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Across Literary and Linguistic Diversities

Essays on Comparative Literature

Edited By Goethe Society of India, Madhu Sahni and Mazumdar Shaswati

Comparative literary studies face new challenges today in a world marked by the migration of people, languages, ideas and texts across diverse and increasingly porous borders. The field is restricted by conventional notions of comparativism born in the era of nationalism and colonialism. However, scholars are now provoked to rethink these notions as a result of the social, economic and political forces that drive the contemporary world, which simultaneously draw it into an ever tighter global network and create new, or reassert persisting, lines of division.
What are the conceptual and methodological questions that must engage our attention if comparativism, as recent debates suggest, has to revive its critical potential and chart afresh the future of literary studies? The essays in this volume attempt to rethink comparison in this context through theoretical reflections and concrete comparative analyses. They investigate similarities and differences, connections and references, across diverse literary and linguistic cultures in Indian, German and other European literatures.
This volume is the 2014 Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.
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Von gewalttätigen Vätern und systematischer Gewalt. Bernward Vespers Die Reise und Bret Easton Ellis᾽ Lunar Park


← 120 | 121 → ANU PANDE

In recent times violence has become omnipresent, infusing the political, economic and cultural discourses all over the world. In response, the contemporary definition of violence has been expanded beyond acts perpetrated by a clearly identifiable agent to also include more subtle forms of violence, subjective as well as objective. This paper employs the categories of violence enumerated by Slavoj Žižek to examine the works of Bernward Vesper and Bret Easton Ellis, two authors who process a personal oedipal trauma by linking it to a traumatic experience on a much larger scale, namely Fascism in Nazi Germany and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The graphic subjective violence depicted in their works is symptomatic of the invisible systemic violence inherent in modern society – a form of violence which is not even perceived as violence, given that it is a natural consequence of the smooth functioning of the political and economic systems that now embody normalcy.

‚Es ist Zeit, die Dinge zu sehen, wie sie sind, die Projektionen zu knacken, die mir das Unerträgliche erträglich erscheinen lassen, [es ist Zeit, zu begreifen,] es ist Zeit, zu zerstören, was man mir als Schönheit andrehte, es ist Zeit, die Schönheit der Zerstörung zu begreifen: den Erfahrungen vertrauen, die Erfahrungen in Haß, den Haß in Energie verwandeln.‘1 Mit diesen Worten verkündete Bernward Vesper den Aufbruch einer neuen literarischen Tendenz in den 1970er Jahren in Deutschland. Vesper hat sein Romanessay...

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