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  1. The empty canvas : Daniel Kehlmann's "Tyll" and the origins of modernity
    Erschienen: 13.01.2020

    Where Haas sees the narrative dividing into "Streberwitz" and "Kriegsdarstellung" I see something more like a division between 'Witz' and 'Krieg' per se. The point and the provocation of the novel, in my view, is that Kehlmann declines to bring these... mehr

     

    Where Haas sees the narrative dividing into "Streberwitz" and "Kriegsdarstellung" I see something more like a division between 'Witz' and 'Krieg' per se. The point and the provocation of the novel, in my view, is that Kehlmann declines to bring these two strata together, or rather: that he first insists on bringing them together, by forcing Tyll and the Thirty Years War to inhabit the same work, and then refuses to synthesize them into anything like a higher unity. The irony of the fool, in Tyll, does not acquire gravity or depth by virtue of its relationship to a reality whose hidden truths it emphatically does not reveal; and the reality of war does not find redemption or sublimation in art.

     

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  2. 'Novel-seeming goods': rereading Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children' and Patrick Süskind's 'Das Parfum' 40 years later
    Erschienen: 20.06.2022

    Jameson argues that in 'a society bereft of all historicity', 'what used to be the historical novel can no longer set out to represent the historical past'. The 'postmodern fate' of the historical novel is to be forced to come to terms with 'a new... mehr

     

    Jameson argues that in 'a society bereft of all historicity', 'what used to be the historical novel can no longer set out to represent the historical past'. The 'postmodern fate' of the historical novel is to be forced to come to terms with 'a new and original historical situation in which we are condemned to seek History by way of our own pop images and simulacra of that history, which itself remains forever out of reach. Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" (1981) and Patrick Süskind's "Das Parfum. Die Geschichte eines Mörders" (1984) stand out as two hugely successful novels from this period that raise questions about historical representation within the space of the popular. They might therefore be used as test cases for Jameson's concerns. "Midnight's Children" is a sprawling story of Indian and British imperial and post-imperial history across the twentieth century. "Das Parfum" tells the tightly framed tale of a murderous perfumer in eighteenth-century France. Seemingly very different texts, they bear one curious similarity: both feature a protagonist with an unusually sensitive sense of smell.

     

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  3. Medieval Denmark and its languages : the case for a more open literary historiography
    Erschienen: 23.06.2022

    This chapter makes the case for a literary history that accounts for the multilingual nature of medieval Denmark, giving particular attention to Danish, German, and Latin. It relates such a project to current research interests such as crossing the... mehr

     

    This chapter makes the case for a literary history that accounts for the multilingual nature of medieval Denmark, giving particular attention to Danish, German, and Latin. It relates such a project to current research interests such as crossing the boundaries of national philologies; demonstrates the need for it by reviewing existing surveys of the period; and outlines some lines of enquiry, including the translation and transmission of texts, that it could pursue.

     

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  4. The 'end of history' revisited : Christa Wolf's 'Kassandra' and Jeanette Winterson's 'Sexing the cherry'
    Erschienen: 01.08.2022

    In his article "The End of History?", originally published in the journal "The National Interest" in Summer 1989, Frances Fukuyama argued that 'the triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable... mehr

     

    In his article "The End of History?", originally published in the journal "The National Interest" in Summer 1989, Frances Fukuyama argued that 'the triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systemic alternatives to Western liberalism.' It was in this respect that history had reached its 'end': the course of history in the sense of 'mankind's logical evolution' had arrived at 'the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government'. [...] A look at some of the historical fiction written in the 1980s might suggest ways out of this potential imaginative impasse, offering up alternative possibilities, or 'Gegenwelten', in place of the dispiriting spectacle of history-on-repeat. Fukuyama himself does not mention literature. In fact, the historical fiction of the 1980s reveals a space in which the meaning of 'history' is still very much contested and where the threat of the 'end of history' in its more obvious sense - in the form of nuclear war or climate apocalypse - emerges as a force that speaks powerfully to the anxiety of our present moment. Two evocative novels that have much to tell us in these respects are Christa Wolf's "Kassandra" and Jeanette Winterson's "Sexing the Cherry". Published in 1984 and 1989, these two texts challenged the idea of rational progress and 'mankind's logical evolution' by raising the prospect of a distinctive feminist poetics - of 'écriture féminine' and 'what it will do' as Hélène Cixous had put it in her 1975 essay "The Laugh of the Medusa". The 'Gegenwelten' they propose suggest ways out of the macho strait jacket of violence, destruction and impending nuclear war.

     

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  5. Reading the aesthetics of resistance
    Autor*in: Shields, Ross
    Erschienen: 29.06.2020

    The resistance of aesthetics consists in the mode of experience that art affords, which promotes individual consciousness and political awareness by exploding the dualisms with which we tend to simplify things: centralization and decentralization,... mehr

     

    The resistance of aesthetics consists in the mode of experience that art affords, which promotes individual consciousness and political awareness by exploding the dualisms with which we tend to simplify things: centralization and decentralization, totality and fragmentation, communism and neoliberal capitalism, dictatorship and democracy. Although the formal complexity and ambiguous compositions met in works by the likes of Picasso, Woolf, and Schönberg most obviously support this sort of experience, it can be drawn out of all art to various degrees. Indeed, what distinguishes these modernists from the artists who came before and after them is how they set aesthetic experience as the aim of artistic production. But no work of art can be reduced either to the whole or to the sum of its parts; either to systematicity or to formlessness. Strictly speaking, the opposing ideals of classical and critical aesthetics are not two distinct aesthetic positions, but the theoretical limits between which art unfolds. By analogy, totalitarian governance and social atomism are not oppositional political materializations, but the two extremes at which politics ends.

     

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