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From «antlütze» to «Angesicht»

Identity and Difference in Wolfram’s «Parzival» and Grimmelshausen’s «Der abentheurliche Simplicissimus Teutsch»


Brent Holland

The formation of identity has always been an intriguing property of human culture. Today, identity is largely understood as the product of discursive economies and as a vector of language use. At the center of this socio-linguistic framework lies the locus of identity production itself, the inscribed body, which represents prevailing schemes of order. The inscription of identity onto the body is thus a social and not an individual process, the reaction to a coalition of arbitrary stimuli rather than an unchanging organic property of human life. In this respect, we can no longer take the transcendental nature of the individual, with whom we associate the modern subject, for granted. The question is, do the bodies of earlier periods also evince signs of the individual, or is this form purely a cultural neologism? This book attempts to formulate an answer.
Contents: History of the discourse ‘Individual’ – Identity formation and the text – Body Theory – Medieval and Baroque German literature.