Part III Human Relations: Being in the Twenty-First Century
Angelika Baier Intersections: Hermaphroditism as a ‘Travelling Concept’ in Ulrike Draesner’s Novel Mitgift (2002)1 Wir sind doch alle Erben! Total, allumfassend, ausweglos. Das ist unsere Mitgift. Und genau das wird jetzt auf allen Ebenen erforscht, in der Biologie zum Beispiel, im Dinosaurierwahn, im Film. Und wenn alle drei zusammenkommen, wird es wahnsinnig erfolgreich, wie Jurassic Park vor ein paar Jahren.2 [We are all heirs, really! Completely, in an all-encompassing way, without an alternative. That is our dowry. And that’s exactly what is being scruti- nized on all levels now, in biology for instance, in the dinosaur hype, in films. And when all three come together, the success is crazy, like Jurassic Park a few years ago.] This chapter presents a reading of Ulrike Draesner’s novel Mitgift [Dowry], which was first published in Germany in 2002. Her novel focuses on the interplay of intersecting concepts and modes of thinking, as the passage quoted above illustrates. According to Patrizia, whose voice we hear in this quotation, everybody without fail is subject to multiple layers of interpre- tation – scientific as well as artistic. By using the terms ‘heirs’ and ‘dowry’, Patrizia also introduces the ideas of temporality and (family) history. Past interpretations of who we are stay with us, further complicating our 1 The research leading to this chapter was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P 22877-G20. 2 Ulrike Draesner, Mitgift [Dowry] (Munich: btb, 2005), 46. In the following, the novel is cited as MG. All translations are my own....
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