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Cultural Contexts and Literary Forms

Essays on Genre

Edited By Goethe Society of India, Chitra Harshvardhan, Rekha Rajan and Madhu Sahni

Genres mutate, disappear, travel through translation and sometimes re-emerge. Traditionally viewed as a classificatory device, the idea of genre has been challenged by anti-genre theoreticians who question the possibility of reading texts merely through a typological framework. The essays in this volume contribute to a transcultural poetics through an engagement with genre, viewing it as neither normative nor inflexible. They investigate historically established genres; genres that transgress conventions as they move between different art forms and cultures; and genres that, whilst seeming to respond to reader expectations, expand and create new communicative spaces. The volume includes not only theoretical considerations of the boundaries and scope of genre but also case studies of science fiction, poetry, aphorism, immigrant writing, filmic adaptation and the role of translation in genre.
This volume is the 2015 Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.
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David Midgley - Der fremde Blick. Zur Verwendung hinduistischer Motive in Alfred Döblins Manas

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DAVID MIDGLEY

Der fremde Blick. Zur Verwendung hinduistischer Motive in Alfred Döblins Manas1

ABSTRACT

There are many elements of Döblin’s ‘Indian poem’ Manas (1927) that reflect an awareness of the Hindu religious, philosophical and literary writings transmitted into German culture by the work of scholars in the course of the nineteenth century. But in its treatment of themes as well as in its poetic radicalism, Manas stands out from the common run of German literary texts of the early twentieth century, which tended to treat Indian subject matter in an idealizing or orientalizing manner. This article re-examines the place of Manas in Döblin’s œuvre (particularly in relation to his Reise in Polen, which was written immediately before it), the evidence of how the text came about, and the implications of the use it makes of Hindu motifs. In particular, the article draws attention to the echoes in Manas of the writings of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and of translations of Hindu sacred texts by Paul Deussen. On this basis it seeks to elucidate the ways in which Döblin combined themes that are central to Hinduism with concerns that are germane to European modernity and gave powerful expression to both of them through the imagery of his text.

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