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'Wenn ihr nicht werdet wie die Kinder'

The Significance of the Child in the World-View of Ilse Aichinger


Catharine Purdie

Children play a vital role in the work of Ilse Aichinger. Through an analysis of Die grössere Hoffnung and other texts, this monograph sets out to explore their significance within Aichinger's world-view, and the implications of this for her writing. The key to these questions lies in Aichinger's interpretation of Matthew 18:3: 'Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' For Aichinger, this is 'vielleicht das härteste Gebot der Bibel' ( Kleist, Moos, Fasane), because she equates becoming 'as little children' with 'die Ergebung in das ø...!, woran wir nichts können' ( Kleist, Moos, Fasane). The helpless child is a metaphor for humanity, and the 'Spiel' (game, play) of the child is a celebration of life in the face of death.
Contents: The world-view of Ilse Aichinger in selected short stories from Der Gefesselte - The 'Spiel' of the child in Die grössere Hoffnung - Variants of the 'Spiel' in selected other works.