Vielfalt 6: 2015-16

Page 1




VOLUME 6 | 2015—16 VOLUME 5 | 2014—15





VOLUME 6 | 2015—16


FEATURING ART BY: Daniel Galef, Andrea Garland, Vivienne Litzke & Erin Liu Cover photo by Vivienne Litzke

COORDINATING EDITORS: Andrea Garland and Jón Kristínarson

EDITORIAL BOARD: Sarah Bentivegna, Clara Gossmann, Stefan Kammerlander, Vivienne Litzke, Genevieve Riccoboni (Associate Editor), Jake Vertin & Noah Witte-Winnett

CONTRIBUTORS: Sofia Bach, Sébastien Brousse, Brianne Chapelle, Andrea Garland, Emilia Guerguinova, Marie-Anne Jagodzinski, Jón Kristínarson, Diana Little, Vivienne Litzke, Erin Liu, Joe Madzelewsky, Gabriel Proulx, Gabrielle Samra & Michael Schuck

SPECIAL THANKS: We would like to extend our thanks to the Arts Undergraduate Society, the German Students Association, the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at McGill University, and to the Goethe-Intitut-Montréal for their generous support. Additional thanks to the The McGill Daily/Le Délit for the use of their facilities. ISSN 2369-8926 (Print) ISSN 2369-8934 (Online)



EDITOR’S NOTE/VORWORT...........1 Andrea Garland & Jón Kristínarson

THE NARRATIVES THAT CRIED OF ARTISTIC GENIUS: A NOCHLINIAN CRITIQUE....................................3 Brianne Chapelle

KROMATIK UND SOMNUS.....................................9 Michael Schuck




LANGUAGE AND BEYOND: HOFMANNSTHAL’S LORD CHANDOS LETTER....................................23 Marie-Anne Jagodzinski

NICHTS, WAS IM LEBEN WICHTIG IST ...............................................28 Sébastien Brousse

THE POLITICS OF ART: KIRCHNER’S SELF-PORTRAITS.....................32 Brianne Chapelle

DAS FLEISCH...........................36 Gabriel Proulx

TRANSCENDENTALISM IN LATE 18TH CENTURY GERMAN DRAMA....................................38 Joe Modzelewsky

EIN MODERNES MÄRCHEN................................43 Emilia Guerguinova

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DEPENDENCE ON SIGHT IN THE SANDMAN.................................44 Diana Little

LA POÉSIE DE TRAKL................46 Sofia Bach

SOCIETIES IN CONFLICT: THE TRIUMPH OF ARCHAIC OVER COURTLY CULTURE...................................50 Gabrielle Samra





Vivienne Litzke

Editors’ Note


The editorial team is excited to present the sixth volume of Vielfalt, continuing the tradition of celebrating diversity in its interdisciplinary approach to the examination of German-speaking cultures that have yielded such a wealth of art. Thus, it is with great enthusiasm that we include more creative pieces in this issue than in previous years, embracing our appreciation for non-traditional content, while remaining dedicated to fostering a discussion on a variety of more conventionally academic topics. In this vein, we provide essays that delve into canonical authors such as Hoffmann, Goethe, and Brecht, and others pertaining to different media, such as the politics of art in relation to the expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, or the history of typography. Stretching across a vast temporal spectrum, the works that are treated range from the 13th century epic poem Das Nibelungenlied to, most recently, Dea Loher’s 1993 play Leviathan. Unsurprisingly, then, the issues that have been thematized differ significantly, broaching topics such as the crisis of language and the issue of gender regarding the concept of the genius artist. It remains our endeavour to consider the field of German Studies in its broadest configuration, for it would be remiss to discount the larger context in which such artistic expression flourishes. With this in mind, we hope you enjoy this year’s volume.

Die Vielfaltredaktion ist stolz die sechste Ausgabe vorzustellen. Wir setzen dabei die Tradition der Vielfalt fort, die vielfältigen deutschsprachigen Kulturen, die einen solchen Reichtum an Kunst hervorgebracht haben, durch einen interdisziplinären Prüfungsansatz zu feiern. Wir freuen uns besonders darüber, in dieser Ausgabe mehr schöpferische Werke als in vergangen Jahren präsentieren zu können. Dies zeigt unsere Wertschätzung für nichttraditionelle Inhalte. Gleichzeitig bleiben wir durch eine große Fülle von konventionellen, wissenschaftlichen Themen unserer Linie treu. In diesem Sinne stellen wir Aufsätze vor, die in die Werke kanonischer Autoren wie Hoffmann, Goethe und Brecht eintauchen, und wiederum andere, die sich auf Themen, wie die Politik der Kunst in Bezug auf den Expressionisten Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, oder die Geschichte der Typografie, beziehen. Die Werke, die betrachtet werden, erstrecken sich über einen weiten Zeithorizont - vom Nibelungenliedepos aus dem 13. Jahrhundert bis zu Dea Lohers Theaterstück Leviathan von 1993. Daher ist es wenig überraschend, dass sich die thematisierten Probleme deutlich unterscheiden und eine Vielzahl von Themen wie die Krise der Sprachen und die Frage nach dem Geschlecht in Bezug auf das Konzept des genialen Künstlers angeschnitten werden. Es bleibt unser Bestreben, das Feld der Germanistik in seiner vollen Breite zu betrachten, da es nachlässig wäre, den größeren Zusammenhang, in dem diese Kunstform gedeiht, unberücksichtigt zu lassen. In diesem Sinne hoffen wir, dass Sie die diesjährige Ausgabe genießen.

–Andrea Garland & Jón Kristínarson

–Andrea Garland & Jón Kristínarson Translated by Stefan Kammerlander



The Narratives That Cried of Artistic Genius: A Nochlinian Critique BRIANNE CHAPELLE In his late eighteenth century work “Critique of the Power of Judgment,” Immanuel Kant, influential thinker of the German aestheticist tradition, waxes poetically on artistic genius. Praising someone as a genius is, of course, an accolade of the highest regard. What art historian Linda Nochlin, who penned “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” in 1971, problematizes in the use of the term genius, and its consequent discursive framework, is the way in which it is intrinsically bound up in systems of oppression and exclusion. Nochlin, in her text, questions art historical narratives that privilege the “genius” artist, arguing that there is a systematic way in which access to this status is impeded by identity markers such as gender, race, and class, though gender is the locus of her argument. Her critique paves way for what is referred to as “new art history,” or revisionist art history that looks at these social factors in relation to the study of art. Her critique, therefore, is in dialogue with aesthetic philosophers like Kant who are responsible for the dialogues of artistic genius that are prevalent in the discourse of art history. It is true that Kant’s theory of genius does not make mention of access, and there is no textual support to argue that he was considering access, or its limitations for minorities, but his text actually has the implication of denying access as a worthwhile question. Since Kant theorizes genius by defining it and art as autonomous in a scientifically methodical manner, his account lacks thought of, and to an extent, refutes the relevance of identity markers, of social contexts and systems that make art and artists what they are. Therefore, he does not effectively respond to critiques like

Nochlin’s, further evidenced by the revising of history to question assertions comparable to his. Nochlin herself is a revisionist art historian or a practitioner of new art history, one who rejects methods of historiography that cry genius and artistic autonomy, meaning independent of the social or political realm. A new art historian, rather, focuses on the political and social contexts of art production.1 She states that, “now no serious contemporary art historian takes such obvious fairytales [as she refers to narratives of artistic geniuses] at face value.”2 ‘Old’ art history dialogues, thus, pay particular regard to formal qualities, or to the materiality of art objects, writing artist monographs that narratively elevate the artist to a genius status. Revisionists seek a history that puts an artwork and artist within their social and historical contexts, often viewing works through lenses like postcolonial theory, feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, etc.3 Nochlin is particularly focused on looking at art and its histories through the lens of feminist theory. When the narrative of “artist as genius” came about, historically, minorities of all kinds (gender, race, class, etc.) were excluded from the production of art itself, let alone achieving the status of genius. With the points of access closed-off to everyone but white men with at least some type of access to art education, the prestigious label of genius was one that was privileged and kept elitist by institutional barriers and authoritative narratives like Kant’s. First and foremost, Kant defines genius as “the inborn predisposition of the mind through which nature gives rule to art.”4 One contingency of artistic genius, for Kant, is that


it is an inborn predisposition. In other words, it is a gift that cannot be learned, but one is born having and therefore within them and within their faculties. This rationale directs the writing of histories that prize muses, divine inspiration, and, eventually, “tortured” artists. Secondly, genius is given by nature. This has the implication that the artist’s intention is not the driving force. Kant positions art as being produced by the unconscious, without the artist knowing what is happening. This assertion seems to leave room for art to be divinely inspired. Kant says, “The word genius is derived from genius, that peculiar guiding and guardian spirit given to a man at his birth, from whose suggestion these original Ideas proceed.”5 Reasonably, this is the foundation for narratives that depict artists as divinely inspired and naturally gifted, and allowing the mystery of art to remain in Kant’s account. Nochlin denies these sorts of poetic musings about art and its creators, critiquing definitions of genius like those in Kant and their implications upon analysis. Claiming that an artist is born with a predisposition towards genius, first of all, negates questions of access directly, though some would argue he does not mention access at all. Access to art education is not a relevant question if one does not require any education to become an artistic genius be-



cause they were born with the talent. Kant’s position, thus, allows for access to be a moot point. Nochlin, in asking if Picasso would have had the ability to become what he did had he not gone to art school, by asking would he have succeeded in the same way had he been a woman, points out the weakness in Kant’s position.6 Many genius artists were in fact educated and taught through imitation.7 The position operates entirely on the basis that those who consume his philosophy forget about the proliferation of art education and forget about access; it does not matter if genius is written off as a born-with-it kind of talent and not a learned one. In the search for a Kantian answer to the question “why are there no great women artists?,” one might presume his answer to be because they were not born with it, which in itself proves inherently misogynistic and supportive of Nochlin’s theses. Only upon putting the Kantian definition of genius in dialogue with questions like Nochlin’s does one see the sort of fallacy of his claim of inborn predisposition due to its reliance on rendering access a moot point. If, also, the gift of artistic genius is given by nature, as Kant says, this allows him to stray away from implications that the artist’s intentions are a driving force in the work. What is notable about this point is that is coincides

Andrea Garland

with what many revisionist art historians would likely support because of a belief within the humanities that one can never successfully conclude artistic or authorial intentionality. Their position would rest on the assertion that social context would be important in reading the work in any which way. Kant, however, suggests that messages cannot be definitively read from art, and his suggestion of an aesthetic experience that results after art production from the artist’s unconscious also pushes the claim that the artist’s intentions are not the driving force. This point indirectly negates social position, or gender, mattering in terms of art production. While revisionist art historians would say that artists’ individual intentions cannot be fleshed out conclusively from a historical standpoint, they contend that artists’ gender or social positions mattered as far as their access to the system or to artworks’ critical reception, exhibition history, and, crucially, its ability to be created in the first place. What Kant and some ‘old’ art historians assert, though disguised as similar, is that their intentions did not matter because their body and mind as an artist was just a vehicle for the enigmatic forces of nature and God to come to fruition in art that was created, importantly, from the artist’s externally guided unconscious. The third clause of the Kantian definition of genius being that nature gives rule to art, or creates artistic norms, builds off of the claim that the artist is gifted and driven by nature. The implications are very similar here. “Rules” refers to norms within different canons of art history. Claiming that the norms of “isms” and different artistic practices over history are given by nature removes human responsibility in terms of constructing those norms. It claims that artistic norms, like formalism, are not art historical constructs relying on social beliefs, but that they come to be through nature. Many like Nochlin would claim that they are historically and socially composed, and claiming such is critical to Nochlin’s critique of art history in fact.8 Kant’s classification of artistic norms as natural, given by nature, allows them to exist somewhat scientifically and matter-offactly, instead of as objects of social construction, and therefore social critique.

After elucidating his definition, Kant gives subsequent conditions or properties of achieving genius. The first implication of the subsequent stipulations within the Kantian definition of genius concerns the clause that beautiful art is only the product of genius.9 Kant places focus on beauty, and it is central to his aesthetic philosophy. When placed in relation to genius, however, it implies that art is autonomous from human, social and political forces, and that it is, rather, a force of nature. The art emerged fully formed without the artist knowing how or why it did. This idea is historically important to the canon of art history that follows Kant’s writings, Modern art theory. It is seen in the influential writings of art critics or philosophers like Clement Greenburg who theorized and stressed formalism, or the viewing and study of art for its formal or material qualities, rather than for social or political messages.10 New art history critiques like Nochlin’s are in dialogue with rhetoric like this, for which Kant’s ideas provided the philosophical basis. Revisionist art historians see these kinds of arguments as prizing masculine geniuses, which directly informed a similar privileging in the historiography of art that they are trying to debunk. They seek to place art within its historical, social, and political contexts. Originality is also at the crux of the issue of autonomy. Saying that art must be original as a tenet for artworks of genius allows Kant to non-overtly say that artworks must be uninfluenced by others, by society, by politics, etc.11 Art history frames much of its discourse in movements, saying that one influenced or were in reaction to one another, or that artists taught one another, and especially in the case of revisionist historians, that social and political factors mattered. Nochlin articulates a similar line of thought, citing the example of Vasari discovering and teaching Giotto as one of many instances of influence and teaching within art history.12 Similarly, the mention of “exemplary” prestige being a stipulation of a genius works is somewhat problematic in that it hints towards a universalizing standard for art, as does much of Kant’s discussion of beauty. An important question that revisionist art historians like Nochlin would likely pose is


who designs such a standard. It is likely that in Kant’s time and in the Modern epoch that followed, it would have been a jury composed of white men of a high economic and social position. Though Kant’s account posits a “universal subjectivity” or a subjecthood that is universally attainable, only by being “disinterested” or free of faculties and outside forces, or by being disembodied can one then experience this subjectivity.13 This is the one place in Kant’s account that it can be said is, though inexplicit, in conversation with questions of access even if disregarding the difficulty associated with achieving such a level of disinterestedness. Kant disputes questions of access, basically saying that everyone should be able to achieve the same subjecthood and therefore opinion of art, regardless of their identity. It appears that Kant is seeking a scientific rendering of subjectivity and of art viewing at large, one that seems to value his own opinions on art as the basis for this rendering. In saying that a work must be exemplary, it must be asked whose opinion is valued and whose is not. That the “medium of genius,” through nature, gives rule to art and not to science, is a particular distinction in phrasing that can serve to tease out questions of institutional and educational access.14 By saying that nature gives rule to art, Kant is, first acknowledging that there are rules that require technique and skill. The contradiction inherent in this is that technique and skill are typically learned, and Kant remains firm on the insistence that the processes of geniuses cannot be communicated, though he does stress the importance of education even if not far enough. Kant’s belief that the process through which “Great” art with a capital G is achieved cannot be communicated to others is a direct denial of the importance of artistic educative practices that Nochlin situates as vitally important in considering access to the genius status. It is, in fact, more common for these ‘Great’ artists in the history books to have been educated than to have not been. Nochlin discusses the practices of drawing the nude and apprenticeships, which were both available exclusively to men and vital to the entrance into the art world of that time.15 Society felt it indecent to expose


women to a nude body and apprenticeships were not a mode of success that women were encouraged or permitted to pursue.16 Without this prestigious education, women and other minorities were disadvantaged in this very much systematic art world. Art creation and its study, Nochlin argues, cannot be separated from art’s situational context because it shapes who people are and what they can achieve in their art. Art is also dependent on institutions, which have their own contexts to consider, which Nochlin elaborates on, saying that art and its makers are “mediated and definable by social institutions, be they art academies, systems of patronage, mythologies of the divine creator, artist as he-man or social outcast.”17 While Kant is regarded as an important philosopher and is still widely read, his position in aesthetic discourse is a historical one. Some of his points, especially those related to artistic genius, are now considered outdated, conclusively, at least in newer dialogues of art history. Today, Nochlin’s critiques and ones in line with them have caused a canonical revision of art historical discourse. What is called new art history or revisionist art history was launched after this article was published in ARTnews in 1971. Nochlin states in an interview with the same publication in May of 2015 that art history as a field lacked this kind of thought and discourse before 1970 and that it had to be constructed.18 Any way we try to define art may be resisted by artworks themselves. The process of art viewing is a concept always being rethought, the nature of artworks themselves and the interpretations of art and the way they express intelligible content. Kant’s description of art may have power as one interpretation of art, but his tendency to posit his own philosophy as universally accepted reveals a contradicting reliance on his individual position as authoritative and neutral. Subsequently, it appears he does not consider his privileged position of cisgendered, male, whiteness. His account takes away the subjective aspect of art, whereas the disagreement between Kant and Nochlin in itself suggests that art, by definition, is subjective, its interpretations malleable depending on the viewer. This is not to say that anything goes; objective limits to this claim do

exist. The distinction between great art and ‘other’ art is in itself elitist, unfair, exclusionary, and limiting to a diverse appreciation of art.

NOTES 1. Grace Glueck, “Clashing Views Reshape Art History,” The New York Times, December 19, 1987, http://www.nytimes. com/1987/12/20/arts/clashing-viewsreshape-art-history.html?pagewanted=all. 2. Linda Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” Women, Art, and Power: And Other Essays. (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), 155. 3. Glueck, “Clashing Views” 4. Immanuael Kant, Critque of the Power of Judgment, trans. J.H. Bernard (London: Macmillan, 1914), 152. 5. Ibid. 6. Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists,” 155

7. Ibid., 159 8. Ibid., 155. 9. Kant, Critique, 152 10. Pam Meecham and Julie Sheldon, “What, When and Where Was Modernism?” in Modern Art: A Critical Introduction, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2005) 13-48. 11. Kant, Critique, 152. 12. Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists,” 154. 13. Kant, Critique, 56 and 67. 14. Ibid., 152. 15. Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists,” 159. 16. Ibid., 164. 17. Ibid., 158. 18. Maura Reilly, “Linda Nochlin on Feminism Then and Now,” ARTnews, May 26, 2015, http://www.artnews. com/2015/05/26/linda-nochlin-on-feminism-then-and-now/.


Blick vom Oberland ßber das Mittelland und zum Drei Häfen, Helgoland


Daniel Galef

Kromatik und Somnus MICHAEL SCHUCK The first poem, Kromatik, influenced by Goethe’s Farbenlehre explores the nature of light and it’s derivations. The second poem, Somnus, influenced by von Hofmannsthal’s Elektra merges the pharmaceutical industry and the classics in an ode to a sleeping pill that thematically finds expression in a style strongly reminiscent of von Hofmannsthal’s early Vienna years.

Kromatik Ein Luftenstreich schmelzt in eine monochrome Pfütze, Lichtergeister verdunsten. Ruhige, durchsichtige Ausatmungen streichen und schminken die bleiche, jungfräuliche Nacht. Sie schlängeln sich um weiße Säulen herum, Kinder des Mondes, der sich zur Stille biegt um sie mit seinen kreidigen Lippen zu küssen. Glühwürmchen fallen auf den gebleichten Boden herab ausgeblutet.

Somnus Die Götter sind nichts ohne dich, die ihre abgewetzten Haarwirbel in die Klüfte deines Gewandes lehnen müssen die keine Zauberwörter ohne deine erbitterte Entführung gebären können die von allen Traumdämpfen sich selber nach deiner Gestalt schaffen müssen. Ich bin auch der der stets unter den Schlafenden liegt, der sich mit solchen unwohlen Gottheiten verbinden lässt.


A Return to the Past: Man, Religion, and Faith in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Goethe’s Faust GABRIELLE SAMRA The A-Text of Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1604) and Goethe’s Faust (1832) espouse religious and philosophical ideals which conflict with those prevalent in their respective eras. While Marlowe composed his drama during the Renaissance, a period of cultural and religious upheaval, he clung to the medieval ideal of Christian orthodoxy. Similarly, Goethe wrote his play following the Enlightenment and disparaged stringent Christian theology, yet he rejected the enlightened concept of reasoned rationalism by harking back to Renaissance humanism. Both texts embrace the religious and philosophical principles of an earlier age; whereas Marlowe composes his drama in accordance with the Christian purview, Goethe rejects this religious heritage in favour of exploring a humanistic one. In essence, both works renounce the present in order to return to the past. Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus was written during the Renaissance, but his drama is “a play that is thoroughly Christian in conception and import.”1 The Renaissance was a period of rediscovery and the rebirth of classical learning in reaction to the cultural stagnation and strict Christian doctrine of the Middle Ages. During this era, tensions flared between Christian and pagan values. In the High Renaissance in particular, Europe experienced increasing strain between classical humanism and the Christian faith such that many would be lead to distance themselves from Christian orthodoxy. However, Marlowe chooses to follow the Christian faith in his drama and therein return to an earlier age of fervent religious belief. As a student of theology, Marlowe drew upon St. Augus-


tine’s formulation of sin as inspiration for his play.2 Augustine believed that Man’s purpose was to move upward towards God; however, Man also retained free will and thus the concomitant choice to move downwards towards misery and depravity.3 Pride and egoism were considered the primary means by which Man’s will could be perverted, thereafter falling into disgrace, since “the beginning of the pride of man is to fall off from God.”4 It is precisely this sin of pride of which Marlowe’s Faustus is most guilty. This pride is manifest within the opening chorus of the play: “swoll’n with cunning of a self-conceit,”5 Faustus is comparable to Icarus for attempting to “mount above his reach.”6 Both scholar and black magician, Faustus excels in the studies of theology and other liberal arts, yet remains dissatisfied with the knowledge provided by traditional learning alone. He seeks “the knowledge which would make man more than human” through a pursuit of wisdom normally withheld from humanity.7 He rejects the limitations imposed by God, viewing Him “as a rival” to be conquered.8 Man, in all he is, is finite — including his capacity for knowledge, a fact Faustus is keen to reject by “practic[ing] more than heavenly power permits.”9 Faustus craves this knowledge to ensure his own immortality, thereby doubly defying God by overriding His dictum that man is mortal. With the power granted by Mephistopheles, Faustus fantasizes of making “man to live eternally;” even more blasphemous, he considers “rais[ing] [the dead] to life again.”10 Such acts are “secularized parodies of the activities of the Christian faith,” demonstrating Faustus’ disrespect for Christianity and

the power of the Lord.11 In so doing, Marlowe crafts Faustus as the antithetical ‘good Christian’ who must inevitably suffer divine retribution. As the play progresses, Faustus further dissolves into false pride by entrenching himself in a frenzy of self-indulgent pleasures. Yearning to be the “great emperor of this world,” Faustus is an example of the perils of hubris, a warning to others of the terrible fate which will befall the prideful.12 Reflecting the Christian worldview, the folly of Faustus’ pride in turn gives rise to the other cardinal sins: Faustus exhibits a greed for knowledge as well as envy towards his colleagues, and indulges in gluttonous, lustful, and wrathful practices whilst exposing sloth-like tendencies.13 The extent of Faustus’s obliviousness to his situation is revealed when Mephistopheles calls upon the physical embodiments of these cardinal vices from Hell to converse with the doctor. While mocking these demons, Faustus fails to recognize their reflections within his own sinful nature.14 Lucifer’s presence in Marlowe’s play is further meant to parallel Faustus’ sinfully prideful character. Mephistopheles tells Faustus of the Morningstar’s origins, explaining how the mighty ruler of Hell had once been an angel beloved by God until, for “his aspiring pride and insolence,” God “threw him from the face of heaven,” foreshadowing Faustus’ own fate.15 In a similar manner, Faustus is ultimately sentenced to dwell eternally in “[u]gly hell” for his pride and his sins.16 Marlowe thus disavows the values of the Renaissance by turning to Christian orthodoxy in his treatment of the character. Conversely, Goethe’s Faust rejects the Christian overtones of Marlowe’s Faustian myth to focus instead on the humanistic theme of the power of Man. Writing during the Enlightenment, Goethe spurns the teachings of Christian theology to concentrate on more secular studies.17 However, as a former member of the Sturm und Drang movement,18 Goethe also opposes the fierce grip of Enlightened rationalism.19 The idea that reason is insufficient to explain the intricacies of the world is pronounced by Mephistopheles in the “Prologue in Heaven:” the devil remarks that humans have become “more brutish than

