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Title: Die unentrinnbare Idylle. Literarische Konfigurationen am Ende der Nachkriegszeit
Authors: Strasser, Andreas
Advisors: Fore, Devin
Contributors: German Department
Keywords: Adorno
Christa Wolf
Ernst Jünger
Marie Luise Kaschnitz
Subjects: German literature
Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation investigates literary engagements with the German tradition of the idyll at the end of the post-war period. Focusing on four prominent twentieth-century writers—Theodor W. Adorno, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Christa Wolf, and Ernst Jünger—I show how thinkers from a broad cultural and political spectrum mobilize aesthetic techniques and cultural topoi of the literary idyll to investigate relationships between individual and society, technology and nature, and aesthetics and politics in a period profoundly marked by catastrophe. I claim that the literary tradition of the idyll provides often overlooked but highly effective aesthetic strategies and topoi for reflecting on individual identity, practicing historical remembrance, and inventing models of authorship that interrogate the very processes by which aesthetic experiences articulate historicity. They do so through formal devices that reduce the macroscopic complexity of the rapidly changing world of media and technology to a microscopic simplicity, scale the globalized realm of experience down to the individual, and limit the sphere of interest to the narrow realm of the family or individual property. This dissertation makes three main contributions. First, the dissertation reconsiders Adorno’s, Kaschnitz’s, Wolf’s, and Jünger’s respective bodies of work in light of their engagement with the idyll. Although the significance of the idyll in their oeuvres has often been passed over due to their critical remarks about it, each of these thinkers turns to the idyll in key works in which they reflect on and develop their mode of writing. Second, my dissertation revises a standard narrative about the idyll’s status in post-war Germany. I argue that evoking the idyll in literature goes beyond the commonly asserted dichotomy between affirmative idylls and critical anti-idylls. It provides a vantage point from which literary works renegotiate affirmation and criticality. Third, by paying particular attention to works of the post-war era, I locate historical roots of what recent scholarship acknowledges as a constitutive relationship between the idyll and catastrophe, arguing for the need to investigate the historicity of the idyll’s configurations of aesthetic strategies and topoi.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: de
Appears in Collections:German

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