GERMAN STUDIES IN AFRICA- Jahrbuch des Germanistenverbandes im südlichen Afrika- Journal of the Association for German Studies in Southern Africa- Band/Volume 40/2012
Edited By Carlotta von Maltzan
The first part of this edition comprises three contributions with different perspectives on the African continent. Swiss writer Urs Widmer’s novel Im Kongo is the lens through which Hegel’s Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte is being viewed; Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play Peggy Picket sieht das Gesicht Gottes is read as diagnostic text highlighting the differences between Western and African worlds; and a comparative analysis of Grimms’ and African fairy tales finds different ideas concerning justice at work in the respective moral orders. The second and more general part of this edition presents a reading of Storm’s novella Der Schimmelreiter from the vantage point of development politics; a detailed analysis of texts by hitherto largely unknown writer Veza Canetti; and reflections on the theme of the quest for the good life as it features centrally in Brecht’s literary and theoretical writings. Further contributions deal with literary strategies for the disclosure of politically motivated crimes; with the relationship between different structures of narrative and metafictional narration; and with an investigation of language- and distribution policies pertaining to audiovisual media across the European continent. The third and last part of this edition reports on some teaching and research fields opening possibilities, guided by emancipator visions, for German Studies in post-colonial African contexts.
On the Natural History of Africa. Reading Hegel with Urs Widmer: JOHN K. NOYES
On the Natural History of Africa Reading Hegel with Urs Widmer JOHN K. NOYES University of Toronto Abstract In this paper I read the novel Im Kongo by Swiss author Urs Widmer as an alternative telling of Hegel’s narrative of Africa in his Lectures on the Philosophy of World Histo- ry. Hegel’s views on reason in history leave him unable to deal with African history, to the point where he cannot resolve the contradiction between an Africa that remains out- side world history, and an Africa that is destined to become a historical part of the world. In opposition to Hegel’s claim that world history emerges out of the erasure of bodily life in individuals, Widmer uses autobiographic discourse to demonstrate the paradoxical place of the body in the macro-discourses of history. Widmer’s Heart of Darkness: Is the Rhine the same river as the Thames? In 1992, Haffmanns published a new translation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness by well-known Swiss author Urs Widmer. Four years later, Widmer published a novel with the title Im Kongo. Widmer was by this time a well-established author, having published more than 30 books, and received a number of prestigious literary awards. For those who expected a re-writing of Conrad, the book is a surprise. Widmer’s novel both does and doesn’t rewrite Conrad’s famous novel. Indeed, it is not until page 123, more than half way through the novel, that the protagonist, Kuno Lüscher, embarks on the Perle des Afriques, “das die tausendf...
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