[…] any brute” due to their use of reason.20 Moreover, like Marlowe’s Faustus before him, Goethe’s Faust begins his journey as an egotistical scholar critical of the knowledge provided solely by rationalism and other such scholastic means. Realizing that “for all [his] lore” he “can know nothing,” Faust “crav[es] truth” from experience rather than mere scholarship.21 Faust is thus a paradox of Goethe’s rejection of the Enlightened standards of reason and rationalism and his simultaneous adherence to the era’s denunciation of blind religious faith. Goethe’s condemnation of orthodox Christianity is evident within the opening lines of the play: when Faust laments the lack of true knowledge gained from his study of “philosophy, / Jurisprudence and medicine,” he remarks that “worst of all” his studies was “theology.”22 He wishes to break free from the constraints of Christian tutelage, yearning “for all experience” rather than simply faith or scholasticism.23 Faust further mocks Christianity through his musings on the New Testament after his pact with Mephistopheles. Instead of accepting the verity of the phrase “In the beginning was the Word” as it is inscribed in “the sacred original text,” Faust deems “Act” to better represent the realities of human existence.24 Aside from exemplifying Goethe’s continued disparagement of book learning, reason, and traditional religious beliefs, the choice of the noun ‘act’ signifies that it is only “the expression of action and perpetual striving [that] Faust accepts as final:” human action thus takes precedence over faith in the Word.25 However, it is only in “The Second Part of the Tragedy” that Goethe truly demonstrates his antagonism towards the tenets of orthodox Christianity. With Mephistopheles’ aid and the use of dark magic, in Part II of the tragedy Faust helps the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire defeat his rival and gain considerable glory, wealth, and prestige. Following this victory a conversation between the Emperor and his Archbishop-Arch-Chancellor is overheard which “leaves no doubt about Goethe’s unchanged attitude toward the church.”26 While the archbishop warns the Emperor of the perils of “all[ying] with Satan’s evil power” and the dangers of “mocking” both God and the Pope,


Vivienne Litzke


he is actually trying to extort land from the ruler in exchange for “repentance” and divine “grace.”27 Once the Emperor acquiesces to the Archbishop’s demands, the latter further requests “a mere formality:” a “formal document to give the church this treasure.”28 Ironically it is the Church, an institution supposedly so concerned with the ideals of faith and trust, which requires a physical manifestation of the Emperor’s promise. The Archbishop goes so far as to stipulate that for “all eternity” all “income of the land: all tithes, interests, and rates” should belong to the church, a contract which demonstrates Goethe’s conception of the greedy and corrupt nature of the members of the Christian faith.29 In fact, it is arguably God who is the instigator of the tragic events which befall Faust. During the “Prologue in Heaven,” Mephistopheles visits Him for a casual chat since the Lord “like[s] to see [him].”30 The devil strikes a sympathetic chord within the audience during this initial encounter, lamenting the fact that he “only see[s] how men live in dismay.”31 Following his comic comment that he does not “wish to cause [man] further woe” despite his being a demon, the Lord abruptly asks Mephistopheles if “know[s] Faust.”32 God is the first to bring Faust into a conversation which seemingly has nothing to do with the doctor. The Lord further goads Mephistopheles into making their wager by emphasizing that no matter how “confusedly” Faust follows His ways, Faust will always remember “the right road.”33 Although God justifies accepting the bet by stating that since “man’s activity can easily abate,” it is best “[t]o give him [a] companion” to spur him on — even if this companion is a demon — here God willingly makes His own bargain with a devil.34 Faust may have craved the power of the damned, but had the Lord not first made such a wager with Mephistopheles, it is unlikely that events would have played out the same way. By painting God in such a negative light, Goethe once again distances himself from the religious orthodoxy present in Marlowe’s play. Goethe’s drama “glorifies the return from Christianity” to humanism by showing “the spirit of the Renaissance liberating the soul”

and thereby destroying “the bonds of traditional faith.”35 Goethe chooses to concentrate on Man himself rather than orthodox religion: he endorses a humanistic doctrine developed during the Renaissance which “look[s] to the struggle of creation” to help “men break free from the mental strictures imposed by religious orthodoxy” and “inspire a new confidence in the possibilities of human thought.”36 It is precisely this concept of human striving and struggle which lies at the heart of Goethe’s narrative. In the “Prologue in Heaven,” God explicitly states that “that which ever works and lives and grows” shall receive forgiveness and salvation no matter the crime:37 after all, it is inevitable that “Man [will] err as long as he will strive.”38 Within this humanistic conception of the world, “the active deed takes supremacy over other forms of human existence.”39 Man “must be forever seeking and choosing his own path: and the choice carries with it for him a perpetual danger.”40 The conditions of Faust’s pact emphasize the importance of this ideal of human striving. Faust stipulates that should he “recline, calmed, on a bed of sloth, / You [Mephistopheles] may destroy me then and there.”41 It is not sin which Faust believes will damn him, but his failure to continue the eternal human struggle for ever-greater experience. After signing the blood pact Faust becomes a new man, “freely striving and erring, freely determining his own destiny … putting his emphasis always not on the avoidance of error but on the overcoming of error,” a theme which is reiterated throughout the play.42 Despite the aforementioned evidence, it is only through an analysis of the endings of both Marlowe’s and Goethe’s dramas that the Christian nature of Marlowe’s play and the humanistic tone of Goethe’s are crystallized. Within the closing scenes of Doctor Faustus, the eponymous antihero, now banished from God’s graces, is doomed to spend eternity in Hell. However, it is not Faustus’ depravity which damns him, but his unwillingness to repent. As a morality play,43 Marlowe’s drama presents the consequences of the choices made by Man. It is not that God is unwilling to accept Faustus’ sincere repentance: “God is will-


ing to forgive if the magician repents. But Faustus wilfully refuses all aid — and so goes down to damnation.”44 A variety of characters within Marlowe’s play serve to provide Faustus with options concerning his fate, appearing in both ‘good’ and ‘evil’ pairings. As scholars David Benington and Eric Rasmussen note, the Old Man in Act 5 pleads with Faustus to repent “his vile and loathsome filthiness,” as a counterpoint to Mephistopheles’ orders to “pray devoutly to the prince of hell.”45 The Scholars prompt Faustus to remember that “God’s mercies are infinite” while fellow magicians, Valdes and Cornelius, lure him with the assurance that his magical prowess will be revered the world over.46 Whenever Faustus is presented with a choice, he inevitably picks the path that leads to his own damnation. By embracing evil and shunning righteousness, Faustus incarnates man’s inherent weakness and his misuse of free will. This will is physically manifested in Marlowe’s drama through the presence of Faustus’ Good and Evil Angels. Typical abstractions from morality plays, the Good Angel — the “voice of God” — offers wise counsel while the Evil Angel — the “emissary of Satan” — offers only the enticements of despair.47 The angels provide Faustus with advice concerning his fate throughout the play, either warning him of the dangers of pursuing his chosen path or egging him on towards self-destruction. While the Good Angel reminds Faustus to “think of heaven and heavenly things,” the Evil Angel consistently triumphs over the Good.48 Even when Faustus appears to consider renouncing his sinful deeds, the Evil Angel succeeds in dissuading him from doing so: it states, like a mantra, “Faustus never shall repent.”49 Faustus’ “heart [is] so hardened [he] cannot repent,” having already “despair[ed] of God’s mercy.”50 Marlowe’s epilogue confirms the Christian premise of the play: the Chorus prays that Faustus’ “hellish fall” and “fiendful fortune may exhort the wise / Only to wonder at unlawful things” rather than practice them.51 Through his demise, Faustus constitutes “a warning to all Christians to avoid the snares of science, of pleasure, and of ambition.”52 It is Faustus’ very damnation which makes Marlowe’s drama a


Christian text. Goethe, on the other hand, chooses to end his work in a wholly different manner. Whereas Marlowe’s Faustus is damned in accordance with the Christian doctrine of damnation, Goethe’s is saved. It seems logical to assume that if Faust should receive divine salvation then Goethe has ended his text on a profoundly merciful Christian note. Kaufmann, however, comments that “What at first glance may seem Christian and traditional is actually the antithesis of the traditional and Christian treatment of the theme.”53 Faust has committed unspeakably vile acts throughout the play: he kills Valentine, unknowingly aids and abets the murder of Gretchen’s mother and, most tragically, seduces the “virtuous and pure” Gretchen, driving her to madness, infanticide, and death. Faust does not seem to be a character deserving of salvation, and yet, he is saved.54 When Faust’s immortal soul is being carried away by a host of heavenly angels, they proclaim that “‘Who ever strives with all his power, / We are allowed to save.’”55 This phrase provides the key to Goethe’s text: despite the evil perpetrated by Faust, through his “boundless, ruthless, Faustian striving” he receives not the grace of God but rather succeeds in his duty as a human to strive ever forward in accordance with Renaissance humanistic tradition.56 If it is Faustus’ damnation which affirms the Christian implications of Marlowe’s work, then it is Faust’s salvation in Goethe’s that makes it a secular and humanistic one. Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus and Goethe’s Faust both uphold the religious and philosophical ideals of past societies rather than those evident in their times. Although Marlowe’s work should reflect the classical humanist values of the Renaissance, he clings instead to medieval Christian doctrine. Ironically, Goethe’s play is the one which reflects these Renaissance values rather than the principles of rationalism espoused during the Enlightenment, the period in which Goethe created his oeuvre. Within the fictional realm of writing, both Marlowe and Goethe hark back to earlier ages and return to their respective pasts in order, perhaps, to expose the contradictions of the present.

NOTES 1. Douglas Cole, “The Nature of Faustus’ Fall,” in Twentieth Century Interpretations of Doctor Faustus: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Willard Farnham (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969), 70. 2. Ibid., 71. 3. Ibid., 71. 4. Ibid., 71. 5. Christopher Marlowe, “Doctor Faustus, A-Text,” in Christopher Marlowe: Tamburlaine, Parts I and II, Doctor Faustus, A- and B-Texts, The Jew of Malta, Edward II, eds. David Benington and Eric Rasmussen (New York: University of Oxford Press, 1998), Prologue 20. 6. Ibid., Prologue 21. 7. Roland M. Frye, “Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus: The Repudiation of Humanity,” in Twentieth Century Interpretations of Doctor Faustus: A Collection of Critical Essays, eds. Willard Farnham (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969), 55. 8. Ibid., 56. 9. Marlowe, “Doctor Faustus,” Epilogue 8. 10. Ibid., 1.1.24-25. 11. Cole, “The Nature of Faustus’ Fall,” 73. 12. Marlowe, “Doctor Faustus,” 1.3.105. 13. Ibid., 2.1-3.2. 14. Ibid., 2.3.108-54. 15. Ibid., 1.3.68-69. 16. Ibid., 5.2.114. 17.Walter Arnold Kaufmann, introduction to Goethe’s Faust: The Original German and a New Translation and Introduction, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (New York: Anchor Press, 1989), 52. 18.Conventionally translated as “Storm and Stress,” the 1770’s Sturm und Drang literary movement was a proto-Romantic phase in Germany characterized by a freer expression of emotion and individual subjectivity than that espoused by Enlightened rationalism. 19. Lesley Sharpe, introduction to Don Carlos and Mary Stuart, by Friedrich Schiller, trans. Hilary Collier Sy-Quia (Oxford: University of Oxford Press, 2008), xviii. 20. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Goethe’s

Faust,” in Goethe’s Faust: The Original German and a New Translation and Introduction, trans. Walter Kauffman (New York: Anchor Press, 1989), Prologue 286. 21. Ibid., 1.358; ibid., 1.365; ibid., 1.667. 22. Ibid., 1.354-5; ibid., 1.356. 23. George Santayana, “The Rehabilitation of Faustus,” in Twentieth Century Interpretations of Doctor Faustus: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Willard Farnham (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969), 15. 24. Goethe, “Faust,” 1.1224; ibid., 1.1222; ibid., 1.1237. 25.Rollo May, “Goethe’s Faust and the Enlightenment,” in The Cry for Myth (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991), 237. 26. Kaufmann, introduction, 40. 27. Goethe, “Faust,” 2.10982; ibid., 2.10984; ibid., 2.11002. 28. Ibid., 2.11020; ibid., 2.11021. 29. Ibid., 2.11025; ibid., 2.11024. 30. Ibid., Prologue 273. 31. Ibid., Prologue 280. 32. Ibid., Prologue 298; ibid., Prologue 299. 33.Ibid., Prologue 308; ibid., Prologue 329. 34. Ibid., Prologue 340; ibid., Prologue 342. 35. Santayana, “The Rehabilitation of Faustus,” 15. 36.“Renaissance,” in The Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica. com/event/Renaissance (accessed December 11, 2014). 37. Goethe, “Faust,” Prologue 346. 38. Ibid., Prologue 317. 39. May, “Goethe’s Faust,” 237. 40.Harold Jantz, Goethe’s Faust as a Renaissance Man: Parallels and Prototypes (New Jersey: University of Princeton Press, 1951), 44. 41.Goethe, “Faust,” 1.1692-93. 42. Jantz, Faust as a Renaissance Man, 46. 43. A form of drama popular throughout the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries which presents personified abstract qualities as characters in order to instruct the audience concerning moral values or proper conduct. 44. Leo Kirschbaum, “Religious Values in Doctor Faustus,” in Twentieth Century Interpretations of Doctor Faustus: A


Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Willard Farnham (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969), 78-9. 45. Marlowe, “Doctor Faustus,” 5.1.41; ibid., 1.3.53-4. 46.Ibid., 5.2.12-3; ibid., 1.1.121-50. 47. Kirschbaum, “Religious Values,” 79; ibid. 48. Marlowe, “Doctor Faustus,” 2.1.20. 49. Ibid., 2.3.17. 50. Ibid., 2.3.18; David Benington and Eric Rasmussen, introduction to Christopher Marlowe: Tamburlaine, Parts I and II, Doctor Faustus, A- and B-Texts, The Jew of Malta, Edward II, by Christopher Marlowe, eds. David Benington and Eric Rasmussen (New York: University of Oxford Press, 1998). introduction, xv.


51. Marlowe, “Doctor Faustus,” Epilogue 4-6. 52. Santayana, “The Rehabilitation of Faustus,” 12. 53. Kaufmann, introduction, 17. 54. Goethe, “Faust,” 1.2611. 55. Ibid., 2.11936-7. 56. It is interesting to note that Faust’s persistence in his quest for ever-greater experience has actually lead scholars (such as Kaufmann) to use his name as an adjective describing this idea of limitless human striving. Kaufmann, introduction, 22.

Die Darstellung der Geschlechter in der RAF in Lohers Leviathan SOFIA BACH In ihrem Theaterstück Leviathan thematisiert Dea Lohers die Geschlechterbeziehungen innerhalb der Roten Armee Fraktion (RAF), zwischen den Terroristen und ihren Angehörigen. Die Rote Armee Fraktion war Anfang der 70er Jahren aktiv, einer Periode der Geschichte in der die traditionellen Geschlechterrollen von vielen öffentlich hinterfragt wurden. Es war aber auch zu einer Zeit, als noch ein strenger Konservatismus herrschte, besonders bei den älteren Generationen. Loher untersucht diese Geschlechterrollen; sie illustriert die Spannung zwischen dem politischen, sozialen Kampf der RAF und den sozial konstruierten Erwartungen gegenüber den Geschlechtern. Diese Selbstzweifel sind besonders in dem Benehmen von Lohers Meinhof (Marie) bemerkbar. In dieser Arbeit werde ich argumentieren, dass Loher in Leviathan den inneren Kampf zwischen dem sozialen Druck der traditionellen Geschlechterrollen auf der einen Seite, und dem ideologischen Kampf für einen “besseren” Staat auf der anderen darstellt. Dieser innere Konflikt spielt sich sowohl innerhalb der einzelnen RAF-Mitglieder ab, besonders bei Meinhof, aber auch innerhalb deren Angehörigen. Zuerst wird die Spaltung der Geschlechter im Kontext der RAF-Zeit vorgestellt. Dann werden die Geschlechterbeziehungen in Lohers Leviathan durch 1) Marie Meinhofs Selbstzweifeln als Folge der Spannung zwischen traditionellen Rollen und den Zielen der emanzipierten Frau, und durch 2) der Inversion der traditionellen Geschlechterrollen analysiert.

Geschlechterkonflikt in der Zeit der RAF In den sechziger und siebziger Jahren

herrschte in Deutschland — und in allen westlichen Gesellschaften — noch ein strenger Konservatismus über das Thema der Geschlechterrollen. Weiblichkeit und Kriminalität waren zwei Sachen, die man nicht assoziieren konnte: Bis in die 70er Jahren waren Frauen nur ungefähr 4% der Gefängnisinsassen in Westeuropa und den USA.1 Im Jahr 1972 wurde ein Sonderbericht über die Terroristen in der Bundesrepublik von einer Kommission in Bonn produziert: Der Baader-Meinhof-Report (BMR). Der Bericht wendete sich schnell zu der problematischen Frage der Beteiligung von Frauen an dem Terror: anstatt den Terrorismus als eine Form der Gewaltkriminalität zu untersuchen, konzentrierten sich die Autoren des BMR auf die Analyse des Paradoxes, dass sie in der Verkupplung der Frauen mit der Gewalt sahen. Sie untersuchten den Zusammenhang zwischen den Terrorismus und dem Anstieg der Frauenemanzipation.2 Zu dieser Zeit waren solche Ideen für einen erheblichen Teil der Deutschen Bevölkerung üblich. Günter Zehm, ein konservativer Redakteur der Zeitung Die Welt, schrieb 1977: [Die weiblichen Terroristen zeigen] den unheilvollen Eifluß einer gewissen Spielart des Feminismus. Die in den revolutionären Zirkeln angesiedelten Frauen müssen den anderen und vor allem sich selbst dauernd beweisen, daß sie ‚den Männern gleich’ sind. Sie kämpfen nicht nur gegen den Klassenfeind, sondern auch gegen die Stimme ihrer inneren Natur. Das verleiht ihren Aktionen etwas zusätzlich Forciertes und Gewaltsames, das macht sie ineiner grauenhaften Weise hart und unbar-


mherzig.3 Gewalttätige Frauen wurden also als noch männlicher als Männer gesehen. Auch in dem BMR wird Gudrun Ensslin als „männlichherrisch [...] noch männlicher als die Männer“ beschrieben.4

Ambivalente Meinhof Die Frauen in der RAF, insbesondere Meinhof, kämpften für Frauen Emanzipation. Jedoch um Kämpferinnen zu sein nahmen sie an, dass sie ihre Weiblichkeit hingeben müssten. Meinhof kritisiert die Ungleichheit der Geschlechterrollen in der Deutschen Gesellschaft in ihrem „Text Women in the SDS: Acting On Their Own Behalf“: The Berlin women who intervened in Frankfurt no longer want to cooperate. They bear the entire burden of raising children but have no influence on the history, purpose, or direction of this work. They no longer want to suffer insulting comments for not having a good education, or only a partial education, or not being able to work in their professions because they are raising children — all of which leaves its mark, for which they are usually held responsible.

They made it clear that it is not a personal failure for a woman not to be able to combine raising children with work outside home; it is a societal failure, since society makes these two domains irreconcilable.5 Hier schreibt sie über einen spezifischen Konflikt, aber ihr Kampf für die Emanzipation der Frauen und die Gleichberechtigung der Geschlechter ist bemerkbar. Eigentlich schrieb sie weiter über das Ziel der Frauen der SDS; ein Ziel, dass für alle Aktivistinnen der Gleichstellung der Geschlechter anwendbar sein kann: „The purpose is not to set off permanent marital fights; the purpose is to make the conflict public.“6 Meinhof wurde (und wird noch) in den Medien und der Popkultur als eine ambivalente Figur dargestellt.7 Manchmal erscheint sie als gewalttätig und männlich, anderswo als eine asexuelle, fast wie eine heilige Figur. Manchmal wird sie als eine liebevolle Mutter dargestellt, ein anderes Mal als eine gefühllose Kriminelle.8 Colvin erklärt in „Ulrike Marie Meinhof as Woman and Terrorist,“ dass kulturelle Richtlinien es nicht nur ermöglichen Frauen zu verdammen, sondern sie auch zu erlösen.9 Seit dem Anfang der Kriminologie im

Andrea Garland


19. Jahrhundert wurde kriminelles Verhalten bei Frauen durch ihre auffällige Libido und ihre pathologische Sexualität erklärt.10 Daher macht es Sinn, dass, wenn Rainer Röhl versucht Meinhofs öffentlichen Ruf zu verbessern, seine Darstellung von ihr ihre Reinheit betont. Um die allgemeine Sympathie und eine juristische Nachsicht für eine weibliche Täterin zu ermöglichen, müsste Meinhof, nicht nur als eine gute Ehefrau und Mutter erscheinen, sondern auch als sexuell zurückhaltend. Colvin schreibt: „In the late 1970s and 80s, a tension is evident between polarised views of Ulrike Meinhof: she figures both as the martyr of the Radical Left […] and […] as its priestess of violence (‚Priesterin der Gewalt’).“11 Diese Ambivalenz zwischen der gewalttätigen, politischen Kämpferin und der liebesvollen Mutter ist in Dea Lohers Leviathan genau dargestellt.

Der Selbstzweifel von Meinhof in Leviathan In ihrem Stück Leviathan stellt sich Dea Loher eine sehr persönliche Version der Geschichte der RAF vor. Stark von ihren Vorgängern, wie zum Beispiel Berhold Brecht, beeinflusst, glaubt Loher fest an die Kraft des Persönlichen.12 Wie Haas es beschriebt: „[Loher’s] answer to this development [the decline of politically engaged theatre] was to emphasize the theatre’s potential to engage in political debates via personal relationships.“13 Meinhof wird in Lohers Theaterstück in dieser gleichen persönlichen Weise dargestellt. „Loher stellt sich vor, was Meinhof direkt danach durch den Kopf hätte gehen können und zeigt dadurch auf, wie sie und die anderen Kernmitglieder der Gruppe, [...] in den “Untergrundkampf ” gegen den Staat hineingeschlittert sein mögen.“14 Also ist Ulrike Meinhof, unter dem Charakterzug von Marie in diesem Stück verborgen, zweideutig und selbstzweifelnd. Diese Zweifel entstehen durch der Spannung zwischen den traditionellen Geschlechterrollen (Mutterschaft) und dem Kampf der radikal politisierten Frau. In dieser Situation muss sich die Frau zwischen diesen zwei Rollen entscheiden: Wenn sie eine Familienfigur bleiben will, darf sie sich nicht an gawattätige politische Aktionen beteiligen;, wenn sie einen politischen Kampf führen will, verliert sie ihre Weibli-

chkeit und kann daher nicht mehr ihre Rolle als Mutter beibehalten. Zu Luise (Ensslin) sagt Marie in der 9. Szene, dass sie noch nicht weiß, was sie tun wird: Marie: Ich habe mich noch nicht entschieden Luise: Was heißt das nicht entschieden Marie: Was ich gesagt habe Ich weiß nicht ob ich es tun werde.15 Zwei Szenen später wiederholt Marie einen ähnlichen Dialog mit Luise. Gleich darauf, in der 11. Szene, als Karl (Baader) auftaucht, sind alle Zweifel plötzlich vergessen. Hier wird Marie streng und gefühslos: „Wenn wir verschwinden lassen wir sie hier und jetzt keine Diskussionen mehr darüber.“16 Maries Zweifel sind im ganzen Stück allgegenwärtig: Mit ihrer Schwester, mit ihrem ehemaligen Ehemann, mit ihren Genossen. Diese innere Zwiespältigkeit äußert sich besonders durch die Spannung zwischen den Geschlechtern und ihren traditionellen Rollen.

