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Wolfgang Hildesheimer und England

Zur Topologie eines literarischen Transfers

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Edited By Rüdiger Görner and Isabel Wagner

In Leben und Werk Wolfgang Hildesheimers kommt England der Status eines Kulturtopos zu, der in bestimmten Lebensphasen prominent, in anderen verschleiert in Erscheinung trat. Der Einfluss englischsprachiger Autoren prägte Hildesheimers Schaffen – von Shakespeare, Shaw, Joyce, T. S. Eliot über Barnes und Beckett – und die englische Sprache durchzieht Werk und Briefe. Wie läßt sich die englische Topografie in Hildesheimers Werk vermessen? Wie das Geopoetische in seinen England-Bezügen werten? Auf welches ‘England’ bezog sich Hildesheimer? War es jenes Shakespeares, Shaws, T.S. Eliots, Becketts oder die Welt des James Joyce? Was am Englischen äußerte sich stilbildend, sprachprägend in seinem Werk? Dieser Band dokumentiert erstmals thematisch zusammenhängend die Lebensspuren Hildesheimers im englischen Kulturraum und die Spuren des Englischen in seinem literarischen und bildkünstlerischen Œuvre. Er präsentiert die Ergebnisse der Tagung «Wolfgang Hildesheimer und England», die im September 2010 am Queen Mary College der University of London stattfand.

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II Mythopheme

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A bb . 1 2: W ol fg an g H ild es he im er , B üh ne nb ild sk iz ze , e tw a 1 93 8 From Nobility to Sloth: Melancholy Self-Fashioning and the Hamlet-Motif in Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s Tynset and Masante Mary Cosgrove Towards the end of Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s novel Tynset (1965), the in- somniac first-person narrator ponders the contents of his kitchen cupboard as he teeters on the brink of wakefulness and fitful bursts of sleep.1 Mentally listing different combinations of mixed dried herbs he concludes that a specific assortment containing rosemary would never sell in Germany. A herb that Shakespeare’s Ophelia once linked to the power of memory, rose- mary is simply not a German affair.2 Nor is garlic, the narrator muses, for “deutsche Esser” (German eaters) prefer to have pure breath. From an uni- dentified place of self-elected exile he remembers the German man who imparted this to him, someone he once met arbitrarily in the restaurant car of a train and who subsequently became famous for his surgical skill: during the war this random acquaintance transplanted the hip-bones of “a few” Danes to “a few” Germans. Whether the Danes in question were alive or dead at the time remains open to speculation. Having thus cloaked in a hue of implied but unconfirmed butchery what might have been a pioneering medical procedure, the narrator pointedly moves away from this disturbing train of thought and returns to his mixed herbs, concluding that there is certainly...

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