Redeeming Words: Language and the Promise of Happiness in the Stories of Döblin and Sebald (Suny Series, Intersections: Philosophy & Critical Theory)

By David Michael Kleinberg-Levin

Probing examine of ways literature can redeem the revelatory, redemptive powers of language.

In this probing examine Alfred Döblin’s 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz and the tales of W. G. Sebald, Redeeming Words deals a philosophical meditation at the energy of language in literature. David Kleinberg-Levin attracts at the serious conception of Benjamin and Adorno; the idealism and romanticism of Kant, Hegel, Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schelling; and the 19th- and twentieth-century considered Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida. He exhibits how Döblin and Sebald—writers with noticeably various types operating in several historic moments—have in universal a fight opposed to forces of negativity and an target to result in in reaction a undeniable redemption of language. Kleinberg-Levin considers the fast paced, staccato, and hard-cut sentences of Döblin and the ghostly, languorous, and depression prose fiction of Sebald to articulate how either writers use language in an try and get well and produce this utopian promise of happiness for all times in a time of mourning.

“Redeeming Words is a sublime, hugely realized, and incisive exploration of ways language—and therefore the best literature of our time—both registers the event of the lack of utopia and affirms desire through making the loss extra transparent. It takes as its topic the main profound reflections at the position of phrases in a time of abandonment and disenchantment. Kleinberg-Levin argues not just that phrases speak this feeling of loss yet represent it through failing to accomplish overall mastery and transparency and self-consciously thematizing the corruption and likewise affirmative energy of phrases. on the inner most point, this research analyzes phrases and what the very life of phrases can confer to participants and communities.” — Peter Fritzsche, writer of The Turbulent global of Franz Göll: a normal Berliner Writes the 20 th Century

Show description

Quick preview of Redeeming Words: Language and the Promise of Happiness in the Stories of Döblin and Sebald (Suny Series, Intersections: Philosophy & Critical Theory) PDF

Similar Aesthetics books

Philosophies of Art and Beauty: Selected Readings in Aesthetics from Plato to Heidegger

This anthology is striking not just for the choices themselves, between which the Schelling and the Heidegger essays have been translated in particular for this quantity, but in addition for the editors' normal creation and the introductory essays for every choice, which make this quantity a useful relief to the learn of the strong, recurrent rules relating artwork, attractiveness, serious procedure, and the character of illustration.

The Picture in Question: Mark Tansey and the Ends of Representation

A wealthy exploration of the chances of illustration after Modernism, Mark Taylor's new learn charts the good judgment and continuity of Mark Tansey's portray by way of contemplating the philosophical principles at the back of Tansey's artwork. Taylor examines how Tansey makes use of structuralist and poststructuralist notion in addition to disaster, chaos, and complexity thought to create work that please the attention whereas scary the brain.

Iranian Cinema and Philosophy: Shooting Truth (Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World)

In movie stories, Iranian movies are saved at a distance, as 'other,' various, and unique. In reponse, this booklet takes those motion pictures as philosophically correct and leading edge. each one bankruptcy of this book is dedicated to interpreting a unmarried movie, and every bankruptcy specializes in one thinker and one specific aesthetic query.

Afterness: Figures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)

Gerhard Richter's groundbreaking learn argues that the concept that of "afterness" is a key determine within the notion and aesthetics of modernity. It pursues questions resembling: What does it suggest for anything to "follow" anything else? Does that which follows mark a transparent holiday with what got here ahead of it, or does it in reality tacitly perpetuate its predecessor on account of its inevitable indebtedness to the phrases and prerequisites of that from which it claims to have departed?

Extra resources for Redeeming Words: Language and the Promise of Happiness in the Stories of Döblin and Sebald (Suny Series, Intersections: Philosophy & Critical Theory)

Show sample text content

26 The utopian finishing, he declared, invoking even within the context of his personal lifestyles the inimical powers of destiny, “was past hope—the cube have been loaded opposed to me. ” Benjamin had regularly argued, although, that each real murals unavoidably ruins itself for the sake of its fact. yet can this clarify and authenticate Döblin's failure? And if, as Adorno asserts in his unfinished research on Beethoven, “a murals is superb whilst it registers a failed try and reconcile goal antinomies,” one needs to at the least query even if Döblin's novel “registers” that failure—“registers” it, I suggest, in any perspicuously reflexive method as social critique. 27 W. G. Sebald was once much more serious of the unconventional than was once Benjamin. In Der Mythos der Zerstörung, he assails Döblin's “naturalism,” tantamount to glorifying powerlessness within the disagreement with mythic and ancient forces and justifying brutality and violence because the inevitable paintings of destiny: What in Döblin's works is rhetorically conjured up in apocalyptic photos and different photographs of the destruction of existence belongs to an analogous teleology because the longing of the fascists, who have been headed, regardless of their dream of the thousand-year Reich, for an early finish; this affinity exhibits up in formulations akin to “end goal,” “ultimate victory,” “conclusive target” and “final answer” [“Endziel,” “Endsieg,” “Schlußziel” und “Endlösung”]. 28 Sebald is disturbed through everything of Döblin's worldview: (i) apocalyptic photographs of the top, (ii) a fatalistic interpretation of naturalism and ordinary heritage, (iii) a belief of politics treacherously intertwined with mythology, (iv) the dramatic function he supplies to the determine of dying, and (v) help for our domination of nature, rather than our reconciliation with it. 29 Roland Dollinger, even though, defends Döblin opposed to a few of his critics, arguing that what might seem to be a morbid obsession with demise, cruelty, and violence is really his “Trauerarbeit,” the operating via of an immeasurable unhappiness over the inhumanity of human nature. 30 For a few cause, Sebald's examining of Döblin misses this disappointment. there's a few advantage in his argument. even if, Franz's intended salvation, or redemption, his liberate from a lifetime of destructiveness, violence, and dying continues to be, i feel, hugely questionable. Biberkopf, supposedly effective over loss of life, looks to have ceased dwelling a lifetime of rage, violence, and destruction. And, to make certain, “Franz weeps and weeps,” insisting on his guilt: “I'm to blame, i am not a person, i am only a beast, a monster [ein Untier]” [BA 442/367]. “Thus died, in that night hour, Franz Biberkopf, erstwhile delivery employee, burglar, pimp, and assassin” [Ibid. ]. however, the language claiming redemption sounds hole. The statement by way of the writer or the narrator is not really in any respect compelling: it continues to be a trifling statement, a declare by means of the writer that the narrative itself fails to illustrate with phrases of adequate power and gear. in addition, insofar as Biberkopf's proclaimed “rebirth” is to be learn as a metaphor for what Hannah Arendt calls “natality,” specifically, the skill of person voters and political groups to inaugurate new beginnings, it's not in any respect convincing.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.19 of 5 – based on 13 votes