Inversion von traditionellen Geschlechterrollen Schon in der 5. Szene sieht man die Umkehrung der traditionell männlichen und weiblichen Rollen. Der Dialog ist hier zwischen Christine, der Schwester von Marie (die Meinhof repräsentiert) und Wilhelm (Vesper). Wilhelm sucht nach Luise (Ensslin) und hofft, dass Marie, die bei Christine versteckt ist, ihm bei seiner Suche helfen kann. In „Erbe“ wie in „Verführung“ wird die Umkehrung der Rollen durch die Diskussion über Kinder bemerkbar. Nach dem sozialen Vorbild sollen Frauen sich um die Kindern kümmern und Männer die Arbeiter und politischen Kämpfer sein. Diese Ordnung wird im Theaterstück sehr früh bestritten. Zuerst wird diese Negation durch Wilhelms Worte aufzeigt. Wilhelm hat ein Kind mit der Protestantin (Luise) aber, seit sie mit Karl zur „Gruppe“ gegangen ist, wohnt das Kind mit Wilhelm. Schon hier sieht man, dass die Rolle der Frau als Mutter zurückgewiesen wird, denn es ist der Mann der sich um das Kind kümmert. Er sagt in „Erbe“: „ich meine einer muß an die Zukunft der Kinder denken.“17 Hier hat Luise, die Mutter, ihre traditionelle Geschlechterrolle zugunsten ihres politischen Ideals aufgegeben. Folglich haben


Luise und Wilhelm ihre respektiven Rollen getauscht. Allerdings hat Wilhelm die archaischen Auffassung von Mutterschaft nicht total abgelegt und das ist darn zu erkennen wenn er sagt: „ein Kind braucht seine Mutter natürlich sie kann nicht einfach sich bewaffnen und mit anderen Bewaffneten andere Menschen erschießen. Sie hat eine Familie schließlich.“18 Somit bekräftigt Loher, dass Luise die Politik der Geschlechter radikaler verfolgt als Wilhelm. In diesem Fall ist es die Frau, die auf die Umverteilung der Rollen anspornt. Eine ähnliche Dynamik zwischen Mann und Frau wird auch in der 7. Szene dargestellt. In „Verführung“ kommt der elegante Herr (Rainer Röhl) zu Christine um Marie zu überreden aus dem Untergrund zur „Normalität“ zurückzukehren. Hier haben die drei Figuren gegenüber den männlichen und weiblichen Geschlechterrollen drei verschiedene Haltungen. Indem sie das System von binären Geschlechterrollen akzeptiert, vertritt Christine die Haltung einer Frau wie „sie sein sollte.“ Marie, jedoch, will dieses System hinter sich lassen; sie lehnt die traditionelle Frauenrollen ab, doch sie zweifelt daran, wenn es um ihre Kinder geht. Schließlich versucht der Herr (Rainer) Marie abzudichten, dass sie in die bürgerliche Gesellschaft zurückkehren soll, da er sonst der Mutter das Sorgerecht entziehen will. Wenn man den Dialog weiter folgt, kann man Christines Haltung wahrnehmen indem sie immer dem eleganten Herrn zustimmt und sich gegen Marie stellt. Sie sagt zu Marie: „Hör ihn dir an den eleganten Herrn.“19 Später stimmt sie dem Herrn zu: „Ich finde seine Idee gar nicht so dumm.“20 Weiterhin ist durch Maries Schwanken, zwischen ihrer Absage und der Annahme der Muttershaftsrolle, ihre Unsicherheit in ihrer Geschlechterrollen erkennbar. Einerseits will sie ihre Mutterschaft erhalten: „wenn es einen Ausweg gäbe für die Kinder und mich. Manchmal denke ich um sie bei mir behalten zu können um ein Zuhause zu haben mit ihnen, wäre ich bereit beinahe alles zu tun.”21 Sie negiert jedoch sofort diesen Wunsch: „Aber was ist das, das kleine persönliche Glück vorziehen, sich zufrieden geben wollen in einem Winkel und nicht über das ei-


gene Leben hinaussehen. Nichts riskieren um eines Wohlergehens willen eines scheinbaren Wohlergehens vielleicht.“ Hier überzeugt sie sich selbst den ideologischen und politischen Kampf weiterzuführen. So gibt Marie die Rolle ihres Geschlechts auf und geht in den Untergrund. Letztlich versucht der elegante Herr sie davon abzuhalten, denn er sagt zu ihr: „Du hast keine andere Chance. Du willst doch nicht etwa in den Untergrund gehen.“22 In dieser Szene will der Herr sie zurück zur Normalität bringen und er ist fast erfolgreich, als er die Kinder erwähnt: „Ich denke auch an die Kinder.“23 Marie antwortet: „Daher weht der Wind.“24 Doch wie wir bereits gesehen haben, scheitert er daran Marie zu überzeugen, ihre geschlechterspezifische Verpflichtung zu halten. Wegen seiner Sorgen um ihre Kinder wird seine männliche Geschlechterrolle entfremdet und er wird verweiblicht: „Ich weiß wo sie [die Kinder] sind und ich bin nicht gewillt sie diesen Leuten zu überlassen.“25 Wie in der 5. Szene erlebt das Publikum die Umkehrung der Rollen von Mann und Frau, von Mutter und Vater. Diese Inversion von Geschlechtsrollen ist drastisch und radikal, weil es die bekannte Sozialordnung gefährdet. Allein diese Tat, den Austritt einer Frau aus der Familie, wird als ein gewaltsamer, sogar terroristischer Akt empfunden und interpretiert.

Schlussfolgerung Zum Schluss wird die Darstellung der Geschlechter in der RAF in Lohers Leviathan in einer ganz persönlichen Weise vorgestellt. Loher gelingt es eine sehr getreue Stimmung der RAF-Zeit zu erschaffen und stellt den allgemeinen Glaube, dass es eine Inkompatibilität zwischen Frauen und Kriminalität/Gewalt gibt, dar. Es gibt eine starke Spannung zwischen Tradition und politischem Kampf in der RAF, welche in Lohers Stück dramatisiert wird. Diese Spannung wird durch die Umkehrung und Verfremdung der Geschlechterrollen gezeigt, welche auch eine Ursache für Meinhofs (Marie) Selbstzweifel sind. Auch wenn die Umdrehung von den Geschlechterrollen hier nur in der fünften und siebten Szenen aufgenommen wird, sind die Spannungen zwischen traditionellen Geschlechterrollen

und moderner Stadtguerrilla in allen Szenen von Leviathan allgegenwärtig. Aber, wie von Third in „Imprisonment and Excessive Femininity“ argumentiert, repräsentiert die weibliche Terroristin noch eine Grenze, bei Frauen die Neigung zur Unvernunft.26 Tatsächlich sind die mobilisierten Repräsentationsstrategien, die die weibliche Terroristin in der westlichen Kultur erhalten, noch grundsätzlich Paradoxe. Terroristinnen werden als akut gewalttätig und als starke Bedrohung für die soziale Ordnung etabliert. Terroristinnen werden regelmäßig als hoch motivierte, übermäßig emotionale Wesen beschrieben, mit der gebauten Fähigkeit, die abscheulichsten Verbrechen zu begehen und keine Reue zu zeigen. Noch heutzutage sind die Terroristinnen nicht nur als nicht-weibisch, sondern auch als terroristischer als Terroristen dargestellt.27 Doch man kann entdecken, dass noch heute die Ungleichheiten zwischen den Geschlechtern im Terror andauern.

NOTES 1. Sarah Colvin, „Ulrike Marie Meinhof as Woman and Terrorist: Cultural Discourses of Violence and Virtue,” German Monitor 70, no. 1 (2008): 86. 2. Ibid. 3. Günter Zehm, Die Welt, 02.08.1977, zitiert in Susanne Paczensky, Frauen Und Terror: Versuche, Die Beteiligung von Frauen an Gewalttaten Zu Erklären, (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1978), 7. 4. Der Baader-Meinhof-Report, (Mainz: Hase und Koehler, 1972), 14, zitiert in Colvin, „Ulrike Marie Meinhof as Woman and Terrorist,” 89. 5. Ulrike Meinhof, Everybody Talks About the Weather... We Don’t: The Writings of Ulrike Meinhof, (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011), 211. 6. Ibid. 7. Meinhof ist seit fast vierzig Jahren tot, aber was ihren Ruf betrifft, ist sie immer noch ein aktuelles Thema im heutigen Deutschland, besonders im Kontext der gegenwärtigen Interesse an dem post1968 Zeitraum: „Prinz develops the idea of a childlike purity evoked by the Sophie

Scholl metaphor, and the saint-to-witch career of Joan of Arc, when he casts Ulrike Meinhof as a kind of fallen angel. [...] But the Joan of Arc-style avenging angel or virgin martyr type is not the only female prototype to redeem herself through valour and suffering for the sex crimes of Eve. Mother do, too, and are culturally probably the most popular and positive incarnation of the feminine.“ Colvin, „Ulrike Marie Meinhof as Woman and Terrorist,” 95–96. 8. Karin Bauer, „Rote Armee Fraktion” (Vorlesung, GERM 362, McGill University, 2014). 9. Colvin, „Ulrike Marie Meinhof as Woman and Terrorist,” 92. 10. Yvonne Jewkes, Media & Crime: A Critical Introduction, (Los Angeles: Sage, 2011), 129. 11. Colvin, „Ulrike Marie Meinhof as Woman and Terrorist,” 92. 12. Birgit Haas, „History through the Lens of the Uncertainty Principle: Dea Loher’s Leviathan.” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 39, no. 1 (2006): 75. 13. Ibid. 14. Julian Preece, „Die Terroristin Als Alter Ego in Den ‘Bleiernen Zeiten’ Und Andere Umgewandelte Motive in Dea Lohers Zeitstück Leviathan,” Monatshefte 99, no. 3 (2007): 376. 15. Dea Loher, Leviathan, (Verlag der Autoren, 1993), 196. 16. Ibid., 207. 17. Ibid., 174. 18. Ibid., 170. 19. Ibid., 184. 20. Ibid., 188. 21. Ibid., 189. 22. Ibid., 187. 23. Ibid., 186. 24. Ibid., 187. 25. Ibid. 26. Amanda Third, “Imprisonment and Excessive Femininity: Reading Ulrike Meinhof ’s Brain.” Parallax 16, no. 4 (2010): 86. 27. Ibid.


Vivienne Litzke


Language and Beyond: Hofmannsthal’s Lord Chandos Letter — A Positive Reading of Lord Chandos’ Language Crisis MARIE-ANNE JAGODZINSKI Published in 1902, Ein Brief, also called The Lord Chandos Letter, counts as one of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s (1874-1929) major works, along with his opera libretti written in collaboration with Strauss. Just as in his other novels Tale of Two Couples, The Cavalry Story, or Tale of the 672nd Night, Hofmannsthal refers to the intimate experience of the mystical, yet expands this theme through the use of the epistolary genre. A fictional aristocrat from the Elizabethan era, Lord Philipp Chandos has given up on his promising literary as well as political life and retired into a withdrawn state. Closed-off from the world, he leads a rural life void of any sort of intellectual activity. The letter starts off as Lord Chandos’ answer to his former mentor, humanist philosopher Sir Francis Bacon, who himself inquired about Chandos’ lack of news and publications. The letter then unfolds as the accurate description of a peculiar crisis. Chandos explains how he has lost the ability to read, write and even speak other than in a numb manner. He goes on further to depict specific, mystical moments that he spontaneously experienced, which he considers unattainable by words. This “crisis” is thus a creative, linguistic as well as a transcendental one. Scholars agree that Ein Brief portrays a man in crisis. Introducing the plot of the letter, H. Stefan Schultz writes: “His world [Chandos’] is shattered to fragments, all coherence gone.”1 More severely, Jacques Le Rider speaks of “the failure […] of the faustian man who wanted to compete with God through sheer intellect.”2 Donald G. Daviau argues that the

collapse is greater: “Chandos is not suffering from a language problem but from a life problem which has its major symptom in the inability to think or speak coherently.”3 Finally, Rainer Nägele states the destructive correlation between language and Chandos’ self: “Die Auflösung des Begriffs führt zur Auflösung der Substanz und in letzter Konsequenz zur Auflösung des Ich.”4 Paired with these scholarly accounts, a hasty reading of Ein Brief might suggest two things: firstly, that Chandos has disastrously fallen and secondly, that this catastrophe finds expression through his dissolute speech. Compared to his ambitious youth, for example as he had the project of publishing an encyclopedia,5 Chandos indeed seems reduced to a vegetative condition. Yet, for a man who has lost all linguistic consistency, his letter is virtuously eloquent. This paradox makes one wonder whether the gifted Chandos is really gone or not. To what extent is the crisis of language a positive experience for Lord Chandos? How does his paralysis illustrate a more meaningful grasp of life? Based on the linguistic aspects of Chandos’ crisis, this essay will focus on the virtues of skepticism towards language, the pleasurable new substance perceived by Lord Chandos and suggest a plausible return to creation. Although briefly introduced, it is important to revisit the drastic change Chandos has been through. At age nineteen, the young lord was a literary prodigy, familiar with Antiquity and relentlessly thinking about ambitious projects. Above all, his desire to encompass the quintessential into a single work stands out:


“[…] a play of eternal forces, a thing as magnificent as music or algebra. That was the project dearest to me.”6 This precious project, namely an encyclopedia, was to be titled Nosce te ipsum, “know yourself ” in Latin. As he writes the letter, however, Chandos is twenty-six years old and reveals he has become unable “to think or speak coherently about anything at all.”7 Language, even in his own past productions, is now alien to him. Unfamiliar with his former motto, he refers to himself as “my unknowable self.”8 Chandos cannot reconnect with himself; this is how the crisis starts. From then on, all conceptual boundaries seem to vanish, starting with abstract words. Chandos realizes he cannot employ concepts anymore, as he unsuccessfully attempts to teach his daughter about the importance of “truth.”9 Small talk (“good,” “bad,” “thrifty”) as well as religious faith become unbearable, because they fundamentally lack substance. He has stopped reading, for the “harmony of well-defined and orderly ideas” of the Ancients’ writings bring him no more peace.10 To Chandos, these abstractions, these concepts are empty, human-made designations that do not correspond to reality.11 They are merely ornaments: “Rhetoric is fine for women or the House of Commons, but its armamentarium, so overvalued by our time, is not equal to getting at the heart of things.”12 Therefore, words are insufficient tools to apprehend the complexity of reality. By dismissing rhetorical devices, Chandos has entered what Katherine M. Arens calls “linguistic skepticism,”13 in order to find the Truth beyond words. Indeed, Lord Chandos used to have no critical distance whatsoever: “I never noticed anything false.”14 Reenacting Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, as Jacques Le Rider suggests,15 Chandos understands that he is moving among the living-dead, gentry and Ancients alike: “A feeling of terrible loneliness came over me while I was among them. I felt like someone locked in a garden full of eyeless statuary, and I rushed to get out again.”16 At this point, he only knows that he does not know anything; words provided him a fake feeling of agency within reality. Instead of this illusion, he now strives to access true lucidity,


or, in Platonic terms, to reach the true sunlight. We can positively assert that Lord Chandos has departed from rhetorical language and moved into a world of Philosophy. In his previous existence, Chandos sought to enclose the totality of life into an encyclopedic project. “I […] saw all of existence as one great unity.”17 Yet he quickly became disillusioned as “everything came to pieces, the pieces broke into more pieces, and nothing could be encompassed by one idea.”18 His perception of reality became shattered, precisely because the real world has no clear boundaries such as ideas, let alone words.19 Nägele thus argues that reality is actually about “Beziehungslosigkeit” and “Ratlosigkeit,”20 the absence of arbitrary relations such as the ones suggested by words. How then, can one understand the world? Or, in linguistic terms, how can one access the signified without the signifier? Once again, surprisingly ignoring his “crisis”, Lord Chandos evokes transcending the limitations of words, as he describes his sensation of “a secret, inexhaustible wisdom […] as though coming from behind a veil.”21 Behind this veil, he experiences two mystical moments made out of a more spontaneous matter than words, namely his intimate perception of a watering can next to a nut tree, with a beetle floating on the surface of the water, and his empathy for the rats he poisoned, an empathy he deeply felt even though he was not physically present. More than a notion of closeness, these mystical occurrences appear to channel a feeling of plenitude. Chandos is intimately connected to his environment: “I feel a blissful and utterly eternal interplay in me and around me, and amid the to-and-fro there is nothing in which I cannot merge.”22 The same sensation of a flow is conveyed throughout the whole letter: “a swelling tide of higher life,”23 a “flux,” a “streaming,”24 the “confluence”25 and more plainly “thinking in a medium more direct, fluid, and passionate than words.”26 In those moments, everything around him and in him simultaneously conveys an epiphany: “Everything seems to mean something, everything that exists, everything I can remember, everything in the most muddled of my thoughts.”27 This stream of meaning is more adapted to life,

as it bridges the gap between “dreaming and waking,”28 “mental or physical,”29 the external and the internal, the “I” and the “not-I.”30 Truly, Chandos has discovered a substance that is closer to the nature of reality.31 Besides, this transport gives him a profound sense of pleasure,32 which he did not know before his crisis. From the most unremarkable objects (the watering can, for example) he experiences the presence of the beautiful. From sinister scenes, such as the death of all the rats, he retains the most meaningful ravishment: “it was more divine, more bestial — and it was the present, the fullest, most sublime present.”33 Anything can now lead him to this contemplative felicity. Michel Hulin interestingly suggests that Chandos has completely resigned from his aristocratic isolation and genuinely opened himself to the diversity of existence, as traditionally rural utensils (watering can) and animals (cows, rats, dogs) now convey intense emotions.34 Having overcome his misguided ambition,35 Chandos now perceives things immediately, eschewing human reasoning.

In spite of these occasional moments, as he cannot summon the sublime at will, Chandos lives in a state of utter emptiness.36 Le Rider indeed asserts that this long-desired lucidity has its price: “He has to die to himself in order for his language to be reborn.”37 Similarly, Arens writes: “He possesses the word-shams of language, and must lose them before he can entirely deconstruct and reconstitute his perceptions of the world.”38 Chandos is thus not broken, but rather is in the process of regenerating himself. He will certainly not write as many works as he did before, but his future creations would be more enlightened,39 because he now thinks “with his heart.”40 Already the sworn-off language of the sacred comes back to him: “sublime and moving aura,” “heavenly feeling;”41 “more divine,” “such a presence of the infinite;”42 “that mysterious, wordless, infinite rapture.”43 Chandos might one day find a way to master and create with this new language “of which [he knows] not one word.”44 Nägele indeed argues that he has become an empty vessel: “Die Erfahrung des Ich als bloßer Bewußtseinmoment, als

Modernistische Kolonnade, Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum

Daniel Galef


Strom von Empfindungen ohne tragende und bleibende Substanz.”45 Nevertheless, Chandos can go beyond basic conceptions of nature and start to mediate his “visions” through art and literature. This very letter serves as a paradox, demonstrating his re-appropriation of language through heightened sensibility. It makes sense to say that Chandos has finally accessed the wisdom he always yearned to have; instead of a dead-end, this is a new beginning in his creative process. Chandos has indubitably changed: previously blind, he has become lucid, patient, and now employs words with wise scrutiny. His conscience of the universe has grown vast and extremely acute. Instead of his previous desire to encompass the totality of life, he now knows that only taciturn contemplation can make this ravishing oneness manifests itself. The disintegration of his self reflects the true, chaotic nature of the real world. Terrifying as well as exhilarating, this experience of fading into emptiness is nonetheless not to be considered as a tragedy, but as the start of a new creative power. Compared to the ordinary man, Chandos’ experience is of real insight. It is the task of thinkers and creators to continually strive for the expansion of their awareness. The example of the fictional Lord Chandos, his real life counterpart Francis Bacon, or more recently, French artist Fabienne Verdier illustrates how one can master the nameless flow Chandos has discovered, through philosophy and art.

NOTES 1. H. Stefan Schultz, “Hofmannsthal and Bacon: The Sources of the Chandos Letter,” Comparative Literature, 13, no. 1 (1961): 1. 2. Jacques Le Rider, “La Lettre de Lord Chandos,” Littérature, 95 (1994): 98. Originally in French, translated into English for the purpose of this essay. 3. Donald G. Daviau, “Hugo Von Hofmannsthal and the Chandos Letter,” Modern Austrian Literature, (1971): 33. 4. Rainer Nägele, “Die Sprachkrise und Ihr Dichterischer Ausdruck bei Hofmannsthal,” The German Quarterly, 43,


no. 4 (1970): 722. 5. Hugo von Hofmannsthal, J. Banville, and J. Rotenberg. The Lord Chandos Letter: And Other Writings (New York: New York Review Books, 2012), 119-120. 6. Ibid., 119. 7. Ibid., 121. 8. Ibid., 118. 9. Ibid., 121. 10. Ibid., 122. 11. “[…] the concepts of ordinary language are conventional, with meaning established only by agreement within the community of users. […] Such a system is perceived as functioning in opposition to nature.” Katherine M. Arens, “Linguistic Skepticism: Towards a Productive Definition.” Monatshefte, 74, no. 2 (1982): 147. 12. Hofmannsthal, Lord Chandos Letter, 122. 13. Arens, “Linguistic Skepticism,” 144-55. 14. Hofmannsthal, Lord Chandos Letter, 120. 15. Le Rider, “La Lettre,” 97. 16. Hofmannsthal, Lord Chandos Letter, 122. On 121, to remain in the realm of the uncanny, Chandos had qualified his previously blind attitude toward the world as “the sureness of a sleepwalker.” This metaphor also reminds of the similar scene in the Tale of the 672nd Night, where the protagonist happens to be trapped in an uncanny glasshouse (28, same edition). 17. Ibid., 120. 18. Ibid., 122. 19. Jacques Le Rider asserts nonetheless that Chandos does not reject language in general, but only language that leads to banalities: “Lord Chandos’ silence does not reflect defiance against all of language, but rather an aversion towards ‘conceptual’ language, that is abstractions and general concepts.” Le Rider, “La Lettre,” 103. 20. Nägele, “Sprachkrise,” 727. 21. Hofmannsthal, Lord Chandos Letter, 119. 22. Ibid., 125. 23. Ibid., 123. 24. Ibid., 124. 25. Ibid., 124. 26. Ibid., 127. 27. Ibid., 125.

28. Ibid., 124. 29. Ibid., 125. 30. Le Rider, “La Lettre,” 102-03. 31. Ibid., 103. Jacques Le Rider refers to this more immediate matter as “daseinunmittelbare Sprache”. Katherine M. Arens supports this “substance”, yet remains confident that not all language should be banned: “true insight into the universe is definitely non-verbal (if indeed it is at all possible), and verbal knowledge should be doubted, but only under specific conditions set down in terms of perspectival experimentation,” Arens, “Linguistic Skepticism”, 150. 32. Ibid., 125. “At those moments an insignificant creature, a moss-covered stone mean more to me than the most beautiful, most abandoned lover ever did on the happiest night.”

33. Ibid., 124. 34. Michel Hulin, La Mystique sauvage: aux antipodes de l’esprit (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2014), 107. 35. Le Rider, “La Lettre,” 98. “His euphoric, intellectual all-power was filled with hybris and challenges set to the gods.” 36. Ibid., 122. 37. Ibid., 107. 38. Arens, “Linguistic Skepticism,” 146. 39. Le Rider, “La Lettre,” 109. 40. Hofmannsthal, Lord Chandos Letter, 125. 41. Ibid., 123. 42. Ibid., 124. 43. Ibid., 126. 44. Ibid., 127-28. 45. Nägele, “Sprachkrise,” 723.


Nichts, was im Leben Wichtig ist Anpassung für Theater SÉBASTIEN BROUSSE Dieses Stück ist eine Anpassung vom Jugendroman Nichts was im Leben wichtig ist. Das Buch wurde im Jahre 2000 von dänischen Schriftstellerin Janne Teller geschrieben und im Jahre 2010 auf deutsch veröffentlicht. Der Roman handelt von der Sinnlosigkeit des Lebens und ist auf Grund seiner ausgeprägt nihilistischen Aussagen seit der Veröffentlichung heftig umstritten. Es handelt sich um eine erschütternde Parabel über das Erwachsenwerden, Erziehung und Gewalt in unserer Gesellschaft.

Hintergrund: Nach den Sommerferien kommen die Schülerinnen und Schüler der 7. Klasse im kleinen dänischen Dorf Taering wieder in ihrer Schule zusammen. Kurz nach Beginn des Unterrichts verlässt ein Schüler Pierre-Anthon den Klassenraum, klettert auf einen Pflaumenbaum und entscheidet sich, nie mehr in die Schule zu gehen. Seine Erklärung dafür: Es lohnt sich nicht, etwas zu tun, weil nichts Bedeutung hat. Alles im Leben fängt nur an, um aufzuhören. Das Leben ist die Mühe überhaupt nicht wert. Die anderen in der Klasse begegnen diesem Geschehen mit einer Mischung aus Ahnung, dass Pierre-Anthon recht haben könnte und dem Versuch, ihn vom Gegenteil zu überzeugen. Es kommt dann den Schülern die Idee des Bedeutungsbergs: Sie tragen Gegenstände zusammen, die von Bedeutung sind mit dem Absicht Pierre Anthon zu überzeugen, dass das Leben nämlich bedeutungswert ist.

