kriegenburg and the playwright Dea Loher from their first cooperation in 1995 to the current day. It also serves as an introduction to central aspects of Loher’s and Kriegenburg’s aesthestics. Kriegenburg’s first interpretation of a play by Loher—“Fremdes Haus” in 1995—set the tone of their cooperation. He treated her work like he would have treated a classic—with respect but without exaggerated reverence. Although some critics saw a lack of faithfulness to the original text in his approach Dea Loher felt that she could trust Kriegenburg to direct the first performances of others works as well, such as Adam Geist and Olgas Raum. Later cooperations on Magazin des Glücks (2001), Unschuld (2003), Das Leben auf der Praça Roosevelt (2004) and Quixote Material (2005) showed a defining principle in their relationship—mutual overtaxation or simply expecting too much of each other. For the experiment of Magazin des Glücks Loher sent a text to Kriegenburg every six weeks (!) that he would put on stage within three weeks and she was supposed to respond to his production with a new text. They ended up with a set of seven very diverse texts and productions. But overtaxation also refers to Loher’s increasingly non-dramatic, monologic and improbable dramas. Das Leben auf der Praça Roosevelt—based on Loher’s experience in São Paulo—works with monologic authentic stories from Latin America. Like most of her new plays it asks the basic question of how they can be put on stage at all. (MB; in German)


Andreas Gürtler / Angela M. C. Wendt
Höllische Paradiese.
Moralisches (?) Theater bei Friedrich Schiller und Dea Loher

In an interview, Loher refers to Schiller’s early concept of the “theatre as a moral institution.” Yet this cliché is problematic since it has been decontextualised. This essay argues that Loher is concerned with the aesthetics of the late Schiller, and it draws attention to the fact that Schiller never put his idea of a moral institution into practice. (AG, AMCW; in German)


Christine Künzel
“Vielleicht kommt die Gewalt von innen”: Dea Lohers Poet(h)ik der Gewalt
Almost all of Dea Loher’s plays deal with violence in one way or another. But Loher’s scenarios do not seem to follow a certain concept of violence. On the one hand violence seems to “come from inside,” like an irresistible drive; on the other hand it is presented as a stroke of fate—which might be a reference to Greek tragedy. Also, the difference between victim and perpetrator is blurred in Loher’s plays. This shows that Loher questions concepts of violence which insist on a strict separation of the positions of victim and perpetrator. At the same time the problem emrges that the experience of violence can no longer be associated with certain agents, e.g., with persons or institutions. Worst of all, violence cannot be related to anything at all. Loher’s treatment of violence is characterized above all through its uncanny omnipresence that leads to a naturalization of violence. All in all, Loher presents violence as an opaque phenomenon oscillating between an essentialist model which comprehends violence as an anthropological constant and a mythico-metaphysical concept suggesting that violence was and is always already there. (CK; in German)


Julian Preece
Die Terroristin als alter ego in den “bleiernen Zeiten” und andere umgewandelte Motive in Dea Lohers Zeitstück Leviathan
Leviathan is the only literary work which depicts the leading figures of the RAF without interpreting their actions through their bloody end and failure. Loher draws on the obvious sources but diverges from them by apparently giving the decision in 1970 to launch an armed struggle against Western governments a political purpose and chance of success which it never had. Like numerous other authors Loher gives her main ‘terrorist’ character (Marie, based on Ulrike Meinhof) an alter ego (her sister Christine) from whose perspective the ethics and efficacy of political violence are judged. She follows the structure of Margarethe von Trotta’s film Die bleierne Zeit (1981) which charts the lives of two sisters, based on Gudrun and Christiane Ensslin, who share a set of fundamental political beliefs and objectives, but differing in the methods they chose: one picks up a gun, the other campaigns as a journalist. In Leviathan, Neither Christine’s motives for alleviating suffering through her work as a nurse nor her wish to join her sister at the El Fatah training camp in Jordan are politically motivated. This in turn highlights the personal motivation of all the major characters in the play, based on Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin, and Andreas Baader. (JP; in German)


