The Poetry of Gottfried Benn
Text and Selfhood
Year of Publication: 2007
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 428 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03910-577-9 pb. (Softcover)
Weight: 0.620 kg, 1.367 lbs
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This book is the first comprehensive study of Gottfried Benn's poetry to appear in English. It covers the entirety of Benn's verse, from his early Morgue cycle (1912) and Expressionist poems through to the «anthropological» poetry of his middle period to the «postmodern» Phase II work after the Second World War. Against the background of the poet's theoretical writings, this study, drawing upon the classic texts of Benn scholarship, analyzes in detail the major themes of his verse and its distinctive idiom. In particular, this work focuses on Gottfried Benn's extended process of rhetorical self-fashioning, his use of classical iconography, color motifs and chiffres, his often confusing historical semantics, the seemingly self-constituting «absolute» poem, and the colloquial idiom of his late verse. The book also engages with the multiplicity of voices in Benn's work and their varied textual forms, the hermeneutically variable positions of speech that they articulate and the often contradictory notion of selfhood to which they give rise.
Contents: Gottfried Benn: Text and Selfhood - Autopsy of the Subject: The Morgue Cycle - «Shadows and the Flood»: Gottfried Benn and Expressionism - Becoming: Rausch as Episteme - Nihil: In Darkness Living - Invocations: The Poetry of the Primal Visage - The Overcoming of Modernity: A Fateful Quest - «Now there is no more mercy; now comes the night»: The Poetry of Inner Emigration - The Will to Form: An Aesthetic Resolution - Retrospect: The Demarcated Self.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
The Author: Martin Travers (b.1952) was educated at the universities of East Anglia, Tübingen and Cambridge, and teaches in the School of Arts, Media and Culture, Griffith University, Brisbane. He has published widely in the areas of German and European literature, and is at present completing The Hour That Breaks, a biography of Gottfried Benn.
«...it is refreshing to find a study so seriously concerned with the close reading of poems on their own terms, and Travers's lucid and persuasive analyses will prove indispensable for readers attempting to make sense of Benn's often cryptic German [...]. This is a book one can profitably dip into.» (Helen Bridge, Modern Language Review)
Studies in Modern German Literature. Vol. 106
General Editor: Peter D. G. Brown, SUNY New Paltz