Stück: Pierre Anthon sitzt ruhig auf dem Ast eines Pflaumenbaums und träumt vor sich hin. Er schaut ausdruckslos in die Luft und wirft nachlässig Pflaumenkerne auf die Bühne von oben. Agnes, eine Mitschülerin von P.-A., erscheint hästig auf die Bühne. Sie trägt einen Rucksack und beeilt sich zur Schule. Sie läuft den Pflaumenbaum vorbei, erkennt die Figur von PierreAnthon und bleibt plötzlich stehen. Agnes (genervt): Du sitzt bloß da und gaffst in die Luft! Sag uns endlich, was ist denn los mit dir? Pierre-Anthon (nachdenklich): Ich gaffe nicht in die Luft. Ich schaue in den Himmel und über mich darin, nichts zu tun. Ich schaue mit leerem Blick ins Nichts. A (wütend): Den Teufel tust du! Sie wirft ein Stöckchen nach oben in den Pflaumenbaum zu Pierre-Anthon, aber es landet in der Hecke. Pierre-Anthon lacht.


P (ruft sehr laut): wenn es etwas gibt, wofür es sich lohnt sauer zu werden, gibt es auch etwas, wofür es sich lohnt sich zu freuen. Wenn es etwas gibt, wofür es sich lohnt sich zu freuen, gibt es auch etwas, was etwas bedeutet. Aber das gibt es nicht! A (sarkastisch): Und wieso „gibt es das nicht“? Du bist also der Meinung, dass es nichts gibt, was etwas bedeutet. In diesem Fall, du fauler Mensch, aus welchem anderen Grund würdest du denn den ganzen Tag auf diesen kläglichen Ästen sitzen, uns lässig Pflaumenkerne zuwerfen und uns mit deinen verächtlichen Reden nerven, wenn nicht, um uns zu provozieren? Warum brauchst du denn unbedingt diesen Baum und warum verhöhnst du uns so, wenn das doch keinen Sinn hat? P: So viele Fragen ins Nichts. Ich erinnere euch nur daran, dass ihr in wenigen Jahren alle tot seid und vergessen und nichts. Also könnt ihr genauso gut sofort damit anfangen, euch darin zu üben. A: Uns in was zu üben? P: Euch in Bedeutungslosigkeit zu üben! Euch immer daran zu erinnern, dass ihr nichts bedeutet. Nichts hat Bedeutung. A: In diesem Fall, warum lebst du noch, du kleiner Eingebildeter? Du hattest doch früher nicht daran gedacht, dein bedeutungsloses Leben zu beenden? P: Ich dachte… A (unterbricht): Natürlich nicht! Man genießt natürlich das Leben und man beendet es nicht. Sogar wenn man ausgesprochen hat, dass es überhaupt keinen Sinn hat. Man weiß aber ganz tief, dass das Leben in Wirklichkeit eine Bedeutung hat und, dass es unser wertvollster Schatz ist. Nicht wahr, Pierre-Anthon? P: Nicht wahr, Agnes. A: Bist du so sicher? P: Sonst würde ich mich nicht darin üben, nichts zu tun, um nichts zu werden. A: Und was würdest du sagen, wenn ich dir einen Beweis der Bedeutung zeigen würde? Etwas, das wirklich eine Bedeutung für uns Menschen hat? P: Was für die Menschen eine Bedeutung hat, ist aber nichts wert, wenn ein Mensch selbst wertlos ist. A: Wenn die Welt keinen Wert und keinen Sinn hätte, dann gäbe es nichts, worum man sich sorgen musste. Dann wäre das Leben nur Vergnügen und Ruhe. Warum bleibst du denn allein da oben? Du bist aber kein Elender! Kommst du nicht herunter, um dein sorgenloses Leben mit uns zu genießen? P: Und warum sollte ich diese Äste verlassen? Unten gibt es nichts mehr zu sehen, nichts mehr zu sagen, nichts mehr zu tun als da oben. Ihr seid keine bessere Gesellschaft als die Pflaumen und der Wind. A: Wie kann man nur so besserwisserisch sein und sich sein eigenes Leben kaputt machen? Nicht Dein Leben ist sinnlos, sondern deine Haltung! Deine Arroganz nervt uns alle! Pierre-Anthon wirft eine Pflaume. A: Schau dir mal was an… Zieht den Vorhang zur Seite. … Siehst du das? P: Was für ein Unsinn ist das? A: Das ist der Berg der Bedeutung, der Beweis des Sinns. Sag nichts Falsches mehr, PierreAnthon! P: Seid ihr total verrückt geworden oder was?


Pierre-Anthon lacht höhnisch und deutet verächtlich in die Richtung des Bergs, aber dann bleibt sein Blick an irgendetwas darin hängen. Ist das Aschenputtels Kopf dort am Gipfel des Bergs? Und das hier, ist es der Sarg des kleinen Emil mit Aschenputtels verrottendem Körper darauf? A: Ja und es gibt noch mehr! Schau mal auf dieser Seite…siehst du nicht Jesus am Rosenholzkreuz? Und dort, die Schlange in Formalin, Husseins Gebetsteppich, Gerdas toter Oskar, Jan-Johans erstarrter Zeigefinger? Sieht du nicht, dass alles hier Sinn hat! P (liest dann sein Blick durch den Berg bis etwas, dass er nicht versteht): Was für ein Lappen ist das? Er deutet auf das karierte Taschentuch. A (hysterisch): Das ist die Bedeutung! P: Aha, das ist also die Bedeutung! (springt vom Baum herunter) Dieser Misthaufen ist dann die Bedeutung…Ein armseliger tote Hamster, ein verrottender Sarg, ein widerlicher kopfloser Hund, ein gebrochenes Kreuz getränkt in Pisse, ein abgeschnittener Finger, Blut und Sperma! Ihr seid doch ein Haufen Idioten! A: Wir haben dir die Bedeutung gezeigt, und du weigerst dich es zu sehen. P: Wenn nichts irgendetwas bedeutet, war eure Mühe umsonst! Er lächelt höhnisch und geht weg. A: Wir zeigen ihn die Bedeutung, und er wendet uns den Rücken zu. Er wird diesen Fehler bereuen. Hinter den Kulissen wird Pierre Anthon von seinen Mitschülern verprügelt. Man hört ihn schreien, man hört Lärm, Hektik und plötzlich nichts mehr. A: Selbst wenn ich nicht erklären kann, was es ist, weiß ich doch, dass es etwas gibt, das Bedeutung hat. Und ich weiß, dass man mit der Bedeutung nicht spaßen soll. Nicht wahr? Agnes passe dans les coulisses, attrape le cadavre de Pierre-Anthon par la main et le traine sur scène. Elle le pousse contre le mont de signification. Elle monte sur la branche du prunier, s’installe confortablement. Elle sort une pomme de sa poche, croque dedans et contemple le mont de signification. Agnes geht hinter der Bühne, fängt die Leiche von Pierre Anthon und schleppt es über die Bühne. Sie schiebt ihn gegen den Berg der Bedeutung. Sie klettert auf den Pflaumenzweig, setzt sich gemütlich. Sie nimmt einen Apfel aus ihrer Tasche, beißt in den Apfel und betrachtet den Berg von Bedeutung. Das Licht schaltet sich langsam aus. Man hört Agnes in ihren Apfel beißen. Man hört nichts. Ende


Vivienne Litzke


The Politics of Art: Kirchner’s Self-Portraits BRIANNE CHAPELLE Art is not autonomous; the autonomy of art being an elitist suggestion, claiming that art is independent from societal or political workings.1 Rather, perhaps it is the case that some art is made with purely aesthetic intentions, or since it is difficult and sometimes unproductive to discuss artistic intention, some art can be seen as purely aesthetic, though this is limiting. Although much of the scholarship on Modernism largely describes art objects in terms of form, line, and color, socio-political interpretations are equally valid and applicable. I would venture that most art has a political or societally related intention, whether art historians and viewers know what that intention is or not, and is directly related to the artist’s values, their position in society, and their experiences. One such example is Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s self-portraits that appear to change vastly over time. His portraits have been studied as being politically and socially charged, rampant with messages about his status as a “genius” artist and society’s oppression. These assertions can be upheld solely from what is visually represented in the paintings themselves and from a general understanding of what the German Expressionist movement itself is defined as,2 which is of expressive tendencies of the emotional sort relating directly to personal experience.3 What is more interesting though, is how his art was branded as “degenerate art” due to its opposition in political message and its child-like formal qualities that were a clear deviation from the classically inspired artwork that was supported by the National Socialist Party at that time. Art like Kirchner’s, that deviated from these tastes, was censored. Art is intrinsically bound up in political and social ideology, which can be evidenced by two of


Kirchner’s portraits, Self-Portrait with Model (1910) and Self-Portrait as a Soldier (c. 1915); both contain ideological perspectives on what art should be, the notion of the creative artistic genius, and gender politics from a historical perspective. In chronological order, the first portrait of 1910, Self-Portrait with Model when looked at from the perspective of new art history is dripping with gender politics as well as a strong presence of ‘artist-as-genius’ ideology. This prevalent string of thought referred to as the concept of artist-as-genius describes artists as creative virtuosos, who are technically and conceptually gifted, as if in touch with something deeper, and are “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”4 The artist-as-genius is typically male, and described as hypermasculine at that. Self-Portrait with Model is a portrait of Kirchner in his role of avant-garde artist, painting the female model positioned and seated behind him. Kirchner looks like the canonical genius Modern artist wearing an open jacket that makes it ambiguous whether or not he is nude. His powerful stance and his open jacket point directly to what lies beneath the shadow of the fabric draping over him: his genitals. This suggests an egotistical security in his identity as a bohemian male artist. His lack of attire also evokes the artist-as-genius, and in doing so, he is able to assert himself more confidently, his self-expression coming across in his actions and, most of all, in his painting. A manly cigar hanging out of his mouth and a phallic paintbrush placed in front of his genital area are two overt suggestions to his manliness, reassuring viewers, and perhaps himself, of his gender. Using the paintbrush as a phallic symbol seems to indicate a conflation between Kirchner’s gen-

der identity and his identity as an artist, that the art is his means of outwardly expressing his gender identity. His gaze is intense and the model looks at him almost critically, arguably displeased. What seems to be more important, based on the positioning of the figures and the title of the painting, is Kirchner himself. He is a self-understood artistic genius safely in his realm, his studio. Facing away from the model, which is the opposite of what would be expected as the painter, he gazes in the direction of the viewers, as though, as a viewer himself, he is deciding how best to paint his portrait. The inner workings of this portrait help viewers, perhaps, to better understand Kirchner’s Portrait as a Soldier, which can be argued, suggests a transformation. Kirchner portrays himself looking severe and emaciated, with dead, unseeing eyes.5 He is wearing the navy and red uniform of the Mansfield artillery regiment with whom he was a volunteer driver for early in the war.6 His hand has been amputated in the painting, something that is false biographically, and Kirchner holds up the stump and he flails his other hand to the side, unsure of what to do with it.7 This portrait, in contrast, conveys fear rather than masculine confidence like his preceding self-portrait. The fact that Kirchner portrays himself without a hand is a reflection of his own perceived emasculation caused by his fear of what war can do to a person.8 The portrait is set in his studio amongst canvases and a model whose features seem purposefully androgynous, something that in contrast to the previous portrait whose female model suggested the possibility of sex, this portrait and its model seems to convey less of a focus on their sexuality. If in the previous portrait Kirchner conveyed his masculine identity through his expressionistic art, here it seems he has lost the ability to focus on his art due to psychological trauma, something he tries to convey symbolically and expressively with what appears through the physical disability. This can be supported by Freud’s theory of castration anxiety, or the fear of loosing the genitals, and therefore one’s identity. This fear is shown in an iconographical way here.9 His fear of death or changed perception on life due to his own subject experience with

war can be seen in the removal of his overtly expressed masculinity and confidence in the second portrait. Here, Kirchner depicts himself in an entirely different way, one it seems is an expression related to his own subjective fear of war that, in the context of the painting, has changed his ability to create. His altered creative abilities therefore transform his methods of expressing his masculinity, as well as his prior confidence of it. To relate to perception, art historical discourses have retrospectively placed the works of Kirchner in the category of German Expressionism, a term not referring to an organized movement or distinct style, but rather one that describes a phenomena of art starting to be largely expressive of an artist’s emotional state. Historically, there was a fear that Modern human history was coming to an end, that humanity was “exhausted.”10 The German National Socialist Party condemned what they termed Entartete Kunst, or “degenerate art,” condemning the creation and confiscating existing paintings like Self-Portrait as a Solider in 1937. Degenerate art was defined as art that was both aesthetically and politically against what the party deemed of “quality,” which was art as a perpetuation of classical techniques and the bourgeois values associated with it.11 Degenerate artists were forbidden to practice and exhibit their art in Germany. The censure of artwork for being against the political standing in terms of it being possibly seen as anti-war as well as it promoting the kind of artistic, bohemian lifestyle that Hitler would have deemed “Bolshevik” or “Jewish,” are inherently tied to political and social views, and more than that, were perceived as containing obvious political agendas.12 In other words, if this art were strictly aesthetic, it would not have been seen as a threat, or something to censor. Further still, the painting would not exist if it was meant only as an aesthetic piece; it would be inextricably mutated. The National Socialist Party viewing the art as formally degenerate as well, evaluated them as degenerate works in terms of material practice and creation outside social circumstances.13 Kirchner’s art, and other art deemed degenerate, should not be viewed only for aesthetics


but rather viewed for aesthetics second to representational content. In essence, I am arguing in opposition to Greenburgian formalism, which argues that art is aesthetic first and all else second.14 When looking at these Kirchner works, the first questions I have are concerning the content of the painting as far as its happenings since they are not abstracted, but are representing legible symbols. A difficulty with the formalist construction of art, as described by historians Meecham and Sheldon, is that it is hard to maintain a “formalist ‘eye’” without eventually questioning aspects of the art, other than the aesthetic one.15 This is especially true of Kirchner’s œuvre, which I argue cannot be looked at without raising some sort of question. Art that resists these concepts of political or social relation — manifesting as aesthetic art — seems to do so on purpose due to a belief of what art should be, making a message all its own. The fact that Kirchner’s portraits evolve show his art to be subjective, and thus related to his surroundings in both cases, something that Kirchner was aware of, having stated: “[i]t seems as though the goal of my work has always been to dissolve myself completely into the sensations of the surroundings in order to then integrate this into a coherent painterly form.”16

NOTES 1. Pam Meecham and Julie Sheldon, “What, When and Where Was Modernism?”, Modern Art: A Critical Introduction (London: Routeledge, 2005), 37. 2. The German Expressionist movement commenced shortly before the First World War and peaked during the 1920s in Germany. It was a modernist movement defined by its depiction of the subjective experience and evocation of emotion.


3. Jason Galger, “Expressionism and the Crisis of Subjectivity,” Art of the AvantGardes, ed. Steve Edwards and Paul Wood (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press in association with the Open Universtiy, 2004), 14. 4. Meecham and Sheldon, “Modernism,” 25. 5. “Expressionist Art: Kirchner Self-Portrait as a Soldier.” Allen Memorial Art Museum. Oberlin College. 6. Ibid. 7. Shulamith Behr, “War, Revolution and Counter Revolution,” Expressionism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 64. 8. “Expressionist Art: Kirchner Self-Portrait as a Soldier.” 9. Hal Foster, Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2004), 17. 10. This refers to a fear that is typical of all ages, that culture and mankind at large was better in a previous time or that there has been a notable decline. Galger, 14. 11. Anita Kühnel, npg. and “Expressionist Art: Kirchner Self-Portrait as a Soldier.” 12. Anita Kühnel, npg. 13. Meecham and Sheldon, “Modernism,” 25-26. 14. Clement Greenburg, “Modernist Painting,” Art in Modern Culture: An Anthology of Critical Texts, ed. Francis Frascina and Jonathan Harris (London: Phaidon, 1995), 310. 15. Meecham and Sheldon, “Modernism,” 27. 16. Deborah Wye, “Chapter One,” Kirchner and the Berlin Street (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008), 35.

Marmorstatue mit Nebelkrähe Obenauf, Park Sanssouci, Potsdam

Daniel Galef


Das Fleisch GABRIEL PROULX Deine Hände sind wie verstopfte Flüsse Die Finger strömen Das † ist flüchtig Die Nägel werden Perlen Deine Lippen öffnen sich Und die Zunge spielt Musik Sie schlägt den Gaumen mit Appetit Wir können nicht hören, ob du tot Oder schläfrig bist Diese Akkorde sind unbekannt Du bist unbekannt Dein Gesicht löst sich auf Hinter Lichtwolken Tragisch ist das Wort Das du singst Tragisch ist das Wort Das in deine Handfläche verkrustet ist Deine Tragödie ist verstimmt Deine Tragödie verliert ihre Melodie Eine gebrochene Melodie Eine gebrochene Sprache Eine gebrochene Strömung Die die Fische wegträgt


Vivienne Litzke


Transcendentalism in Late 18th Century German Drama JOE MODZELEWSKY Thought to be the first philosophical and literary movement that was uniquely American, the Transcendentalists were a school of thinkers, writers, and artists that came into full fruition during the latter half of the 19th century. The foremost purveyors of the movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau . The main message that they developed, which would be further built upon by other Transcendentalists, was that every man and woman possessed the means within themselves to attain self-actualization and that if these individuals worked together as a community, then a new state of societal well-being could be reached which would bring spiritual and intellectual fulfillment. Although Transcendentalism is seen as being uniquely American, even Emerson states that the ideas posed were not new “but the very oldest of thoughts cast into a new mould of these new times.”1 The movement borrowed and built upon many ideas ranging from English Romanticism to Vedic tradition but also from German philosophy such as Immanuel Kant and Idealism. Not only Kant, but two German plays written between the years 1778 and 1800 can also be interpreted and seen as precursors for the Transcendentalist movement. Through their depictions of individualism, morality, and political-religious institutions, both Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Nathan The Wise and Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart act as early exemplars of what American Transcendentalism would come to be known by and stand for. Transcendentalists were massive proponents of human beings being seen as individuals whose minds “can apprehend absolute spiritual truths directly without having to go


through the detour of the senses, without the dictates of past authorities and institutions, and without the plodding labor of ratiocination.”2 The mind, something that each individual possesses, is all that is needed to attain higher truths and knowledge. Thus, an emphasis on practicing individuality and agency was extremely important for the Transcendentalists in the process of developing one’s self. By practicing individualism, one becomes self-reliant. It would be self-reliant people who form a desired community where nobody takes away from the group but everyone supports it.3 In Nathan The Wise, the Templar, Conrad, is one who practices agency and individualism in the face of authority. He is ordered through the patriarchy to act against the Sultan but in response claims “He wants no common messenger: he wants a spy. Go tell your patriarch, brother, I am not.”4 In saying this, not only is Conrad practicing his ability to act as an individual in the face of authority and order, but he even goes so far as to say “your patriarch” which denounces the patriarch further as being his own. This denunciation of authority is a sure stride in the development of thought that the Transcendentalists built upon which emphasises a divorce from authority whilst still retaining and practicing just, universal morals such as Conrad’s intentions to not betray and act against the Sultan, a figure who spared his life. In Mary Stuart, the character of Mortimer practices his own individualism and as a result ends up discovering a certain amount of personal spiritual development and growth. Mortimer “strict in [his] duties, [he] was ravished by an unkillable desire” wherein he leaves “the sermon dungeons of the Puritans.”5 Upon

his travels, he experiences the “the sublime” through religious art and eventually converts to Catholicism after his “spirit entered the beauty of the day forever.”6 Emerson claims that “Spirit, in its creation, aims, and hence Art.”7 Aesthetics and the admiration of art through the appreciation of nature and the understanding that ‘the Divine’ or ‘Spirit’ communicates through these mediums are important Transcendentalist ideas which Schiller illustrates through Mortimer’s own travels of self-enlightenment. Not only does Mortimer portray Transcendentalist individualism by abandoning the institutions he was born into and finding his own path to spiritual fulfillment, he also discovers this fulfillment through the appreciation of art and through the idea that Spirit communicates through art; an integral Transcendentalist concept. Both Nathan The Wise and Mary Stuart feature stark, contrasting displays of Transcendentalist virtues too. The Friar in Nathan The Wise has put his search for spiritual fulfillment in the hands of the Patriarch as the Friar explains: “The patriarch has promised me a hermitage on Thabor...and meanwhile, employs me as a lay-brother...where I pine a hundred times a day…”8 The Friar has put his faith in the hands of a hierarchy which may not have his best interests in hands. His inability to practice agency and to pursue his individual calling may leave him in a state of spiritual dissatisfaction. Queen Elizabeth in Mary Stuart is a character completely void of any sort of sense of individualism or sense of agency. Through the entire play she is reliant on her advisors and even does what she can to avoid responsibility to such an extent that she says to Leicester in a response to the idea of meeting Mary: “If I should venture on this folly...the recklessness is yours not mine.”9 Or, when Elizabeth signs the execution warrant, she hands it to a secretary to deal with in fear of facing repercussions for any sort of decision she makes. Once the execution is eventually followed through with, she breaks down when the cause for Mary’s death comes back to her as she exclaims “Despicable! Do you blame me, your Queen?”10 In both works, a failure to practice individualism, one of Transcendentalism’s most prised virtues

and concepts, leads to one character’s perpetual spiritual dissatisfaction and another character’s subsequent moral and political collapse. For Transcendentalists, morality in humans is seen as wholly intuitive. They see humans as ultimately good in nature at a fundamental level. Religious and political institutions only seem to dilute humans and their natural instinct for a moral life as “man’s destiny is but Virtue — or manhood — it is wholly moral — to be learned only by the life of the soul. God cannot calculate it — he has no moral philosophy — no ethics.”11 In Nathan The Wise, Conrad saves Recha, a Jewish girl, from a home fire by risking his own life. When confronted about the deed he responds with “....which I did unthinking.”12 Throughout the entirety of a play, there is no real motive that takes responsibility for Conrad’s actions that result in a Christian crusader saving the life of a Jewish girl. In a way, his actions seem to be instinctual and derived out of Conrad doing what he felt was right at the time. The action transcends both Recha’s and Conrad’s conflicting religious beliefs, implying that humans are intuitively good. This example of a moral action directly corresponds with what would become of Transcendentalist moral views. In Mary Stuart, Queen Elizabeth and her delegates experience brief encounters with moral illumination from the Earl of Shrewsbury who, when debating the fate of Mary Stuart, suggests the Queen “extend to her an angel’s hand…”13 The very notion that Queen Elizabeth is experiencing difficulties and apprehension with deciding the fate of Mary Stuart would suggest that she does feel remorse and empathy despite the possible negative political implications that could result. A Transcendentalist thinker would argue that the apprehension and difficulty in making such a decision comes from the Queen instinctually and intuitively knowing that to execute Mary Stuart would be wrong. However, her political and religious stations are clouding her judgement. Even when the Queen signs the execution warrant she “steps back with an expression of horror.”14 This implies that the Queen knows what she has done is not morally right. The moral ambiguities littered throughout Mary Stuart carry


with them an underlying notion of intuition and instinct versus duty and obligation. To a Transcendentalist, only when one transcends these duties and obligations, and instead acts according to intuition and instinct, can one lead a morally fulfilling and virtuous life, or for Thoreau; “So long as a man is faithful to himself, everything is in his favor, government, society, the very sun, moon, and stars.”15 An inability to do so, as presented in Mary Stuart, leads to a destructive downfall as seen through Queen Elizabeth. The Transcendentalists believed wholeheartedly in political and religious reform, some even going so far as to start their own self-sustaining communities such as Brooks Farm. The Transcendentalists felt much disdain towards the institutions at hand during the 19th century and called for society-wide for reform, as Emerson saw “man as a reformer.”16 In both texts, the authors depict the institutions of religion and monarchy as seemingly broken and corrupt systems in need of uplifting and dramatic change. In Nathan The Wise, Lessing paints the patriarchy and Christian hierarchy as a spiteful and archaic institution, even somewhat nonsensical. When Conrad confides to the Patriarch about the possibility of a Jewish man raising a Christian-born woman as Jew, the Patriarchy becomes enraged and deems ‘That if a Jew shall apostacy seduce a Christian, he shall die by fire.” and continues to add that “For all that’s done to children is by force — I mean except what the church does to children.”17 The apparent hypocrisy and seemingly hyperbolic disposition as compared to the other characters raises questions that it is possible that the views of hierarchical Christianity are near absurd. In Lessing’s portrayal of Christian authority as almost ‘evil’, he is helping set the foundation for the Transcendental notion that although spirituality and healthy religious devotion to ‘the divine’ is not inherently bad, the institution of religion itself is what is hurtful and what needs to be reconsidered. In Mary Stuart, Schiller portrays the institution of a monarchy, as well as the figurative institution of rational thinking, as systems which are in many ways broken and obsolete. Throughout the entire play, Queen Elizabeth,


the absolute figurehead and symbol of the monarchy of England, is seen as slightly incompetent, a suspect to emotion even though she strives for rule governed by reason. She is pulled and swayed by so many different parties with their own vested interests including the various Earls, Dukes, and even the common mob. The lack of communication between those that are involved with the Queen and the conniving vested interests all dissuade the proceedings of the court and political infrastructure. This is all made clear when the execution warrant is signed and the secretary is left with no clear instruction from the Queen. In searching for rational thinking in such a situation, the secretary, Davison, pleads “But I am damned if I proceed too quickly.” However, acting out of personal vested interests, Burleigh replies “You are a fool or mad! Give me the paper!”18 Transcendentalist thinkers are not at all directly opposed to rationalism. Their concern, however, is trying to act rational or believe one is acting rationally in a system that is void of it in the first place and really has no room for it. In the case of Mary Stuart, that system is monarchy which is inherently a completely irrational form of government. Burleigh shows the incompatibility of reason and monarchy as he even believes he is acting rationally, as present in his language of using “fool” and “mad” towards Davison, when in fact, Burleigh himself is acting completely out of spite, emotional triggers, and near-sightedness. Monarchy is a system that is flawed in many ways. When monarchy believes it is acting rationally, as portrayed by Schiller, it is even more damaging. This aligns well with Transcendentalist notions of moving past outdated political systems due to their inability to properly negotiate with more contemporary and liberal philosophical thought. It has proven quite difficult for scholars to properly define what exactly Transcendentalism is and was to America and the rest of the world. Most movements of thought are a direct reaction to a previous one or are simply a re-emergence of an older style or school of thought, but Transcendentalism was neither a direct reactionary response to anything nor was it specific re-emergence either. Instead, it

proved to be a holistic culmination of so many different areas of thinking. In a country that still was struggling to define itself and which still saw an endless scope of possibilities for what it may become, the Transcendentalist movement was the perfect vehicle for Emerson and Thoreau’s late 19th century America. Indeed, the core values Transcendentalism were inspired by some of Germany’s most formidable and enduring works of drama; Lessing’s Nathan The Wise and Schiller’s Mary Stuart.

