CURRENT issue 86.2
Vom Diskurs in der Enge zum Diskurs in die Weite: Hugo Loetschers Konzept der “Pluralen Heimat” als Schlüsselbegriff in der neueren Literatur der deutschsprachigen Schweiz
by Jeroen Dewulf
Ziel dieses Aufsatzes ist eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der viel beachteten These Pia Reinachers in Je Suisse (2003), dass sich die jüngste Generation Deutschschweizer Autoren durch einen Mangel an Interesse für die eigene Nation von der älteren Generation unterscheidet. Gezeigt wird, dass diese These der Komplexität der neueren Literatur der deutschsprachigen Schweiz nicht gerecht wird. Mit Rücksicht auf den Band Diskurse in die Weite (2010), in dem Hugo Loetscher als Schlüsselfigur der Schweizer Nachkriegsliteratur positioniert wird, wird hier eine alternative These vorgeschlagen: die der “pluralen Heimat.” Ausgangspunkt dieser These ist, dass Loetschers Ansichten zu Identität und Heimat in der Tat richtunggebend für einen entscheidenden Wechsel im Umgang mit dem Thema Heimat in der deutschsprachigen Literatur der Schweiz waren.
Fairy Tales in the Modern(ist) World: Gerhart Hauptmann's Bahnwärter Thiel and Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach's Das Gemeindekind
Despite the dark impulses that drive many fairy tales, popular nineteenth-century collections were animated by modern optimism. In this article, I contend that two 1887 novellas, Gerhart Hauptmann's Bahnwärter Thiel and Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach's Das Gemeindekind, demonstrate what happened to this optimism and the fairy tale that embodied it at the inception of twentieth-century modernity. I show the way in which these authors use fairy tale frameworks to express a proto-Naturalist worldview and draw out the affinities that make this improbable combination fruitful, the foremost of which was a common concern with poverty and its consequences. Both novellas lack the fairy tale's miraculous resolution of these problems and the modern optimism it expresses. At the same time, each demonstrates the continuities underlying the shift from nineteenth-century modernity to twentieth-century modernism. While Hauptmann's story retains the dream of domestic sanctuary and belief in overwhelming supernatural powers that often characterize the fairy tale, Ebner-Eschenbach's preserves a remnant of humanist hope.
Dwelling in GDR Literature
In this article I treat the way the GDR authors Günter de Bruyn, Brigitte Reimann, and Christa Wolf reconsidered domesticity and urbanism in key works from the late 1960s. Their reflections on prescriptive Wohnkultur, life in tenement apartments, and the relationship between domesticity and life cycles were responses to new regimes of image circulation and represented alienation in shifting urban environments. In engaging with these processes, these writers linked innovation in literary form to the possibility for critical intervention in debates on the political value of new and inherited spaces of everyday life. Their sophisticated conceptual engagements with social change and reflections on the status of language yielded a literary modernism unique to the GDR, yet with intellectual parallels to critiques of modern architecture, commodity fetishism, and institutionality in the FRG, France, and the United States.
Consumption and Consummation: Domestic Tales of the Economic Miracle in Arno Schmidt's Das steinerne Herz
In this article I read Arno Schmidt's 1956 novel Das steinerne Herz: Historischer Roman aus dem Jahre 1954 nach Christi as a social commentary on the dynamics of gender relations during the time of the emerging West German economic miracle. I focus on Schmidt's presentation of the reinstatement of traditional bourgeois gender norms in Germany during the 1950's culture of female domesticity. To make my case, I concentrate upon the way Schmidt organizes the novel around genre conventions, a decision that reinforces the novel's specific, parodic realism. I argue that the novel's parody is designed to highlight how the reinstatement of male authority in the private sphere coincided with relationships based upon exchange values. The West German 1950s are thereby depicted as a time during which notions of gender and consumption were intrinsically connected in an environment where economic restoration outweighed most other social considerations.
The Obligations of Memory? Gender and Historical Responsibility in Tanja Dückers's Himmelskörper and Arno Geiger's Es geht uns gut
In this article, I analyze Tanja Dückers's Himmelskörper (2003) and Arno Geiger's Es geht uns gut (2005) in the context of questions concerning remembering history and feminist ethics, specifically the development of care ethics from the early 1980s into the present. The purpose of the analysis is to understand what, if anything, gender and reproduction have to do with remembering and the obligations that remembering generates. I argue that the way the authors of these novels explore the connections among gender, historical memory, and responsibility closely resembles certain aspects of the work of feminist scholars on care ethics, who, at the beginning of the discipline, sought to locate in maternal behavior an alternative ethical paradigm to the tradition of Western ethics. Reading the development of feminist ethics together with the way Dückers and Geiger lay out the relationships that each novel's protagonist has with others, I conclude that the obligation to remember arises primarily from the responsibilities to which human relationships give rise, rather than from the specific relationship between mother and child.