Artur Pełka
Das Theater als “lebendiges soziales Forum:” Dea Lohers Dramen auf polnischen Bühnen
As early as the mid 1990s, the Polish theater critics called Loher the “most promising author.” Local stages discovered her then in 2001. Pawel Miskiewicz staged her play Claras Verhältnisse in Wroclaw shortly after the Vienna world premiere. This young stage director discovered an extremely suitable formula for a stage realization of this play which became a huge success. That success was the reason why other stage directors put on this play, for example the famous director Krystian Lupa. Only a short time after that productions of Tätowierung and Blaubart—Hoffnung der Frauen followed all over Poland. The best ‘interpreter’ of Loher’s plays is still Miskiewicz. This became obvious in the Cracow staging of Unschuld and Claras Verhältnisse, both of which were very successful. The attraction of Loher’s work for the Polish theater people lies in their socio-critical and philosophical content, as the theater critics constantly point out. (AP; in German)


Book Reviews

Bohm, Arnd, Goethe’s Faust and European Epic: Forgetting the Future (Franz R. Kempf)

Downing, Eric, After Images: Photography, Archaeology, and Psychoanalysis and the Tradition of Bildung (Ulrike Peters Nichols)

Dunker, Axel, Hrsg., (Post)Kolonialismus und Deutsche Literatur. Impulse der angloamerikanischen Literatur- und Kulturtheorie (Todd Kontje)

Finney, Gail, ed., Visual Culture in Twentieth-Century Germany: Text as Spectacle (Eric Jarosinski)

Fitzon, Thorsten, Reisen in das befremdliche Pompeji. Antiklassizistische Antikenwahrnehmung deutscher Italienreisender 1750–1870 (Jeff Morrison)

Fricke, Hannes, Das hört NICHT auf. Trauma, Literatur und Empathie (Carl Pietzcker)

Hasty, Will, ed., German Literature of the High Middle Ages (Stephen Mark Carey)

Horstkotte, Silke und Karin Leonhard, Hrsg., Lesen ist wie Sehen. Intermediale Zitate in Bild und Text (Sabine Gross)

Koh, Maeng-Im, Mythos und Erzählen im Werk von Anna Seghers (Jennifer Marston William)

Krimmer, Elisabeth, In the Company of Men: Cross-Dressed Women around 1800 (Catriona MacLeod)

Lindner, Burkhardt, Hrsg., Unter Mitarbeit Von Thomas Küpper Und Timo Skrandies, Benjamin-Handbuch. Leben—Werk—Wirkung (Rolf J. Goebel)

Mommsen, Momme, Unter Mitarbeit Von Katharina Mommsen, Die Entstehung von Goethes Werken in Dokumenten. Band I (Abaldemus–Byron) (Hans Adler)

Mommsen, Momme, Unter Mitarbeit Von Katharina Mommsen, Die Entstehung von Goethes Werken in Dokumenten. Band II (Cäcilia–Dichtung und Wahrheit) (Hans Adler)

Mommsen, Momme, Unter Mitarbeit Von Katharina Mommsen, Die Entstehung von Goethes Werken in Dokumenten. Band III (Diderot–Entoptische Farben) (Hans Adler)

Nübel, Birgit, Robert Musil. Essayismus als Selbstreflexion der Moderne (Thomas Sebastian)

Reginster, Bernard, The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism (Ivan Soll)

Roßbach, Nikola, Theater über Theater. Parodie und Moderne 1870–1914 (Alan Lareau)

Sammons, Jeffrey L., Heinrich Heine: Alternative Perspectives 1985–2005 (Robert C. Holub)

Schütte, Uwe, Die Poetik des Extremen. Ausschreitungen einer Sprache des Radikalen (Thomas Freeman)

Stephan-Chlustin, Anne, Artuswelt und Gralswelt im Bild. Studien zum Bildprogramm der illustrierten Parzival-Handschriften (Salvatore Calomino)

Taberner, Stuart and Paul Cooke, eds., German Culture, Politics, and Literature into the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Normalization (Michelle Mattson)

Ward, Margaret E., Fanny Lewald: Between Rebellion and Renunciation (Jeffrey L. Sammons)

Wurst, Karin, Fabricating Pleasure: Fashion, Entertainment, and Cultural Consumption in Germany 1780–1830 (Helen G. Morris-Keitel)