NOTES 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Transcendentalist,” in Nature; Addresses and Lectures, (Boston and Cambridge: James Muroe and Company, 1849), 319. 2. Lawrence Buell, Literary Transcendentalism: Style and Vision in the American Renaissance (Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1973). 3. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Over-Soul,” in Essays: First Series (Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1892), 237. 4. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Nathan der Weise [Nathan the Wise], trans. William Taylor, (London: R. Philips, 1805), 31.

5. Friedrich Schiller. Mary Stuart, trans. Hillary Collier Sy-Quia and Peter Oswald (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 217. 6. Ibid., 218. 7. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Thought On Art,” The Dial vol. 1 (1841), 367. 8. Lessing, Nathan The Wise, 138. 9. Schiller, Mary Stuart, 267. 10. Ibid., 336. 11. Henry David Thoreau, Henry D. Thoreau: Journal, Vol. 1: 1837-1844, ed. Elizabeth Witherell, William L. Howarth, Robert Sattelmeyer, and Thomas Blanding (1842; repr., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 401. 12. Lessing, Nathan The Wise, 37. 13. Schiller, Mary Stuart, 125. 14. Ibid., 309. 15. W. D. Wetherell, On Admiration (New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub., 2010), 170. 16. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Man The Reformer,” in Nature; Addresses and Lectures (1841; repr., Honolulu Hawaii: Unversity Press of the Pacific, 2001), 217. 17. Lessing, Nathan The Wise, 116-117. 18. Schiller, Mary Stuart, 313.


Vivienne Litzke


Ein Modernes Märchen EMILIA GUERGUINOVA Es war einmal ein Mädchen, das schön wie eine Rose war. Ihre Eltern waren aber Alkoholiker und sich um ein Kind zu kümmern war für sie einfach undenkbar. Das arme junge Mädchen musste auf der Straße leben, ohne Geld und unter Ratten. Ihre einzige Hoffnung war einen Mann zu finden, der ihr helfen konnte — einen Gatten. Draußen waren die Tage kalt, denn der Winter stand vor der Tür. Das Mädchen hatte jedoch ein gutes und sicheres Gespür. Sie wartete und wartete eine Ewigkeit und dann kam endlich jemand! Sie drehte sich um und auf einmal war da ein Mann, der hinter ihr stand! Er sah stark und mächtig aus, aber natürlich auch freundlich! Endlich war ihr Retter da: Dass er gefährlich war, war ja total unmöglich. „Guten Tag, mein Schatz, was tust du denn hier? Schöne Mädchen wie du sollten nicht alleine auf der Straße bleiben. Komm, gehe mit dir.“ Das Mädchen hatte ein Zuhause gefunden und freute sich auf die neue Beziehung, Sie ging ruhig mit dem Mann, denn alle ihre Probleme hatten jetzt eine Lösung. „Was für große und glänzende blaue Augen du hast,“ sagte der fremde Mann, als sie sich auf den Weg machten. Ach, es ist so schön endlich so einen netten Freund zu haben, dachte sie, und die beide lächelten und lachten. Als die beiden schließlich ihr Ziel erreichten, stand ein kleines Haus vor ihnen. Da es Vorhänge an allen Fenstern gab, fragte sich das Mädchen: Was gibt es denn hier drinnen? „Geh rein,“ sagte der Mann, aber dieses Mal nicht so höflich. Das Mädchen gehorchte ihm, weil sie wusste, etwas anderes zu tun wäre töricht. Sie gingen hinein und was sie sah erschreckte sie: Unzählige junge Mädchens wie sie waren auch dort. Sie sahen betäubt und erschöpt aus; es war kein schöner Ort. Die meisten waren halb-nackt, und das Mädchen wusste genau warum. Sie konnte es nicht glauben; oh nein! sie war so dumm! Sie rannte zur Tür, doch der Mann war zu geschwind. Er hatte die Tür schon geschlossen, schneller als der Wind. „Jetzt tust du genau was ich dir sage, sonst wirst du bestraft.“ Das Mädchen begann zu weinen, denn der Mann war so boshaft! Die Mädchen, die dort waren, wurden von Männern misbraucht und bedroht. Die, die versucht hatten zu fliehen, waren alle tot. Eines Tages kam die Polizei und warfen die Kriminelle ins Gefängnis. Die jungen Mädchen waren endlich frei nach ihrem furchtbaren Bedrängnis. Sie konnten nochmal neu anfangen, sagten ihnen die Menschen. Doch wie leicht wäre es wirklich, diesen Teil ihres Lebens zu vergessen? Millionen junge Menschen in der Welt werden zur Prostitution gezwungen; es passiert sogar in diesem Moment. Warum warten wir noch darauf, dies für immer zu beenden?


The Psychological Dependence on Sight in The Sandman DIANA LITTLE In his essay “The Uncanny,” Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud examines the prominent theme of eyes in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s short story The Sandman. Here, he argues that the protagonist’s fear of the Sandman, the sinister villain who steals the eyes of children, derives from an infantile castration complex. However, while Freud offers one particular interpretation, its selectivity nonetheless ignores certain facets and nuances of the text, ultimately hindering other possibilities. Focusing on Nathaniel’s relationships with external characters such as his father or the Sandman, Freud disregards integral aspects of Nathaniel’s own self, of which include his prioritization of sight over the other senses, along with his intrinsic fear of darkness and obscurity. In terms of Nathaniel’s character, these traits suggest that his fear of the Sandman, or Coppelius, ultimately derives from a fear of what he cannot see, rather than an infantile castration complex. Because Nathaniel equates Coppelius with the Sandman and the loss of his eyes, his fear of Coppelius thus represents his psychological dependence on sight and consequent fear of the obscure and unknown. Nathaniel’s overwhelming fear of losing his eyes is particularly demonstrated by his prioritization of sight and obsession with seeing the Sandman’s true physical form. As he asks his mother, “who is the wicked Sandman who always chases us away from Papa? What does he look like?”1 Nathaniel’s childhood is seemingly governed by his need to perceive the Sandman’s physical appearance. Confined to merely hearing Coppelius’ footsteps around his house, Nathaniel develops an intense obsession with visualizing Coppelius and per-


sonifying his own terror. Initially prevented from viewing Coppelius, Nathaniel is forced to generate his own image of the Sandman, and, while he “like[s] nothing better than hearing or reading horrific stories… pride of place always belonged to the Sandman, and [he] kept drawing him, in the strangest and most loathsome forms.”2 Here, Nathaniel clearly illustrates his preoccupation with sight, as, while he can hear about the Sandman, he can never truly know the Sandman until he sees him. His dependence on sight and the accompanying mystery of the Sandman’s appearance ultimately compels Nathaniel to discover the Sandman’s real appearance, as, “impelled by an irresistible urge, [he] decide[s] to hide in [his] fathers room and await the Sandman’s arrival.”3 The description of his need as “irresistible” attests to the extent of his psychological dependence on sight, a dependence that ultimately translates into a fear of being without sight, or having his sight taken away. In addition to his preoccupation with sight and the visual world, Nathaniel also demonstrates a general fear of darkness and uncertainty. Due to the dark’s ability to obscure and cloud, it ultimately serves the same function as the Sandman and, thus, induces the same fear in Nathaniel. As Nathaniel writes, “Dark forebodings of a hideous, menacing fate are looming over me like the shadows of black clouds, impervious to any kindly ray of sunlight.”4 Here, the imagery evoked by terms such as “dark,” “looming,” and “shadows of black clouds” directly correlates the menacing forebodings with the theme of shadows, suggesting that what he truly fears is the darkness itself, rather than the ominous premonitions.

Because Nathaniel fears the shadows as he fears the Sandman, his terror is, thus, not exclusive to the Sandman. Instead, it appears to encompass anything that will inhibit his ability to see and consequently perceive. Nathaniel’s use of dark and shadowy imagery continues as he states, “a somber destiny has indeed veiled my life in a murky cloud.”5 Describing his life as “veiled” and shrouded in darkness, Nathaniel further implies that it is the obscurity of his future that he fears, rather than the future itself. It follows that, through his use of dark language and imagery, Nathaniel illustrates his fundamental fear of ambiguity and the unknown. However, similar to Freud’s theory, this interpretation potentially ignores specific textual evidence in favour of others, ultimately inhibiting other readings. For example, while Nathaniel demonstrates an inherent dependence on sight and fear of the obscure, if he only feared what he cannot see, then finally seeing Coppelius should have eradicated Nathaniel’s fear of the Sandman. Nevertheless, being able to attribute a face to his fear only heightened Nathaniel’s terror and ultimately resulted in enduring trauma. Therefore, Nathaniel’s eternal fear of Coppelius and his nonsensical notions about the Sandman alternatively demonstrate how sight, despite being considered the most reliable sense, is highly infallible; if sight were completely unbiased, then Nathaniel would have realized that Coppelius is just a man, albeit an unpleasant one. Nonetheless, Nathaniel’s fear of the Sandman is so entrenched that it impairs his judgment and sense. That said, one could argue that it was simply the deeply embedded fears of losing his sight and the unknown that engendered his eternal fear of the Sandman, proving that, while sight is imperfect, it is still considered the most reliable sense. As he is consumed by a fundamental fear of anything that inhibits sight or perception, Nathaniel demonstrates an entrenched psychological dependence on sight to guide his perceptions and understanding. Nevertheless, Nathaniel’s fears of the obscure and unknown ultimately attest to a collective human condition, exemplifying a common psychological

dependency and need to classify and explain our perceptions. Despite being largely fixed in fantasy, Nathaniel’s fears and impressions can be applied universally, ultimately allowing the reader to connect to the story through shared human experience.

NOTES 1. E.T.A Hoffmann, “The Sandman,” in The Golden Pot and Other Tales, trans. Ritchie Robertson (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992), 86. 2. Ibid., 87. 3. Ibid., 88. 4. Ibid., 85. 5. Ibid., 91.


La Poésie de Trakl SOFIA BACH Georg Trakl est un de ces poètes de la fin-de-siècle, dont la vie courte et turbulente n’a laissé qu’une trace anodine dans le canon historique. Né en 1903 à Salzbourg, AutricheHongrie d’un père hongrois et d’une mère tchèque, il met fin à sa vie 27 ans plus tard, marqué par la guerre et les abus narcotiques.1 Malgré cela, la richesse de son œuvre poétique continue, jusqu’à ce jour, à fasciner la gente littéraire et fait l’objet de beaucoup de débats. Le poète, n’ayant laissé presque aucun écrit sur son œuvre et sa méthodologie, délègue aux lecteurs la lourde tâche de déchiffrer les symboles de ses poèmes colorés.2 Ses correspondances, du moins celles qui ont survécu au ravage familial,3 ne nous éclairent pas plus sur ses intentions.4 Ses textes remplis de stimuli sensoriels créés par les images, les sons et les sensations qui les peuplent, semblent représenter un monde imaginaire qui est accessible uniquement au poète. La fonction des couleurs dans sa poésie a d’ailleurs donné place à beaucoup de questionnements et d’interprétations dans le monde littéraire. Une explication fréquente soutient que chaque couleur a une symbolique et une valeur fixe et immuable dans chacun de ses poèmes, mais aussi dans la totalité de son œuvre.5 Dans cet article, nous réfuterons cette position en soutenant qu’au contraire, les couleurs dans l’œuvre poétique de Trakl n’ont pas de symbolique fixe ou d’ « Eigenwert », c’est-à-dire une valeur propre.6 Elles ont plutôt une signification ambivalente et chaque couleur est interchangeable. Pour ce faire, nous nous préoccuperons de trois couleurs principales de l’œuvre de Trakl, notamment le bleu, le noir ainsi que le blanc. Tout d’abord, nous démontrerons que le bleu, contrairement à la croyance générale, n’est pas fixé à un symbolisme divin. Ensuite, nous démantèlerons la


valeur ambivalente du noir dans la poétique de Trakl. Puis, nous nous attaquerons au blanc, couleur qu’on a tendance à associer à la pureté, au bon, à l’immaculé, mais qui, dans ce corpus, joue un rôle fort différent. Finalement, après avoir prouvé que les couleurs ne sont point des métaphores fixes chez Trakl, nous proposerons une autre lecture de son expressionnisme. Nous argumenterons que les couleurs constituent plutôt des séries, que l’on peut concevoir comme des fondations, sur lesquelles les poèmes sont bâtis. Autrement formulé, ces codes donneraient lieu à une construction des poèmes par la couleur. Tout d’abord, pour démontrer que les couleurs chez Georg Trakl n’ont pas de symbolique fixe il nous faut réfuter les théories des commentateurs tels que Palmier, Schneider, Heidegger et Simon. En effet, ces derniers ont tous affirmé que les couleurs, pour ce poète autrichien, possèdent un sens unique et éternel.7 Une lecture extensive de la poésie trakléenne nous mène à croire autrement. Un premier exemple serait son utilisation du bleu, couleur centrale de son univers poétique.8 Heidegger a écrit par rapport à l’azur, dans le texte qu’il a consacré à Trakl, que cette couleur n’est pas pour donner le sens du sacré, mais qu’elle est elle-même, de par sa profondeur et son resplendissement nocturne, le sacré.9 Palmier, de son côté, compare le bleu trakléen au bleu du romantique de Novalis. Il affirme aussi que « le bleu, pour Trakl, est la couleur du Divin, de l’Azur, du Sacré. Il évoque tout ce qui est pur, innocent, radieux ».10 Curieusement, l’on note plusieurs instances dans les poèmes de Trakl où le bleu a une connotation contraire : plutôt que d’aspirer à la divinité, il nous rapproche au démoniaque. Dans son poème « Vorhölle » le bleu est à l’antipode du sacré :

« Bläue, die Todesklage der Mutter ».11 Puis, que dire du bleu de Offenbarung und Untergang : « Aus verwesender Bläue trat die bleiche Gestallt der Schwester […] O bitterer Tod ». 12 Au sujet du bleu dans cet exemple, Klaus Simon affirme que son attribut symbolique est cet évanouissement dans la nuit et la mort et non une existence supérieure et sacrée.13 Mais quelques pages plus loin, considérant l’image de la barque, il abandonne et écrit : « […] aber die Symbolwertigkeit ist auch hier – wie bei so vielen Bildern Trakls – ambivalent. […] Auch die Farbsymbolik kann hier keine sicheren Hinweise geben ».14 Schneider, qui en nommant l’œuvre qu’il consacre à la question de la couleur Die Farbmetaphorik semble, aux premiers abords, dépeindre une critique de cette tendance académique à attribuer une symbolique fixe aux couleurs. Mais, ne trouvant pas meilleure solution, il conclut en traitant lui aussi les couleurs comme un symbole poétique chez Trakl.15 Comme de fait, il écrit concernant le bleu : « Als Symbol repräsentiert die Farbe bei Trakl einen unaussprechlichen oder in Kürze nicht auszusagenden subjektiven Gefühlswert ».16 Les commentaires de Schneider sur le bleu soulèvent les mêmes contradictions que ceux des autres auteurs : si le bleu avait réellement une valeur symbolique très marquée, il garderait cette valeur tout au long de l’œuvre poétique.17 Par contre, ce n’en est pas le cas, car le bleu dans « Die blaue Lachen des Quells » n’a pas du tout la même valeur symbolique que le bleu dans « Die blaue Klage des Abends ». En effet, le bleu détient ici des valeurs différentes par le fait même que le rire et la plainte ne sont aucunement interchangeables dans le système métaphorique de Trakl. En somme, le bleu que Heidegger et Palmier caractérisent comme sacré, semble perdre tout son caractère « sacré » dans des vers tels que dans le poeme « Vorhölle » et ceux dans Offenbarung und Untergang. De plus, d’un poème à l’autre, le bleu change de valeur en se joignant à des images foncièrement opposées. Passons à présent au noir, couleur que Palmier affirme être la seconde en importance dans l’œuvre de Trakl.18 Palmier écrit d’ailleurs que le noir est, chez ce poète maudit, la couleur qui symbolise la mort et la décomposition,

qu’elle représente tout ce qui est funeste.19 Schneider suit à peu près la même ligne de pensée : « Sie [Schwarz] tritt beinah ausnahmlos in negativer Bedeutung auf ».20 En revanche, il est bien difficile de soutenir que le noir est une couleur négative ou qu’il est la couleur du déclin dans un poème tel que « Unterwegs » où les termes « schwarze Linnen » reprend la fonction même du pourpre du « purpurnen Linnen » dans Offenbarung und Untergang.21 Alors comment peut-on affirmer que le noir détient une symbolique fixe lorsqu’il peut aussi facilement être remplacé par une autre couleur (dans ce cas-ci le pourpre) ? De plus, Palmier se contredit lorsqu’il écrit du noir : « Lorsqu’elle évoque la mort, l’au-delà, l’eau est aussi noire »,22 suivi d’une page plus loin à propos du blanc : « Le blanc semble signifier pour Trakl l’au-delà […] ».23 Comment deux couleurs opposées peuvent-elles symboliser le même concept ? Ceci est la preuve même que Trakl n’assignait pas de symbolique fixe aux couleurs de ses poèmes. Donc, comme nous l’avons démontré, le noir est facilement interchangeable par d’autres couleurs et par conséquent il n’a pas de signification symbolique fixe. En ce qui concerne le blanc dans la poésie de Trakl, Walther Killy y mènera une analyse plus pertinente, car, initialement, il y distingue plusieurs valeurs. D’un côté, il y voit une valeur d’innocence et de pureté (voir : « Geistliches Lied »)24 et d’un autre, une valeur plutôt cadavérique (voir : « Junge Magd »)25 qui rejoindrait la symbolique qu’a donné Palmier au blanc en l’associant à l’au-delà.26 Pour sa valeur cadavérique, Killy finit par qualifier le blanc de « Farbe von Verfall und Untergang ».27 Dans certains cas, une telle lecture est pertinente, par contre, le fait que d’autres couleurs peuvent être vues sous de mêmes aspects, démontre le caractère fluide de la symbolique de cette couleur. Suite à ces conclusions, Killy vient à affirmer que les couleurs chez Trakl ne constituent pas un code plus ou moins secret.28 Donc, par conséquent, on ne peut pas assigner de valeur ou de symbolique fixe au blanc, car il semble présenter selon Killy des valeurs qui ne se complémentent pas, en plus d’être lui aussi interchangeable. Somme toute, nous aurions pu élargir ce-


tte analyse symbolique et cette réfutation de la « valeur propre » à plusieurs autres couleurs, telles que le pourpre ou le doré, mais déjà avec le bleu, le noir et le blanc, trois couleurs majeures de la poésie de Trakl, l’absence d’une symbolique fixe est évidente. Comme nous avons vu, le bleu, qui est associé au Divin par certains auteurs, n’est pas constant dans sa valeur et sa symbolique. Parfois, il est même associé à des thèmes et des images abjects et profanes. Le noir, qui à son tour est généralement compris comme la couleur de la mort et de la décomposition pour certains critiques et la couleur de la perdition pour d’autres, ne maintient pas une valeur constante par le fait même qu’il est interchangeable avec d’autres couleurs. Cela fut exemplifié avec le poème « Unterwegs » ainsi que la contradiction de Palmier. Finalement, le blanc, qui pour Palmier représente l’au-delà, ce qui ne finit jamais de mourir,29 représente pour Killy deux valeurs très différentes : la pureté et la perdition. Le fait même que Killy ne peut associer une unique valeur à cette couleur démontre qu’elle n’en a pas de fixe. Alors, quelle serait donc la fonction des couleurs dans l’œuvre poétique de Trakl si ce n’est pas une fonction symbolique ? Rovini

avance une hypothèse intéressante, affirmant que l’usage que Trakl fait de la couleur n’a rien de gratuit et qu’au contraire il l’utiliserait à des fins très précises, recourant pour cela à des schémas dont il est l’inventeur.30 Plus précisément, il utiliserait des schémas de couleurs comme fondation pour ses poèmes, un code de base pour une élaboration créative. Cela est particulièrement manifeste dans les situations où le cours du poème épouse un mouvement et où la couleur tient le rôle de parcours.31 Une telle théorie, en plus de contester la tendance des théoriciens littéraires à fixer des symboliques mystiques aux couleurs, démontrerait que le monde poétique de Trakl est beaucoup plus complexe et réfléchi qu’il n’en a l’air.

NOTES 1. Jean-Michel Palmier, Situation de Georg Trakl (Paris: Éditions Pierre Belfond, 1972), 34. 2. Ibid., 105. 3. La famille de Georg Trakl a détruit presque toute la correspondance entre Georg et sa sœur Margarethe, avec qui il entretenait une relation incestueuse.

Andrea Garland


4. Ibid., 105. 5. Ibid., 47. 6. Karl Ludwig Schneider, Der bildhafte Ausdruck in den Dichtungen Georgs Heyms, Georg Trakls und Ernst Stadlers (Heidelberg: Carl Winter – Universitätsverlag, 1954), 127. 7. Palmier, Situation, 210. 8. Ibid., 226. 9. Martin Heidegger, Unterwegs zur Sprache (Pfullingen: Neske, 1959), 60. 10. Palmier, Situation, 232. 11. Georg Trakl, Poems. trans. Lucia Getsi (Athena, Ohio: Mundus Artium Press, 1973), 132. 12. Georg Trakl, Offenbarung und Untergang: die Prosadichtungen (Salzburg: Müller, 1947), 5. 13. Klaus Simon, Traum und Orpheus: eine Studie zu Georg Trakls Dichtungen (Salzburg: Müller, 1955), 116-17. 14. Ibid., 118. 15. Schneider, bildhafter Ausdruck,127-35. 16. Ibid.,129. 17. Robert Rovini, La fonction poétique de l’image dans l’œuvre de Georg Trakl (Nice: Publications de la faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines, 1971), 104.

18. Palmier, Situation, 234. 19. Ibid., 234. 20. Schneider, bildhafter Ausdruck, 135. 21. Palmier, Situation, 115. 22. Ibid., 234 ; c’est nous qui soulignons. 23. Ibid., 235 ; c’est nous qui soulignons. 24. Georg Trakl, Die Dichtungen (Frankfurter am Main: Insel-Verlag, 1994), 18. « Die Wolken stehn im klaren Blau, die Weißen, zarten ». 25.Walther Killy, Wandlung des lyrischen Bildes (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1956), 102. « Und sie liegt ganz weiß im Dunkel. / Unterm Dach verhaucht ein Girren. / Wie ein Aas in Busch und Dunkel / Fliegen ihren Mund umschwirren. » 26. Killy, Wandlung, 101-02. 27. Ibid., 28. 28. Ibid.,102. 29. Palmier, Situation, 235. 30. Rovini, Fonction poétique, 126. 31. Ibid., 125-134.


