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New Perspectives on Contemporary Austrian Literature and Culture

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Edited By Katya Krylova

This volume brings together contributions arising from papers originally presented at the Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture International Conference held at the University of Nottingham in April 2015. It examines trends in contemporary Austrian literature, film and culture, predominantly over the past thirty years. This period has been one of great transformation in Austrian society, with the Waldheim affair of 1986–1988 marking the beginning of a belated process of confronting the country’s National Socialist past. The sixteen chapters of the volume analyse literary texts, films, memorial projects and Austria’s musical heritage, considering works by cultural practitioners operating both within and outside of Austria. The collection offers a multi-perspectival view on how contemporary Austria sees itself and how it is, in turn, seen by others from various vantage points.

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11 Desires for a Third Space: A Critique of Elfriede Jelinek’s Winterreise by Reading Georg Simmel’s ‘Exkurs über den Fremden’ (Peter Höyng)

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PETER HÖYNG

11 Desires for a Third Space: A Critique of Elfriede Jelinek’s Winterreise by Reading Georg Simmel’s ‘Exkurs über den Fremden’

ABSTRACT

Elfriede Jelinek’s play Winterreise [Winter Journey] (2011) reflects her affinities for classical music and Franz Schubert in particular, because of its overt reference to Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise [The Winter Journey] (1827). The critique in and of Jelinek’s Winterreise is seen as paradigmatic of her post-dramatic texts since the play poses a larger question regarding scholarship on Jelinek’s work: her text inscribes the very critique that literary theory has offered, and therefore it seems to have co-opted our academic work. In tackling this impasse, the essay utilizes Georg Simmel’s ‘Exkurs über den Fremden’ [Excursus on the Stranger] (1908), which posits a figure of the Third without sublating opposing differences. By reading Simmel’s text one sees how Jelinek’s play seeks a space for the figure of a stranger (or third), much as the scholarly author claims a space as a Fremder in relation to Jelinek’s work.

I

Elfriede Jelinek’s affinities for music, and classical music in particular, are well known. Two of her recently published texts, Winterreise [Winter Journey] (2011) and rein Gold [Pure Gold] (2013), document her continued interest in and disruption of contemporary discourse on classical music. Ever since her play Clara S, musikalische Tragödie [Clara S, Musical Tragedy] (1981), which repositioned the pianist and composer Clara Schumann, and her...

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