Societies in Conflict: The Triumph of Archaic over Courtly Culture GABRIELLE SAMRA The unknown poet of the thirteenth-century Middle High German epic The Nibelungenlied depicts a society struggling to reconcile its archaic Germanic roots with the ideals arising from an emergent courtly order. Set sometime between the sixth to eighth centuries, the story takes place on the cusp of history and myth: it is within this world that the fledgling courtly culture attempts to provide a civilizing influence on the Germanic clan-based tribesmen. The archaic purview is personified through the figure of Siegfried, a warrior-hero from Xanten who clashes with the courtly culture of Burgundy.1 Through his actions and subsequent murder, Siegfried is the catalyst for a return to Burgundy’s archaic heritage, with the primeval warrior ethos ultimately prevailing. This paper will endeavor to prove that The Nibelungenlied describes a society unprepared for the dawning of the courtly age. Archaic and courtly forms of Germanic culture differ substantially; archaic Germanic society valued the “old Germanic level of warrior ethics where valor and strength [were] utterly paramount, fierce loyalty in combat [was] the prime virtue,” and “an early death [was] virtually guaranteed.”2 These pre-Christian Germanic values were idealized throughout early Germanic history, presenting ancient Germanic society as a clan-based pagan structure centered on a warrior ethos.3 However, the emerging courtly culture of the Middle High German period stands in stark contrast to this archaic worldview: courtly society endeavoured to “civiliz[e] … the rough-cut, brutal warrior” through the “ideals of restraint, humanity, elegance, and refined love” promulgated in part by the rise of Christianity in the


fifth century.4 Although strength and martial prowess were also prized in the courtly model, its focus rested on “valor, excellence and ‘loyal commitment’ (triuwe) [to] chivalry.”5 In this sense, The Nibelungenlied has often been construed as “both a Christian epic and an epic of chivalry.”6 Certain scholars go so far as to consider The Nibelungenlied “a better source book of courtly life than the best of the socalled courtly epics.”7 In the end, however, it is the archaic Germanic culture of paganism and martial proficiency which triumphs over the courtly model. The tension between archaic and courtly culture is primarily exhibited through the actions of the warrior-hero Siegfried of Xanten. A “gallant knight…dressed in elegant clothes” and “well-disposed” towards noble ladies, Siegfried possesses “all the needful qualities” of the ideal courtly knight.8 However, Siegfried’s status as a “chivalric paragon”9 is shortlived; his wild and reckless nature soon reveals how closely he adheres to the archaic notion of the Germanic warrior ethos. The “brave”10 and powerful Siegfried lives in a kill-or-bekilled world where he must constantly prove his worth. Alongside his rash mentality stands his near invulnerability: Siegfried is practically invincible, having “bathed” in the blood of a dragon.11,12 Through this act, Siegfried epitomizes “a fusion between the human world and the world of myth,”13 or a mix of pagan mythology and archaic warrior culture. If it is this very strength and “wildness” which allows Siegfried to accomplish feats impossible for the ordinary man, it is also that which separates him from the traditional standard of the courtly combatant.14 Siegfried

is capable of harnessing an archaic energy in battle which makes him “maddened with rage;”15 he exhibits a “berserkr” mental state which “lend[s] [him] supernatural strength” in combat.16 He thus fights with a savage intensity tempered only by his desire for victory. Although Siegfried manifests all the outward “trappings”17 of a courtly knight, his essence is that of an archaic Germanic warrior. This status is solidified the moment he enters the city of Worms. The narrator describes the capital of Burgundy as an idyllic courtly society presided over by lords “of high race, magnanimous, strong, and brave beyond measure.”18 Gunther, the Burgundian king, prefers to “stay at home … [and] remain [there] with the ladies”19 in lieu of fighting, believing that there is no slight that “cannot [be] settle[d] courteously.”20 The Burgundian court is therefore unprepared for Siegfried’s “violen[t] and impetuo[us]” challenge for the throne of Worms upon his arrival.21 A. T. Hatto goes so far as to compare Siegfried’s entrance into the Burgundian court as the “timeless confrontation of civilized men with barbarians,”22 a confrontation which proves fatal to both Siegfried and the courtly Burgundian society. Once Siegfried has challenged Gunther for the Burgundian crown, it is only the power of courtly love which dissuades him from his violent pursuits. Siegfried is “mollified by thoughts of lovely Kriemhild,”23 feelings which prompt him to curtail his reckless urges and to listen instead to the entreaties of the court. It is only through his devotion to Kriemhild that Siegfried is integrated into the Burgundian courtly culture: in accordance with the theory of the Minnesinger,24 “Siegfried is elevated by his love for Kriemhild, so that he becomes acceptable to courtly society.”25 In the first portion of the epic, Kriemhild presents a courtly antithesis to Siegfried’s bloodthirstiness: a “maiden of high lineage,” she is a “noble person … beyond all measure lovely.”26 As a court lady, Kriemhild must be won through courtly means and not “by force”; an idea which stands in stark contrast to Siegfried’s initial presumption of “tak[ing] [her] by [his] own valor.”27 Once the two are married, their union becomes “an idyll of courtly love” in which Kriemhild’s love

“tames” this archaic figure and permits his integration into the court.28 Although this prevalence of courtly love over wild impulse implies the apparent triumph of courtly culture over the archaic Germanic ethos, Siegfried’s archaic heritage eventually proves too powerful to be truly overcome. The damage Siegfried’s presence does to the Burgundian courtly order is irrevocable. His incredible strength and warrior charisma mark him as “a threat to the Burgundian court”29 as he consistently outdoes Gunther both in battle as well as in bed.30 This preeminence prompts Gunther’s kinsmen to reevaluate their courtly outlook as they deal with this potential danger to the throne. Without the introduction of this archaically Germanic figure, the Burgundians might otherwise have “lived together serenely in high estate at Worms…and long might they have continued to do so but for their becoming involved with” Siegfried, an individual “of very different caliber.”31 Unable to prevent his king from being “outshone,”32 Hagen, one of Gunther’s most loyal vassals, is the first to revert to his archaic heritage in an attempt to defeat Siegfried. His fierce loyalty to Burgundy, “so violent and absolute as to be Germanic rather than chivalric in flavor,”33 is demonstrated by his decision to murder Siegfried through deceitful means at odds with his upbringing as a courtly knight. Although Hagen claims that “Kriemhild’s man [must] … pay”34 for his insult to Brunhild’s honor and chastity in accordance with the courtly code of chivalry, in reality he endeavors to “put an end to [Siegfried’s] supremacy.”35 Hagen involves Gunther and much of the Burgundian court in his plot, prompting their transition from a courtly to an archaic mode of conduct. In the end, Siegfried’s downfall is ironically wrought not by his own violent impulses, but by his acceptance of the civilizing influence of courtly Christian culture. Now a trusted member of the Burgundian court, Siegfried places his faith in Gunther and his men when they invite him on his final hunt. Siegfried remains unaware of their “foul” plotting until he is literally stabbed in the back: by allowing Gunther to drink from the stream first,36 Siegfried’s “good manners” unintentionally give


Vivienne Litzke Hagen his cowardly opportunity to strike.37 As F.G. Ryder notes in his introduction to his translation of The Nibelungenlied, “it is Sigfrid’s very courtesy, that prized chivalric value, which leaves him open to attack.”38 Adding insult to injury, the very device used to betray Siegfried is Christian in nature: the mark sewn on his clothing to designate his single point of vulnerability is “a cross,” a betrayal made more sickening with the knowledge that it was Siegfried’s unsuspecting wife who had placed it there.39 By “br[eaking] [their] faith with Siegfried most grievously”40 and rewarding his loyalty with death, Hagen and Gunther sound the death knell to the coexistence of courtly and archaic culture. Through Siegfried’s murder, the Burgundians revert to their archaic roots, resulting in “the total destruction of courtly society.”41 As the second portion of the epic unfolds, the Burgundian court solidifies its alliance with the archaic Germanic warrior ethos. With Siegfried’s death, Hagen is dubbed the new “Protector of the Nibelungs,” aligning the Burgundians with the warrior culture initially as-


cribed only to Siegfried.42 This affinity with the archaic warrior ethos is epitomized through Hagen’s confrontation with the “water-fairies,” pagan entities “endowed with second sight” who permit Hagen a glimpse into the Burgundians’ doomed future.43 Once the nixies reveal that it is only the “King’s chaplain” who will survive the journey to King Etzel’s lands, Hagen “vehemently” tries to drown him.44 Although the chaplain survives, having been “succoured by the hand of the Lord,”45 Hagen receives no such godly favour: in his attempt to murder the chaplain, Hagen irrevocably turns his back on courtly Christian culture. It is Hagen himself who chooses to begin the actual confrontation between the Burgundians and the Huns in King Etzel’s hall, sealing his fate.46 Even though it is in retaliation for the massacre of the Burgundian squires,47 Hagen single-handedly “unleash[es] a vast and savage slaughter”48 by slaying Ortlieb, a defenseless child whose only crime was to have been born to Kriemhild. Instead of aiming his sword at a fellow warrior, Hagen chooses to murder an innocent — in strict opposition to the chivalric

code — so as to wound Kriemhild and initiate the ensuing carnage. Ortlieb’s death, the “one deed Etzel can not let go unavenged,”49 transforms the conflict from a personal dispute between Kriemhild and the Burgundians into “a total war between nations.”50 With the onset of fighting between Gunther and King Etzel’s forces, Siegfried’s earlier berserkr tendencies are mirrored in the Burgundian soldiers. In a perverse mockery of the Christian Eucharist, Hagen orders his thirsty men to “drink the blood”51 of their fallen enemies. Despite the barbaric nature of this act, the Burgundians enjoy this “excellent beverage” which “greatly strengthen[s]” their bodies and allows them to fight with renewed and vicious vigour.52 This is not the action of a knight, but rather that of a blood crazed warrior. This berserker spirit is even present within Gunther, who finally “give[s] ample proof that he, too, [is] a doughty fighting man” when, “frenzied with anger,” he resolves to end the conflict through force rather than words.53 It is not only the men of Burgundy who revert to their archaic ancestry following Siegfried’s death: Kriemhild, too, is changed by her husband’s murder and her own unwitting role in it. Consumed by hatred and sorrow, Kriemhild transforms into a callous figure obsessed with dreams of “aveng[ing] [her] darling to the full.”54 She is no longer the archetype of courtly womanhood: under false pretenses, she lures her clansmen — whom she has ostensibly forgiven for all past misdeeds and misconduct — to Hungary in order to exact her revenge.55 Kriemhild flouts the conventional relationship between guest and host, and in so doing, “the proper forms of courtly life [are] distorted [in] service of base intent.”56 Kriemhild is so consumed by her quest for vengeance that it is not enough for Hagen alone to pay for his crimes. In her fury, she exclaims “You [the Burgundians] must all pay for it together,”57 forcing the conflict to evolve on a scale disproportionate to that of the initial transgression. However, after she decapitates Hagen,58 Kriemhild is punished for going too far in her pursuit of vengeance. As a woman, “whatever her wrongs, [Kriemhild] … was forbidden to pursue revenge to the destruction of good warriors.”59 She, too, is

thus condemned to death in accordance with archaic Germanic tradition. The cataclysmic conclusion of the poem emphasizes that the society it portrays can not embrace and thrive under the mantle of courtly culture. In true epic Germanic fashion, the narrative ends in turmoil: fire and destruction reign while the Burgundians have “all … [died] for their august king.”60 Rather than the Christian eschatological concept of the end of days, the poem adheres to pagan elements in its final moments: the scene in King Etzel’s hall evokes the Ragnarok of Norse mythology, in which humanity is doomed to be swallowed by “a world of fire.”61 Such a tragic ending is “traditional for the ancient hero, but not [so] for the knight,” which further connects the poem to the archaic Germanic warrior ethos instead of the courtly world of knighthood.62 “The Nibelungs’/ Last Stand” leaves the narrative entrenched in deep “grief and mourning”63 for the failure of courtly culture to withstand a world dominated by an archaic Germanic ethos of power and blood. In The Nibelungenlied, an emerging courtly society is unable to fully relinquish its archaic heritage. Although the courtly Burgundians initially appear to civilize Siegfried’s archaic warrior nature, coexistence between the new and the old proves impossible as the Burgundians revert to their Germanic warrior roots. Archaism ultimately triumphs over courtly culture, indicative of a world tethered to its baser instincts which can neither accept nor transition to a new era.

NOTES 1. The geography of The Nibelungenlied is somewhat vague, however the Burgundy concerned in the text is located west of Danubian Austria: the Burgundians are thus Germanic themselves, not Frankish. The capital of Burgundy, Worms, is located on the Rhine. 2. Frank G. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs: A Verse Translation from the Middle High German Nibelungenlied, (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1962), 16.


3. Russell, 124. 4. Judith Ryan, “German Literature,” Encyclopedia Britannica Online, last modified December 7, 2012, 5. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 2. 6. John G. Robertson, A History of German Literature (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1902), 70. 7. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 8. 8. The Nibelungenlied, trans A.T. Hatto. (New York: Penguin, 1969), 20. 9. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 17. 10. The Nibelungenlied, 27. 11. Ibid., 121. 12. Siegfried’s adventure with the dragon occurs in his youth, long before meeting Kriemhild. His slaying of the beast constitutes one of the many marvelous feats which identify him as an exceptional warrior. 13. John L. Flood, “Siegfried’s DragonFight in German Literary Tradition,” in A Companion to the Nibelungenlied. ed. Winder McConnell (Columbia: Camden House, 1998), 47. 14. A. T. Hatto, “An Introduction to a Second Reading” in The Nibelungenlied (New York: Penguin, 1969), 328. 15. The Nibelungenlied, 130. 16. Martin Puhvel, Beowulf and Celtic Tradition (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 1979), 48. 17. Hatto, “An Introduction to a Second Reading,” 328. 18. The Nibelungenlied, 17. 19. Ibid., 36. 20. Ibid., 30. 21. Hatto, “An Introduction to a Second Reading,” 328. 22. Ibid., 328. 23. The Nibelungenlied, 30. 24. A theory according to which “love uplifts and purifies” men. Hatto, “An Introduction to a Second Reading,” 31. 25. The Nibelungenlied, 31.


26. Ibid., 17. 27. Ibid., 24. 28. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 3; Hatto, “An Introduction to a Second Reading,” 328. 29. Ursula R. Mahlendorf and Frank J. Tobin, “Hagen: A Reappraisal,” Monatshefte 63, no. 2 (1971): 131. 30. The Nibelungenlied 66-68; 91-93. 31. Hatto, “An Introduction to a Second Reading,” 328. 32. Ibid., 321. 33. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 27. 34. The Nibelungenlied, 116. 35. Ibid., 132. 36. Ibid., 131. 37. Ibid., 130. 38. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 6. 39. Kriemhild sews this mark onto Siegfried’s clothing because it marks the only spot the dragon blood (from his youth) hadn’t touched him, meaning it’s his single point of vulnerability. Kriemhild wanted Hagen to look after Siegfried and protect him – but in order to protect him, it’d be necessary for Hagen to know where Siegfried’s point of vulnerability was. So Kriemhild sews the mark trying to protect her husband, when in reality she reveals to Hagen the exact spot he’d have to hit to murder Siegfried. The Nibelungenlied, 121. 40. The Nibelungenlied, 129, 131. 41. Flood, 47. 42. The Nibelungenlied, 192. 43. Ibid., 193. 44. Ibid., 194; 198. 45. Ibid., 198. 46. Hagen hears a fight happening outside of the feast hall - having already been suspicious of Kriemhild’s motives - he immediately decapitates her and King Etzel’s son, starting the battle inside the hall. 47. The Nibelungenlied, 239-240. 48. Ibid., 243. 49. Holger Homann, “The Hagen Figure in the Nibelungenlied: Know Him By His Lies,” Modern Language Notes 97, no. 3 (1982): 767.

50. Mahlendorf and Tobin, 137. 51. The Nibelungenlied, 261. 52. Ibid., 262. 53. Ibid., 244, 289. 54. Ibid., 178. 55. Ibid., 146. 56. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 13. 57. The Nibelungenlied, 260. 58. Ibid., 290.

59. Hatto, “An Introduction to a Second Reading,” 319. 60. The Nibelungenlied, 264. 61. Ignatius Donnelly, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1882), 144. 62. Ryder, introduction to The Song of the Nibelungs, 32. 63. The Nibelungenlied, 291.

Sprachführer, Deutsches Auswandererhaus, Bremerhaven

Daniel Galef


Das Schöne und das Hässliche bei Gottfried Benn JÓN KRISTÍNARSON Die 1912 erschienene und erste Lyriksammlung, Morgue und andere Gedichte, von Gottfried Benn schildert die harte Faktizität des menschlichen Lebens aus der Sicht eines Mediziners. Sich auf die Gedichte „Kleine Aster” und „Saal der kreißenden Frauen” konzentrierend, untersucht dieser Aufsatz die Verbindung von Gegensätzen, nämlich Leben und Tod, Schönem und Hässlichem, Schmerz und Glück, um zu erklären, inwiefern das Leben von dieser Verbindung geprägt ist, das heißt, wie die Gegensätze aufeinander einwirken. Übrigens wird auch die medizinische Optik des lyrischen Ich analysiert, die durch den verschränkten Einblick in das Leben vermittelt wird. Diese zwei großen Themen benutzt Benn als Mittel der Dekonstruktion der Ästhetik des Schönen zugunsten eines Verfremdungseffektes, Begriff der ähnlich zu Brechts später veröffentlichten Definition ist. Das Publikum wird daran gehindert ein Einfühlungsvermögen für die Figuren zu empfinden, denn Zustimmung zu oder Ablehnung von dem Inhalt ist abhängig von einer bewussten und nicht von einer unbewussten Betrachtung.1 Im Gedicht „Kleine Aster” vermittelt sich die Verbindung der Gegensätze durch die Gegenüberstellung von einer Leiche und einer Blume: „Ein ersoffener Bierfahrer wurde auf den Tisch gestemmt. / Irgendeiner hatte ihm eine dunkelhellila Aster / zwischen die Zähne geklemmt.”2 Dadurch kommen die Gegensätze von Leben und Tod sowie von Schönem und Hässlichem in Konflikt, welche hier gewiss in Verbindung gebracht werden um zu betonen, dass sie tief und unzertrennlich verbunden sind. Hiermit wird gemeint, dass die Beziehung zwischen den Antipoden so beschaffen


ist, dass sie sich ergänzen, weil eines ohne den anderen nicht existieren kann. Ebenso interessant ist das Adjektiv „dunkelhellila”, dessen Kontrast diese Verbindung wiederholt, was nahelegt, dass die Verschränkung nicht nur zwischen den verschiedenen Bestandteilen, sondern auch innerhalb der Einzelheiten vorkommt. Dies hat zur Folge, dass die Wirklichkeit des Lebens, sogar deren Hässlichkeit, eine wesentliche Rolle spielt und in all ihren Erscheinungsformen dargestellt wird. Die Darstellung der Beziehungen zwischen den Antipoden im Gedicht „Saal der kreißenden Frauen” wird intensiviert. Natürlich geht das Gebären mit Schmerzen einher, aber dessen glückliche Seite wird ausgelassen und stattdessen wird der Schmerz betont: „Es wird nirgends so viel geschrien. / Es wird nirgends Schmerzen und Leid / so ganz und gar nicht wie hier beachtet, / weil hier eben immer was schreit.”3 Besonders bemerkenswert ist, wie das Kind zur Welt kommt: „Schließlich kommt es: bläulich und klein. / Urin und Stuhlgang salben es ein.”4 In Gottfried Benn: ein Schriftsteller zwischen Erneuerung und Reaktion schreibt Huge Ridley, dass, „[w]enn unser Eingang in die Welt schon so ekelhaft und widerlich ist, so muß das ganze Leben weiter nichts als ein schlimmes Jammertal bedeuten.”5 Überdies hebt Ridley hervor, dass das Kind „vom Tod direkt bedroht [wird]: das neugeborene Kind tritt gleich mit der Geburt in den Kreislauf des Leidens und des Todes ein.”6 Dies wiederholt die Idee einer Unvermeidlichkeit des Hässlichen beim Schönen und bringt die Verbindung von Schmerz und Glück hervor, denn das Kind bedeutet Glück für die Mutter, obwohl es sie auch in das Elend

stürzt. Außerdem wird dabei wiederholt, dass das Leben aus entgegengesetzten Teilen zusammengesetzt ist. Zu dieser harten Realitätsdarstellung in beiden Gedichten meint Ridley: Der „zerstörerische Gestus der ersten Sammlung äußerte sich nicht nur im Zerlegen von Leichen, sondern auch in der provozierenden Attacke gegen die von herkömmlicher Lyrik vertretene, idealistische Weltanschauung.”7 Anschauung wovon sich Benn löst, indem er die Ästhetik des Schönen zerstört und die „konventionelle[n] Vorstellungen vom schönen Tod [und] ewigen Leben” dekonstruiert.8 Auf diese Weise dekonstruiert Benn die Ästhetik des Schönen, da er sich nur auf das Hässliche konzentriert. Dazu fügt Eugène Véron in seinem Aufsatz „Was ist Ästhetik?“ hinzu: „Das Porträt eines hässlichen Menschen bleibt hässlich, wenn die Darstellung originalgetreu ist.”9 Da die Darstellung des Lebens in den Gedichten originalgetreu, oder vielmehr lebensgetreu ist, heißt dies, dass Benn aus der Tradition des Schönen ausbricht, weil die Hauptsache ist, die Faktizität des Lebens zu schildern, auch wenn das Hässliche Teil davon ist, und sie nicht zu verschönern. Dadurch löst er sich von der idealisierten Weltanschauung der herkömmlichen Lyrik, indem es als Priorität gesetzt wird, dass die Darstellung vom Leben wirklichkeitsnah ist, statt idealisiert. Die medizinische Optik des lyrischen Ich führt zum Verfremdungseffekt, indem das Mitgefühl durch den sachlichen Berichtsstil gehindert wird. Folglich reduzieren sich die Menschen auf ihre Körper: In „Kleine Aster” reduziert sich die Leiche auf anatomische Details wie „Brust”, „Haut”, „Zunge”10; parallel dazu reduziert sich das Kind in „Saal der kreißenden Frauen” auf ein „fleischerne[s] Stück”.11 Dazu bemerkt Theo Meyer in Kunstproblematik und Wortkombinatorik bei Gottfried Benn, dass, „durch die Anwendung des Jargon-Stils […] ein tragisches Pathos in der Darstellung der menschlichen Endsituation vollends unmöglich gemacht [wird].”12 Der sachliche Stil der Gedichte bildet ein Hindernis für das Mitgefühl, das heißt, er schafft einen Verfremdungseffekt, da der Stil ein bewusstes Mitgefühl erfordert, weil man den Inhalt ve-

rarbeiten muss um mitzuempfinden. Dazu kommt Meyers Behauptung: „Der entscheidende Aspekt der Provokation aber besteht darin, daß nicht nur der Mensch als bloßes Sektionsobjekt in rein medizinischen Befund erscheint, sondern die Ausklammerung des Gefühlhaften, Seelischen und Geistigen sich zugleich in der destruktiven Tätigkeit des ,lyrischen’ Subjekts bezeugt.”13 Die Reduktion des Menschen auf Körper und Fleisch wird von einer Seelenlosigkeit gefolgt, was ein nüchterneres Licht auf das Lebensende wirft. Es sah schon bei der Geburt trostlos aus, aber durch diese Seelenlosigkeit wird die Hoffnung auf das Leben nach dem Tod zerstört. Des Weiteren meint Meyer dazu: „Erst indem das lyrische Ich auf Emotionalisierung, Symbolgestaltung und Mythisierung der menschlichen Endsituation verzichtet und die Thematisierung des Verfalls unter der sachlichen Medizineroptik erfolgt, gewinnen Morgue-Gedichte [...] ihre spezielle Bedeutung als Ausdruck eines Wirklichkeitsbewußtseins, dem sowohl die objektiv vorgegebene Welt als auch das personhafte Ich fremd, brüchig und sinnlos geworden sind.”14 Ohne Emotionalisierung muss der Leser die Gedichte zunächst kritisch aufnehmen, um ein Einfühlungsvermögen zu entwickeln. In den Morgue-Gedichten stellt Benn dar, wie das Leben im Ganzen aus entgegengesetzten Teilen besteht. Interessant ist, wie Benn die Weltanschauung der herkömmlichen Lyrik desillusioniert, um ein Verständnis des Lebens in all seiner Pracht und Hässlichkeit zu rekonstruieren. Der nüchterne Berichtsstil eines Mediziners schafft die Entpersönlichung der Gedichte, was durch den Verfremdungseffekt eine kritische Reflexion fördert. Die Ästhetik des Schönen verwandelt sich in eine des Hässlichen und dies fördert die Darstellung des erlebten Elends, um einen Kommentar über die Faktizität des Lebens der Durchschnittsmenschen zu machen. Ferner schreibt Peter Uwe Hohendahl dazu: „Was aus diesen Versen spricht, ist eine ekelhafte Lust am Häßlichen, Unflätigen, an schamlosen Offenheiten. Ein schreiender Naturalismus will hier nur einem Zweck dienen: épater le bourgois.”15 Da der Durchschnittsmensch als Thema der Poesie dienen darf, heißt es, den


Durchschnittsmenschen zur Ebene einer edlen ästhetischen Darstellung zu erheben, im Sinne davon, dass er als Subjekt verstanden werden darf, was entweder die gehobene Stellung der Ästhetik herunterbringt, oder vielmehr den Diskurs der Gesellschaft auf denselben Niveau bringt, indem keiner von der Möglichkeit, ein ästhetisches Subjekt zu sein, ausgegrenzt wird. Darauf folgend ist die Hässlichkeit am allerwichtigsten, da sie ein wesentlicher Bestandteil des Lebens ist, der niemanden unberührt lässt.

NOTES 1. vgl. Bertolt Brecht, Marc Silberman, Steve Giles, and Tom Kuhn, Brecht on Theatre, London: Bloomsbury, 2014, Print, S.91. 2. Gottfried Benn, Sämtliche Gedichte (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta Verlag, 1998), 11, Z.1-3. 3. Benn, Gedichte, 17, Z.5-8. 4. Ibid., 15-16.


5. Hugh Ridley, Gottfried Benn: Ein Schriftsteller Zwischen Erneuerung Und Reaktion (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1990), 41. 6. Ibid., Z. 15-16 7. Ibid., S. 32. 8. Ibid., S 33 9. Eugène Véron, „Was ist Ästhetik? [1878]”, Trivium, 6 | 2010, URL : http://trivium. 10. Benn, Gedichte., 11, Z.4, 5, 6. 11. Ibid., 17, Z.21. 12.Theo Meyer, Kunstproblematik Und Wortkombinatorik Bei Gottfried Benn (Köln: Böhlau, 1971), 193-94. 13. Ibid., S. 194. 14. Ibid., S. 190-91. 15. Peter U Hohendahl, Benn, Wirkung Wider Willen: Dokumente Zur Wirkungsgeschichte Benns (Frankfurt am Main: Athenäum Verlag, 1971), 98.

Einverständnis, Human Sacrifice and the Discourse of Brecht’s Der Jasager / Der Neinsager ANDREA GARLAND At the centre of Bertolt Brecht’s Der Jasager lies the event of the individual sacrifice, offering itself as a form of political statement to be brought into question. As political representations, Der Jasager and the two subsequent editions challenge the individual consciousness for a collective cause which is beyond the singular human.1 Throughout this analysis of Brecht’s two versions of He Said Yes and also his version of He Said No, the idea of human sacrifice in response to “necessity” will be discussed, while analyzing the pieces through the discourse of his Lehrstücke. In order to give a brief background of the three plays and their unique conception, the following two paragraphs will serve the purpose of putting into context the defining qualities that will be analyzed further along in this essay. Der Jasager was inspired by Arthur Waley’s translation of the Japanese Nō play Taniko, which is about a boy who accompanies a group of yamabushi (mountain ascetics) on a pilgrimage in order to pray for his sick mother.2 However, the boy himself becomes sick on the journey and, according to an ancient custom, is thrown into the valley. The pilgrims pray that he may return to life, and the gods answer the prayer, returning the boy alive to the group.3 Waley’s version omits the ending (except for the mention of it in an endnote); his translation ends when the boy is killed. Brecht’s He Said Yes follows Waley’s text closely, with no continuation after the boy is sacrificed, and removing the lingering traces of elevated verse that were still present in Waley’s piece. One main example of a modification Brecht made is, “Du warst nie länger aus meinen Gedanken und aus meinen Augen, als ein

Tautropfen braucht, um zu verdunsten” [You were never out of my thoughts and out of my sight longer than it takes a dewdrop to evaporate], which is changed in Brecht’s version to: Du warst nie langer Aus meinem Gedachtnis ... Als ich brauchte, um Dein Essen zu bereiten Deine Kleider zu richten und Das Geld zu beschaffen. [You were never longer Out of my thoughts ... Than the time I needed To prepare your food, To mend your clothes, and To get money.].4 This change of the metaphor to emphasize the labour by the mother for her son lessens the pathos of the original figurative language. In this way Brecht may have been attempting to remove anything that was not a rational or logical observation, perhaps creating more sincerity in the process. As well, with the removal of all religious significance, the “agreement” of sacrifice becomes based on reason instead of the previous superstitious ritual. The first version of Brecht’s Der Jasager begins with the introduction of the concept of Einverständnis [agreement] by the “Full Chorus”5 [emphasis mine]. The Teacher then visits the Boy, one of his students, and finds out his mother is ill. The Teacher plans to go on an expedition over the Mountains for research, but the Boy wants to go as well to get medicine for his mother from the doctors there. After talking with the Mother, the Teacher agrees to allow the Boy to come, but soon after the trip begins, the Boy becomes sick, and must con-


sent to the Custom, “that if anyone’s taken sick on this journey, into the valley’s depths he must be hurled.”6 Der Jasager directly approaches to the idea of Einverständnis, accepting death and sacrifice without “reflection upon the possible falsity of such an assent,” which is one of the large differences between Der Jasager I and its other two reincarnations.7 The first performance of He Said Yes received much criticism; many students made comments such as “Das ist ja Mord” [That’s murder] and “Das ist doch grausam” [But that’s horrible].8 The inescapability of the “decision” being put on the individual to choose sacrifice as the mechanism for dealing with the circumstance created much controversy.9 Der Jasager, despite Brecht’s best efforts, still elicited audience empathy. One of the main influences that was suspected in leading to this outburst was Weill’s music. Almost exclusively in minor keys, the music created a tragic and sombre atmosphere.10 Brecht later revised the play after many schoolchildren provided their own input as to why they felt the sacrifice was unnecessary. One student suggested that the boy be left behind, and “then kill himself out of fear.”11 This recommendation ends up being partly changed in Der Jasager II; the Boy does not kill himself, but instead requests they kill him rather than leaving him to die.12 Another student’s recommendation that was documented by Brecht was that “the travelers should try to carry the boy before deciding to leave him,” another addition made for Der Jasager II.13 A third suggested that the boy hesitate for a moment before agreeing to his fate, which is also added in Brecht’s second piece;14 the Boy says, “‘I will think it over.’ He pauses for thought.”15 The student recommended this hesitation for the reason that, “such a pause […] would make him seem more human and less a ‘martyr’,” mitigating the potential brutality of the killing and “represent further rationalizations of the deed.”16 Brecht also eliminates the Great Custom that demands the boy’s death.17 In the process of Brecht modifying the plot, he also removes Weill’s score from the two reincarnations of Der Jasager. Der Neinsager, the third and final version Brecht wrote of The Valley-Hurling, only re-


places the final scene of his original He Said Yes. When the Teacher asks if the Boy consents to the Custom, this time the boy pauses again for thought, then says, “No, I do not consent.”18 The Boy here performs a negation of the Custom defining their culture, saving his own life and forcing out of the old Custom “a new cultural and political order into the community.”19 As Pan says in his article: “In defying the custom, the boy overturns the cultural premise upon which it is based to establish ‘the Custom of thinking things out anew in every new situation’.”20 This overturning occurs immediately, as the Boy says, “My answer was wrong, but your question was more so. Whoever says A does not have to say B. He can recognize that A was wrong.”21 This convinces the Students who agree with his logic, and decide to return him to the village, with the warning from the Teacher that they will be the object of general ridicule and disgrace.22 This “warning” from the Teacher appears more clearly as a form of intimidation when the Teacher is viewed as the mouthpiece for the ruling ideology. Even as he gives the Boy and the Three Students the impression that they have various freedoms to choose, he subtly guides the decision-making process, as seen with the example previously mentioned. Although he does not affirm or deny any of his pupils’ decisions, his attempts to absolve himself of guilt in all three versions of the play only serve to further implicate himself, as well as the School, in the deceptive education of the pupils vis-à-vis the ideology of the ruling class.23 The juxtaposition of the three plays facilitates a dialogue within about the nature of human sacrifice through which theatre and politics merge. There is controversy around what is trying to be conveyed by these three pieces, and yet through Brecht’s explanation of Lehrstücke, it seems quite clear that “[Es] ist zur Selbstverständigung der Autoren and derjenigen, die sich dabei tätig beteiligen, gemacht und nicht dazu, irgendwelchen Leuten ein Erlebnis zu sein” [(It) is created for the self-understanding of the author and of those who actively participate, and not to be an experience for just anyone.].24 Brecht sees the dramatist making an analysis of society, and not portraits

Erin Liu of individuals.25 The Lehrstücktheorie rejects traditional Aristotelian dramatic goals such as catharsis and the identification with characters, and instead provokes both the performers and audience into seeing other options for the Boy and thereby empowering the audience and participants.26 The Boy and his situation are not supposed to represent perfect examples of society, because such artificial situations do not inspire change. According to Brecht, “It is too great a simplification if we make the actions fit the character and the character fit the actions; the inconsistencies which are to be found in the actions and characters of real people cannot be shown like this.”27 This may be one of the reasons for which the Custom in He Said Yes seems to brush off centuries of humane tradition “on the flimsiest of pretexts.”28 When the Chorus at the beginning of He Said Yes recites, “Nothing is more important to learn than agreement,”29 the specific importance of assent is not its meaning for the individual but for the surrounding collective.30 In the first version of Der Jasager, the Custom states that those who become ill must be hurled into the valley. They must also be asked if they consent to such an action and reply

in the affirmative. In keeping with both the physical and ideological means of the Custom, when the Boy becomes ill, he is given both a question and an answer.31 There is an appearance of choice in what is taking place, yet in truth, the characters are just reciting lines that their society has prescribed. The boy does say “I knew quite well that if I made this journey / I might forfeit my life to make it,” 32 but the Boy did not know of the Custom before already being sick on the Mountain. Here it is much more likely that he is confessing his lack of experience in climbing, and the dangers that may have arisen by climbing the Mountains. The Three Students are the blind followers of the community’s ideology. They are older and stronger than the Boy and take great interest in his sickness. They are the first to bring up the ancient Custom and attempt to enforce it. As well, they are ruthless to the boy, saying: So now let us ask him: does he demand That we turn back just for his sake? But we say, suppose he does Even so we shan’t turn back But shall hurl him into the valley.33 Overall, this impression of the Three Students is quite terrifying. They not only take interest


in the boy’s illness, but words like “hurl” give the reader the impression that they willingly anticipate his death. Though they are peers of the Boy, their status as older students makes them already part of the undifferentiated community’s ideology, while the Boy remains an outsider. Their complete lack of individual identities shows the power of the ideology; they have no need to be separate entities, because what they follow allows them to remain amalgamated. As older students, they are fully indoctrinated into the community’s ideology and are unaccepting of competing ideologies, denying their place as part of the discourse.34 In the second version of Der Jasager, there is no Custom, and instead all members of the trip are travelling to find medicine. The humanitarian motivation for the expedition gives a better explanation to sacrifice the Boy, who would be interrupting their progress, leading them away from the solution of the epidemic. The Teacher and the Students decide they must leave him behind, but the Students “remain standing.”35 After the Teacher prompts them to leave and Students remain immobile, the Boy speaks up and asks them to throw him into the valley so he will not die alone. The Boy then demands that they must do it, a reversal of the previous mandated responses for sacrifice in Der Jasager I, and the Students assent to him. It is in this passage that the Teacher comments on the decision making process while criticizing the Students, saying “You resolved to go on and leave him there / Deciding his fate is easy / Enacting it is hard.”36 The Boy, in a form of reversal, has the ability in Der Jasager II to determine his own fate, insofar as he is able to choose when to die and the conditions of his death. The sacrifice, therefore, follows “an aesthetic logic whose patterns can be traced through a theory of self-sacrifice that reveals how, in moments when individuals reach the limits of their autonomy, they might at the same time affirm their autonomy through acts that lend a metaphysical meaning to their death.”37 This opposition of the Boy’s Einverständnis in the three separate plays is what is the most indicative of his character, in that he overturns the Custom in Der Neinsager, by refusing and giving logical reasons for his choice,


and for the reversal of the conditions by which he dies, from Der Jasager I to Der Jasager II; he does not comply with tradition but instead demands his death as a humane resolution to his illness that would be far more dreadful to bear alone. These three stories, as part of Brecht’s Lehrstücke, reveal controversial lessons. Sacrifice becomes more than an experience for the individual; it becomes engrained in the society. The Einverständnis is a collective experience, a public event, in which the relation of the group to the sacrifice is established and it becomes defined as either heroic or an unnecessary step.38 In both of the later versions, the Boy gains some degree of power over his fate and thereby takes power away from the ruling ideology, that which the Teacher follows. This form of societal upheaval (on a small scale), is somewhat revolutionary for the situation of the Boy. He is able to convince the Three Students that the Custom does not take into consideration every situation, and how vastly circumstances vary. This forever defines thestory, and the lives of the younger generation, who have adopted the new custom of case specific decision making. Brecht, as well, truly opened the sphere of influence to schoolchildren and enabled them to criticize what occurred on stage and to modify it if required.39 The similarities reflected in the real life of the schoolchildren acting as agitators in the discourse on Der Jasager, and the Boy in the play who questions the ancient Custom of the community are overt. Just as Brecht desired to move onward in theatre, “not merely on account of the exhaustion of technique but also because of changes in society and in men,” the young generation, as exemplified at the end of Der Neinsager as friendly and caring, agitates the old customs of critique and offers suggestions.40 Brecht’s incorporation of the young generation’s suggestions turn his plays into a platform for evolving discourse between the old and the new, and especially, between the established authorities and new voices. If we are to learn anything from the changing story of the Jasager/Neinsager, these new voices are the only way to create a permanent change to accepted and inhumane ideologies.

NOTES 1. David Pan, “Sacrifice as Political Representation in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke,” The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory 84, no. 3 (2009): 226. 2. Kevin Eubanks, “‘Mit entgegenwirkenden Strömungen’: The Discourse of Brecht’s Der Jasager,” Twentieth Century Literature 43, no. 3 (Autumn 1997): 361. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid., 362-363. 5. Bertolt Brecht, He Says Yes in Brecht Collected Plays: Three, trans. John Willett and Ralph Manheim (London: Methuen, 1997), 47. 6. In all three texts this quote remains the same; Ibid., 53. 7. Pan, “Sacrifice as Political Representation in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke,” 234. 8. Eubanks, “‘Mit entgegenwirkenden Strömungen,’”363. 9. Pan, “Sacrifice as Political Representation in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke,” 225. 10. Eubanks, “‘Mit entgegenwirkenden Strömungen,’” 363. 11. Ibid., 364. 12. Brecht, He Says Yes, 56. 13. Eubanks, “‘Mit entgegenwirkenden Strömungen,’” 364; Brecht, 55. 14. Eubanks, “‘Mit entgegenwirkenden Strömungen,’” 364. 15. Brecht, He Says Yes, 56. 16. Eubanks, “‘Mit entgegenwirkenden Strömungen,’” 364. 17. Ibid. 18. Brecht, He Says Yes in Brecht Collected Plays: Three, trans. John Willett and Ralph Manheim (London: Methuen, 1997), 58. 19. Pan, “Sacrifice as Political Representation in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke,” 235. 20. Pan, “Sacrifice as Political Representation in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke,” 235, while quoting Brecht, “einen neuen großen Brauch, den wir sofort einführen müssen, nämlich den Brauch, in jeder neuen Lage neu nach- zudenken.” Brecht, 59.

21. Brecht, He Says No, 59. 22. Ibid. 23. Erika Hughes, “Understanding Einverständnis: Ideology in Brecht’s Der Jasager and Der Neinsager,” Youth Theatre Journal 24 no. 2 (2010), 135. 24. Eubanks, “‘Mit entgegenwirkenden Strömungen,’” 365-366. 25. Eric Bentley, “The Private Life of the Master Race” in Critical Essays on Bertolt Brecht, ed. Siegfried Mews (Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1989), 108. 26. Hughes, “Understanding Einverständnis,” 127, 130. 27. Ibid., 130. 28. Ronald D. Gray, Bertolt Brecht (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1961), 50. 29. Brecht, He Says Yes, 47. 30. Pan, “Sacrifice as Political Representation in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke,” 233. 31. Hughes, “Understanding Einverständnis,” 135. 32. Brecht, He Says Yes, 54. 33. Ibid., 53. 34. Hughes, “Understanding Einverständnis,” 135. 35. Brecht, He Says Yes, 56. 36. Ibid. 37. Pan, “Sacrifice as Political Representation in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke,” 225. 38. Ibid., 234. 39. Hughes, “Understanding Einverständnis,” 126. 40. Bentley, “The Private Life of the Master Race,” 108.


Erin Liu


Ein Kurzer Kommentar zu Wolf Biermanns Ballade vom Preussischen Ikarus VIVIENNE LITZKE Mit einer schroffen und kraftvollen Melodie singt Wolf Biermann ein Lied über einen Engel, der über der Spree an der Weidendammerbrücke in Berlin steht. Die Flügel der Statue sind aus Eisenguss; ein großer Kontrast zur griechischen Mythologie.* Seine Arme tun ihm weh, weshalb er nicht hoch fliegen kann, abstürzt, „schlapp macht“, und hier bleiben muss. Danach, durch Biermanns Dichtkunst, wird der getrennte Zustand von Deutschland dargestellt. Das Land ist „umschlungen von dem Draht“ und „umbrandet von bleiernen Wellen“. Die DDR ist eigentlich ein Gefängnis für ihn. Er ist von Metall und der Mauer umgeben. Wir können die Ähnlichkeit zwischen dem Zustand Deutschlands und dem Engel sehen. Das schwere Metall des Engels soll ihn „beschützen“, so kann er sich selbst nicht zerstören. Dadurch kann er überhaupt nicht fliegen und es entfernt seine Freiheit. Das Metall des Stacheldrahtes hindert die Menschen daran die Stadt zu verlassen. In beiden Teilen der Stadt müssen sie bleiben. Ich finde es interresant, dass er sein Lied in drei Teile geteilt

hat. Im letzten Teil zerstört er die Spannung zwischen den ersten zwei Strophen, es gibt eine Pause. Die Tatsache das Biermann sich selbst mit dem preussischen Ikarus vergleicht, schlägt ein Beispiel für die Menschen vor. Obwohl seine Flügel aus Eisenguss gemacht sind, will er sich selbst opfern und zerstören, den „Fehler“ begehen zu hoch zu fliegen. Auf diese Weise wird er „Wind machen“ — ein Wind des Wandels. Durch die Benutzung des Engels als ein Symbol für den Zustand Deutschlands, will Biermann aus Ostberlin herraus, er strebt nach der Freiheit, und wünscht eine neue Einheit für Deutschland finden. *In der griechischen Mythologie ist er der Sohn von Daedalus, der Architekt der das Labyrinth der Insel Minos erschafft. Mit seinen Flügeln aus Wachs und Federn warnt ihn sein Vater dass er nicht zu hoch und schnell fliegen soll, sonst würden seine Flügel schmelzen oder zu schwer werden von der Feuchtigkeit des Meeres. Letztlich ignoriert Ikarus diese Warnung und stürzt ins Meer.


Totality and Absolutism Antinomies in the New Typography in Geist and Gespenst in the Weimar Republic: New Visions in Interwar German Design


When looking at the actual products of late nineteenth century German printing presses, the popular view that they epitomized a ‘fall from grace’ appears something of an overstatement. Robin Kinross dubs this conventional narrative “the nineteenth century complex.”1 On this particular account, the sudden development of powered printing machinery not only caused the proliferation of multiple small printers, but also intensified division of labour within industries of all sizes; the fractured and uneven work that resulted from these circumstances was subsequently written off as mere “activity of anonymous artisans.”2 Kinross contends that this observation of decline is ultimately “too simple.”3 Nevertheless, the mythmaking of this nineteenth-century narrative calcified into a theoretical monolith to which twentieth-century German designers would set themselves in opposition.4 By relegating earlier German typographical work to a taxidermic category of prehistory, designer-theorists effectively characterized history proper (i.e. the ‘contemporary’) as a sort of void — a contentless space to be filled with their particular concepts of ‘modernity’ alone.5 Like the Bauhaus architectural movement, the ‘new typography’ was both born out of and influenced by the rapid industrialization and volatile political climate of Weimar Germany.6 The movement’s functionalist principles — primarily clarity, economy, objectivity, and totality — effectively recast Germany as the nucleus toward which ideas and experiments of modern typography would gravitate. While


many forces were at play within and beyond this German centrality (in all shades of collaboration, conflict, and coincidence), at its core were two figures: the ‘insider,’ Jan Tschichold; and the ‘outsider,’ László Moholy-Nagy.

The Insider A consideration of the insider’s antecedent conditions reveals the degree to which a typographical consciousness penetrated his historical, local, and familial contexts. Tschichold was born in 1902 in the east German city of Leipzig. As the established home of Germany’s printing and publishing legacy, Leipzig came to be regarded as “the centre of reformed printing in Germany.”7 By this point, most larger book-binding industries across the Weimar Republic had mechanized their printing methods, which entailed acquiring the technology to both cast and compose type.8 Prior to these developments, the concept of ‘typography’ was virtually nonexistent; by virtue of these technological novelties, typography could acquire cultural and practical significance not only as an idea, but as a distinct practice.9 It was within this already industrialized printing environment — a locality rekindled with a curiosity for a previously unknown discipline of ‘typography’ — that Tschichold was brought up the son of a sign-writer and a lettering artist, subsequently developing an individual drive to become a lettering artist himself.10 Indeed, the trajectory of the insider’s early adulthood scarcely veered away from the gravitational force of his familiar typographi-

cal upbringing. Aside from a brief, one year stint training as an art teacher to appease his parents (who initially discouraged him from taking on a strictly artistic profession as they had), Tschichold’s dedication to script and typography remained steadfast. He went on to study calligraphy in Leipzig and Dresden, and by the early 1920s, was employed as a calligrapher, where he was responsible for composing small print ads by hand. While this early work of his was by no means archetypically ‘modern,’ it nonetheless revealed a predilection for “eclectic experimentation” with typographic style.11 Tschichold’s inquisitive attitude toward typography’s place in the modern world, paired with his knack for manipulating words both aesthetically and rhetorically, formed the basis upon which he would craft his 1928 text, The New Typography — the document which allegedly “codified the movement” to which its title refers.12

The Outsider Insofar as this insider’s route toward typography was direct in kind, the outsider’s movement toward typography was decidedly indirect by equal measure. Moholy-Nagy was born in 1895 in the village of Bácsborsód located in southern Hungary — a country characterized by its “anachronistic feudalism.”13 As a child, Moholy’s father left him and his mother after having gambled away their property; but rather than being objects of communal sympathy, Moholy and his mother were ostracized, because they were taken to be unwanted.14 But this “hostile atmosphere…gave him an insatiable hunger for acceptance,” and this desire for acceptance subsequently unleashed a particular audacity in Moholy.15 In a diary entry written when he was thirteen years old, Moholy declared, “My soul knows that a time will come when people’s scorn will hurt no more, when my head is high and my spirit free,” and a few years later, he expressed his aspiration “to be someone’s ideal.”16 This early pronouncement to be ‘someone’s ideal’ translated some years later into a newfound ambition to become a painter. When war broke out on the Russian front, Moholy used visual art to cope with the seemingly ir-

reconcilable “travesty of culture and civilization” engendered by brutal conflict. Through art, Moholy could effectively engage with his concrete, observable surroundings (i.e. images of emaciated faces, barren land, starving prostitutes); at the very same time, he could also make spiritual “contact with a visual world that was far removed from the death struggle of Eastern Europe” (i.e. concepts of line, form, light).17 Indeed, Moholy’s experience of war made his choice to become a painter a critical and self-reflexive one. At first face, choosing art over other occupations — those which allegedly attended to the existing “problems of sheer survival” — appeared to imply a renouncement of traditional pragmatism; all things considered, however, engaging with his artistic gift could mean providing others with “what is needed beyond food.”18 For Moholy, this supreme need was “biological happiness in its complete meaning” — i.e. ‘life’ not merely as survival, but as vitality.19 Yet despite the decidedly humanitarian dimension of Moholy’s self-ascribed purpose, the aspiring artist was alienated by various groups: his community considered his painterly profession wasteful of time and money; others in the ‘art world’ considered his Constructivist tendencies unfeeling; and members of the rising Communist government considered his advocacy for revolutionary nonrepresentational art dangerous.20 In response to this seemingly chronic marginalization, Moholy turned away from his past life entirely, moving instead toward his future as an artist in Berlin. To earn his way to Berlin, he worked as a letter and sign painter — his earliest contact with a concept of typography. After arriving, Moholy met Lucia (who would later become his first wife) and later, Kurt Schwitter. Lucia’s academic rigour and Schwitter’s preoccupation with typography imbued Moholy’s artistic gift with a sincere attention to words. Under their influence, Moholy’s relationship with typography would change: what began as an involuntary engagement born out of fiscal necessity (Moholy as a sign painter) transformed into a genuine interest in intelligible rhetoric and signification (Moholy as the typographer). In short, Moholy became passionate about the


function of semiotical meaning.21 In 1923, Moholy was invited by Walter Gropius to teach at the Bauhaus school at Weimar. In remaining faithful to the Bauhaus mission of broad education, Gropius felt Moholy’s Constructivism would help balance the Expressionist tendencies that were disproportionately represented at the Bauhaus during that time.22 Moholy himself designed the typography for the cover of the 1923 Bauhaus exhibition catalogue; the cover demonstrates the striking distinction between Moholy’s highly utilitarian aesthetic and the mystical expressionism of most other contributors (Fig. 1).23 His idiosyncratic “machine-age dynamism and directedness” made Moholy particularly unfavourable among students and colleagues who regarded his approach as “disgusting” — mere mimicry of a ‘Russian’ trend alien to Bauhaus fundamentals. Yet, it was this supposedly ‘disgusting’ work that likewise grounded Moholy as the central advocate of the new typography within the Bauhaus school — and by extension, as one of the most outspoken representatives for the movement across the Weimar Republic.24

Totality (or ‘Spirit’) Perhaps somewhat paradoxically, the insider status of Tschichold was considerably anomalous among the advocates of the new typography in Germany. In contrast to Tschichold, Moholy was neither a native German, nor was he involved in the printing industry from the

FIGURE 1 Moholy-Nagy’s highly utilitarian aesthetic is strikingly distinct from the mystical expressionism of most other contributors to the early Bauhaus books.


outset of his creative career. This outsider status, however, actually better represented the realities of most new typography proponents; to be sure, those technically working ‘outside of ’ the discipline of typography were nonetheless eager to shape its course. After all, the new vision was a totalizing force: typography “took its place as part of a concern with the whole of the humanly constructed world.”25 For Tschichold and Moholy, it was precisely this shared ambition to realize the ‘new vision’ of Weimar typography that, through sustained correspondence, eventually gave rise to their “close and lasting friendship.”26 Like many articulators of modernity, Tschichold and Moholy rejected the notion of art as a rigidly discrete category: though in theory, the new vision was a strictly “artistic phenomenon,” its aims were at the same time, “intent on…producing models for a new art, in which distinctions between art and life had been dissolved.”27 At the heart of the crisis of modern typography lay desperate attempts of the “previous generation” to maintain and manipulate a distinction between essence (technique/technology) and appearance (‘fine art’).28 Defenders of this distinction (e.g. F. H. Ehmcke) insisted that the “phenomenon” of artistic creation was spiritually isolated from ordinary activities of everyday life.29 They also characterized the conventions of the old typography as “essential” and condemned the new typography for recklessly abandoning such “civilized practice.”30 According to proponents of the new vision, however, the previous generation’s fixation on “purely personal standards” caused them to neglect that which actually (in)formed the basis for their work: namely concrete and social existence.31 As Moholy explains, the so-called ‘fine artists’ of the previous generation ultimately “forgot how to produce the essential.”32 Because typography was practised almost exclusively in the realm of book publication during the late nineteenth century, the primary culprit of such forgetting was the book-artist, whose individualist approach perpetuated the rigid bourgeois expectations of a book’s appearance.33 The book-artist aesthetic could be characterized by ornateness,

FIGURE 2 The book-artist aesthetic can be characterized by its ornateness, individualism, and visible intervention of the artist’s hand — as shown in The New Typography.

individualism, and the visible intervention of the artist’s hand (Fig. 2).34 For a new typographer like Tschichold, such old typographical work was considered at best to be a “zero point…between the old decorated typography and the designing (gestaltend) new typography.”35 Otherwise, it was a mere effect of the single-minded book artist’s personality, a term Tschichold judged to be rather a misnomer for what was in truth, “personal vanity.”36 In opposition to the egoism of the bookartist, Tschichold and Moholy each envisioned “a new kind of man” to characterize the ideal type of the new world.37 While for Tschichold, this ideal figure of industrial modernism was “the engineer,” for Moholy, it was “the technician.”38 Any apparent difference between the two terms is merely nominal in kind, since their respective descriptions amounted to roughly the same meaning. The engineertechnician lived in accordance with a particular attention to quality, simplicity, and functionalism; he likewise bore a peculiar impression of objective purity, accompanied with an unaffected “instinct for utilitarian efficiency.”39 To be sure, this figure of industrial modernity exhibited core values of the new vision. Where

the egoistic book-artist made that which ought to have been “reserved for the private life of the individual” (i.e. personality and emotion) central to his work, the engineer-technician possessed an attunement that only empowered his capacity for collective functionality rationality.40 The engineer-technician was thus “the pioneer of the new social stratification… pav[ing] the way for the future.”41 One rendition of the engineer-technician ideal was was the human printer, whose work would play a key role in establishing the sense of unity touted by the new vision. As Moholy declared: “The printer’s work is part of the foundation on which the new world will be built. Concentrated work of organisation is the spiritual result which brings all elements of human creativity into a synthesis.”42 In doing away with the book-artist’s “arbitrary isolation” of creative practice from technics, the printer of the new world could effectively attend to the demands of an advancing manufacturing culture. The printer’s approach would centre on the book-product “as a unity of type, image, title, binding, paper, and so forth.”43 This methodological holism would forge and sustain the totality of the constructed human world. It was precisely such harmony in process that characterized the new typography movement. Its success, however, was judged by its practical function. As a means of communication, typography was to be evaluated by its capacity to convey a message immediately, accurately, and completely. In his oft-cited typographical manifesto, Moholy crafts a remark which typified the spirit of the movement: “Therefore, first of all: absolute clarity in all typographical work.”44 Grammatically, the statement is not a full sentence; yet, it is presented as one, and its meaning remains wholly comprehensible. It defies convention while at the same time persisting in immediate intelligibility. In shrugging off the excesses of custom, paring things down strictly to those elements that are useful and necessary, the statement leaves the reader with plain and simple coherence. Moholy continues, this time with a sentence in accordance with classical grammar: “Communication ought not to labour under preconceived aesthetic notions.”45


FIGURE 3 The sanserif ’s past monikers of ‘gothic’ and ‘grotesque’ referred to the tendency for its typefaces to be anonymously designed; by virtue of this impersonal production process, the sanserif represented a certain neutrality.

Praxis as Principle Because the value of the new typography’s output was determined by total functionality and was thus, context-sensitive, proponents of the new vision generally tended to avoid prescribing rigid technical guidelines.46 That said, Tschichold never shied away from sharing his recommendations. After all, to reduce the new typographical movement to a synonym of ‘functionalism’ would, as he explains, “[overlook] the important spiritual aims the movement has set itself.”47 While sensitivity to function and utility was undoubtedly vital to new typography principles, Tschichold notes, “the real value of a work lies in its spiritual content.”48 To discuss ‘overall’ function says nothing about ‘total’ function; while ‘overall’ refers to a generalized effect, ‘total’ implies everything, and it was the latter that the new typography ultimately cared about. It is only when a sensitivity to function is paired with an acute attention to the minute material details that “what is merely functional [transforms] into a work of art” — in its modernist connotation, of course.49 While Tschichold outlined a number of specific typographical practices, he remained steadfast throughout his life to his predilection for sanserif typefaces. The first recorded sanserif actually dated back to 1816, but its


emerging popularization in the early twentieth century solidified its association with modernity.50 The sanserif ’s past monikers of ‘gothic’ and ‘grotesque’ referred to the tendency for its typefaces to be anonymously designed; by virtue of this impersonal production process, the sanserif represented a kind of neutrality (Fig. 3).51 In 1967, Tschichold wrote against the claim that the sanserif was a mere fad of the new generation; against run-of-the-mill ‘foundry fashion-products,’ Tschichold states, “[the sans serif ] is so simple and clear that it is by far the best all-purpose type for today and will remain so for a long time to come.”52 In a note in the second edition of The New Typography, Tschichold identified Adrian Frutiger’s Univers as “one of the best sanserifs…what I dreamed of in 1928” (Fig. 4).53 But while modernists on the whole championed general principles with ease, they tended to avoid expressing devotion to specific practices, as Tschichold had done exceptionally. As with any commitment to remaining current — modern — the threat of obsolescence imminently loomed. The counterpart to Tschichold’s specific recommendation of the sanserif was the general recommendation of aiming for the quality of objective clarity. In the world of printing, this quality took shape not just in various articulations of text and

ing and vision as one — as the ‘real’ — the typophoto could effectively draw forth the “unambiguousness of the real, the truth in the everyday situation.”59 In its total and immediate clarity, the typophoto could retrieve the habitually forgotten ‘essential.’

Absolutism (or, ‘Spectre’)

FIGURE 4 In a note in the second edition of The New Typography, Tschichold identified Univers as “one of the best sanserifs…what I dreamed of in 1928.”

typefaces, but more radically, in the harmonized coalescence of image and text. In practice, this process of harmonization entailed dissolving the existing distinction between the media of photography and lithography.54 Moholy named this utopian phenomenon the “typophoto.” He claimed that through the radical combination of type-transmission and photorepresentation, the image of the typophoto supposedly elevated the text “to a new dimensionality, recognized…as total.”55 Moholy declared it “the visually most exact rendering of communication” (Fig. 5).56 Linear typography, in contrast to the typophoto, functioned as “a mediating makeshift link between the content of the communication and the person receiving it.”57 Even the linear typography of the new vision necessarily operated, to some degree, upon a presumed distinction between content and regard. The typophoto, on the other hand, functioned by definition in direct service to both of these alleged counterparts, since it was “exclusively dictated by the inner law of expression and the optical effect.” In other words, the very notion of the typophoto was predicated on the unity of the ostensibly disparate elements of the reader and the read.58 In considering mean-

The inaugural act of the new typography articulated by Tschichold and Moholy was two-pronged: it called first for the total destruction of the particular ‘the,’ (artistic egoism), then for the complete (re)construction of the non-particular ‘a’ (universal optics).60 At the base of this total approach was the acceptance of a stringent division between past (prehistory) and contemporary (history): to proceed “without reference to the past” by way of “the most sweeping and all-embracing” shift to ‘modern’ practice required that Tschichold relegate the ‘old’ typography to a determinate timespan, between the years 1440 and 1914.61 The fact that the movement’s commitment to totality motivated such an isolating historical act placed its integrity under question. Though it was precisely the absolutism of its historical claims that gave the movement life, it would likewise be the dimension of the movement that would put it to rest. The ‘cleansing’ rhetoric of the new typography’s standardizing mission reveals the degree to which the spectre of absolutism plagued it. Tschichold explains, “The collective whole…determines the material existence of every individual.”62 In considering typography and its relation to language, this assertion appears somewhat self-evident: it is relatively simple to concede that language is socially defined, and thus, ‘standardized.’ But the new typography went one step further; Tschichold writes, “The individual’s identical fundamental needs are met by standardized products.”63 In other words, the individual’s needs were decidedly not individualized at all, but rather, homogenized vis-à-vis standardization. Moholy’s words also expressed this absolutist, visibly “proto-fascist” route: “The hygiene of the optical, the health of the visible is slowly filtering through.”64 A remark in 1928 made by a German artist, Johannes Molzahn, further encap-


sulated this frightening fetishism of the visual; he states, “The photograph will be one of the most effective weapons against intellectualization…Forget reading! See!”65 Here, the ‘new vision’ of the new typography acquired a different connotation, and the glorified concept of the ‘humanly constructed world’ suddenly became menacing. But these fantasies of total standardization and universal comprehension were unfounded. In their later years, both Tschichold and Moholy recognized the practical and ethical implications of such dogmatic views. Following the Nazi seizure of power, nearly all proponents of modernism were forced into immigration. Once settled in Switzerland, Tschichold began to recognize disturbing continuities between the new typography’s “intolerant attitude” and Nazism’s “military will to order and to claim sole domination.”66 Consequently, Tschichold publicly rescinded many of his earlier views on the new typography; for instance, he condemned his advocacy of “the uniformity of standardized paper sizes” as a “Nazi-minded (anti-humanistic) error.”67 Moholy would likewise go on to revise his position, critiquing his rejection of the emo-


tions. Indeed, while he spent the majority of his life regarding emotionalism as a barrier to the concrete reality of human functionalism, near the end of his life, he argued for modernism’s fundamental integration of the emotions; he states, “It is the artist’s duty today to penetrate yet unseen ranges of the biological functions, to search the new dimensions of the industrial society, and to translate the new findings into emotional orientation.”68 Mimicking the retrieval of humanism in fonts by late twentieth century typographers in opposition to sterile and mathematical hypermodernism (e.g. Adrian Frutiger), Tschichold and Moholy sought to reinstate humanism in their own work, resisting its standardizing force.

Making Sense of the New Typography How does one come to terms with the new typography? Was the movement a mere symptom of a ‘modernist condition’? If one remembers that the essential property of typography proper is its capacity to communicate, then the concerns of the new typography can by no means be confined to any arbitrary definition of the ‘modern’ descriptor. Extracted from the writing-act, typography was always intended

FIGURE 5 Moholy named this phenomenon the “typophoto,” where the combination of typographical transmission and photographic representation could become “the visually most exact rendering of communication.”

to serve as “an operation of the hand, transferring speech from one organ — the mouth — to a lower, blunter one.”69 But it is this formal role of function ostensibly awaiting content that disorients a modernist impulse for economy. Contentless function appears empty, a frivolous ornament of the book-artist; it is the inability to remain satisfied with the pure ‘formality’ of the word that motivates a search for some ‘essence,’ some sense of content with meaning. Tschichold and Moholy’s radical articulation of the typophoto seemed the logical consequence of dissatisfaction with the communicative capacity of the word. The assumption (illusion) that the picture could be more immediately comprehensible or ‘authentic’ than the word sprouted from an anxiety regarding the general practice of communication, the concern being something like if words may not fully say what I mean, surely the image will. But communication is what it is by virtue of its pure formality. The epistemic disconnect that characterizes communication between statement and meaning is in practice, unfalsifiable. Even when Tschichold and Moholy were confronted with the inadequacy of words, their ostensibly radical appeal to the image was in this sense, not radical enough: the expressive ambition behind the typophoto could ultimately not go beyond the comfortable familiarity of the word.70

APPENDIX [Figure 1] Cover design by Herbert Bayer; typography by Moholy-Nagy. “Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919-1923,” Cover of the Bauhaus Exhibition Catalogue, 1923. Photo courtesy of the Bauhaus Archive, Museum of Design, Berlin. [Figure 2] Artist not identified. 1889. International Graphic Design-Exchange of the German Printing Association. [Figure 3] L. Moholy-Nagy. Bauhaus book prospectus, 1924. From The New Typography, by Jan Tschichold. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California

Press, 1998. [Figure 4] Adrian Frutiger. Photo courtesy Wikipedia. [Figure 5] L. Moholy-Nagy. Excerpt from the manuscript sketch for “Dynamic of the Metropolis,” 1921-1922. From Painting, Photography, Film, by L. MoholyNagy, trans. Janet Seligman, (London: Lund Humphries, 1969), 126-127.

NOTES 1. Robin Kinross, Modern typography: An Essay in Critical History (London: Hyphen Press, 2004), 34. 2. Ibid., 37. 3. Ibid., 34. 4. Ibid., 82. 5. Ibid., 103 6. Ibid., 82. 7. Kinross, Modern typography, 87. 8. Ibid., 35. 9. Jan Tschichold, Leben und Werk des Typographen Jan Tschichold, (Dresden: Verlag der Kunst, 1977), 16, in the introduction to The New Typography, by Robin Kinross, xv. 10. Robin Kinross, introduction to The New Typography, by Jan Tschichold, trans. Ruari McLean (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), xv; Jan Tschichold, “Jan Tschichold 1924-1944: zwanzig Jahre typographischer Wandlungen und persönlicher Geschichte,” 1, in Active Literature: Jan Tschichold and New Typography, by Christopher Burke, (London: Hyphen Press, 2007), 17. 11. Robin Kinross, introduction, xvi. 12. “Exhibitions: The New Typography,” The Museum of Modern Art, accessed November 26, 2014, http://www.moma. org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1015. 13. Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Moholy-Nagy: Experiment in Totality, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950), 5. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid., 6. 16. László Moholy-Nagy, in Moholy-Nagy:


Experiment in Totality, by S. MoholyNagy, 6-7. 17. Ibid., 12, 8, 10. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid., emphasis added. 20. S. Moholy-Nagy, Experiment in Totality, 17, 13. 21. Ibid., 17, 21-22. 22. Walter Gropius, “Scope of the Bauhaus Training,” in Bauhaus, 1919-1928, ed. Herbert Bayer, Walter Gropius, and Ise Gropius (Boston: Branford Company, 1959), 125. 23. S. Moholy-Nagy, Experiment in Totality, 35. 24. Burke, Active Literature, 34-35; Paul Citroen, in Moholy-Nagy: Experiment in Totality, by S. Moholy-Nagy, 35. 25. Kinross, Modern typography, 104. 26. Burke, Active Literature, 34. 27. Ibid., 104-105. 28. Jan Tschichold, The New Typography, trans. Ruari McLean (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), 11. 29. László Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, trans. Janet Seligman, (London: Lund Humphries, 1969), 16. 30. Kinross, Modern Typography, 94. 31. L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, 17. 32. Ibid. 33. Throughout The New Typography, Tschichold caustically places the “bookartist” in quotations. 34.Tschichold, The New Typography, 23; Kinross, Modern Typography, 104. 35. Kinross, Modern Typography, 104. 36. Tschichold, The New Typography, 28. 37. Ibid.; L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, 38. 38. Ibid. Tschichold presented the label of “the engineer” in boldface. 39. Ibid.; Charles Kostelnick, “Typographical Design, Modernist Aesthetics, and Professional Communication,” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 4 (1990): 9. 40. Tschichold, The New Typography, 47. 41. L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography,


Film, 38. 42. L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, 38. 43. Tschichold, The New Typography, 11, 13; Jan Tschichold, “Something about Book Design (1932),” Design Issues 9 (Spring 1993): 77. 44. L. Moholy-Nagy, “Typography as means of communication,” in Bauhaus, 19191928, ed. Herbert Bayer, Walter Gropius, and Ise Gropius, 78; L. Moholy-Nagy, “The New Typography,” trans. S. Moholy-Nagy, in Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar, 1919-23, (Munich, 1923). In S. Moholy-Nagy’s earlier (and somewhat more awkward, but perhaps more ‘authentic’) translation, the remark reads, “Therefore priority: unequivocal clarity in all typographical compositions.” 45. Ibid. In S. Moholy-Nagy’s earlier translation, the statement reads, “Legibilitycommunication must never be impaired by an a priori esthetics.” 46. Kostelnick, “Typographical Design,” 20. 47. Jan Tschichold, Asymmetric Typography, trans. Ruari McLean, (New York: Reinhold Publication Corporation, 1967), 72. 48. Ibid. 49. Ibid. 50. Kinross, Modern typography, 38. 51. Ibid.; Kostelnick, “Typographical Design,” 18. 52. Tschichold, Asymmetric Typography, 28. 53. Jan Tschichold, “Revisions to Die Neue Typographie (1967)” in The New Typography, by Jan Tschichold, trans. Ruari McLean (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), xii. 54. Kinross, Modern typography, 35-36. 55. Ibid. 56. L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, 39. 57. Ibid. 58. L. Moholy-Nagy, “The New Typography.” 59. L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, 38. 60. Tschichold, The New Typography, 13. As Tschichold explains, “beauty” is no longer “an end in itself,” but rather, “as result… of rightness and fitness in construction.”

61. Tschichold, The New Typography, 11; L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, 39. 62. Tschichold, The New Typography, 11. 63. Ibid. 64. Rosalind Krauss, “Jump Over the Bauhaus,” October 15 (Winter, 1980): 104; L. Moholy-Nagy, Painting, Photography, Film, 38, emphasis added. 65. Johannes Molzahn, in “Jump Over the Bauhaus,” by Rosalind Krauss, October 15 (Winter, 1980): 104. 66. Jan Tschichold, “Glaube ind Wirklichkeit,” Schweizer Graphische Mitteilungen 6 (1946): 234; reprinted and translated in Modern typography, by Robin Kinross, (London: Hyphen Press, 2004), 128. 67. Burke, Active Literature, 304. Jan Tschichold, Jan Tschichold to Anthony Froshaug, Febraury 19, 1946, in Anthony Froshaug: documents of a life, by Robin Kinross, 53. 68. László Moholy-Nagy, in Moholy-Nagy: Experiment in Totality, by S. MoholyNagy, 236.

69. Rosalind Krauss, “When Words Fail,” October 22 (Autumn 1982): 95. 70. Rosalind Krauss, “Grids,” October 9 (Summer 1979): 54. Krauss’ description of the modern aesthetic phenomenon of the grid — the tool with which the sanserif font was created. Her description seems to aptly describe the phenomenon of typography as well: “The peculiar power of the grid, its extraordinarily long life in the specialized space of modern art, arises from its potential to preside over the shame: to mask and to reveal it at one and the same time. In the cultist space of modern art, the grid serves not only as emblem but also as myth. For like all myths, it deals with paradox or contradiction not by dissolving the paradox or resolving the contradiction, but by covering them over so that they seem (but only seem) to go away.”


Erin Liu


Contributors SOFIA BACH studies Asian Religions and German studies and is in her final semester. She is passionate about literature, languages, and just words in general, which is why she continues to pursue academia, studying translations from Sanskrit to German, English and French. This is also the excuse she gives herself to justify her move to Berlin, so that she can hang out with her buddies Walter Benjamin, Georg Simmel and Franz Bopp. From Boston, BRIANNE CHAPELLE is in her second year at McGill studying Art History and Communication Studies. Her research interests broadly include Modern art, Contemporary art, and the study of art institutions. Her goals in life are to work as a museum professional, to keep writing, and to always advocate for the arts.

JÓN KRISTÍNARSON is pursuing an Honours in German Studies and a major in French Language and Literature - Translation. His academic interests include the representation of women in literature, which, in some yet to be determined fashion, will serve as the topic for his thesis. DIANA LITTLE is a U1 arts student from Toronto, majoring in English Literature and minoring in European history. In addition to an interest in music and choral singing, her main interest of study is in British Romantic poetry. ERIN LIU is a U3 History and Philosophy student, intrigued by the field of design. She is especially curious about the term ‘design thinking’ and the place (space) design holds (creates) in academia.

ANDREA GARLAND is completing her final year in a French Language and Literature major; she has worked as an editor on Vielfalt for the past 3 years. Her academic interests include the history of the French language and the representation of Quebec French globally.

JOE MODZELEWSKI is a 20 year-old Canadian-born individual currently pursuing a major in Religious Studies at McGill University. His academic interests include wisdom traditions, language, and the exploration of a living past in the present.

Born in Paris and living in Montreal since 2007, MARIE-ANNE JAGODZINSKI is a U3 student in Art History and German Literature who intends to become a painter in either Austria or Germany. She candidly realized that intellectual readings and technical skills alone are not enough to make art, and is now rather focusing on inwardness and receptivity. Until she finally digests the little she actually learnt, her interests include Prehistoric and Ancient art, German Expressionism, Fin-de-Siècle Europe, Goethe’s Faust and Polish cinematography.

GABRIELLE SAMRA is a second year student majoring in Liberal Arts and minoring in East Asian Studies at McGill University. Interested in the study of literature from nearly every genre and culture throughout the world, she hopes to continue exploring the power of the written word over the course of her stay at McGill.