Writing with the Words of Others
BeschreibungHans Magnus Enzensberger is one of the most widely read and respected writers in post-war Germany. In the present study a considerable number of his most important poems are closely analyzed, including the texts that make up his major poetic cycles, Mausoleum (1975) and Der Untergang der Titanic (1978). Central to any discussion of this highly diverse corpus is the way in which Enzensberger creates strikingly original poems on the basis of borrowed material. Der Untergang der Titanic, for example, is closely based on the famous bestseller A Night to Remember (1955) by the American writer Walter Lord and on the film of the same name by Roy Baker (1958). Enzensberger's "Versepos" is simply unimaginable without Lord's book, and certain episodes represented in the poem can be fully understood only by readers who have seen the film. The appropriation of documentary material also plays an important role in the series of poems devoted to nature or science, many of which present themselves as riddles. An entire chapter is devoted to the analysis of these fascinating riddle poems. The various personages portrayed in Mausoleum comprise not only scientists, inventors, explorers, and thinkers who were responsible for truly world-changing discoveries (Gutenberg, Humboldt, and Darwin for example), but also a whole series of historical figures whose admission to this oddball pantheon is best explained by the bizarreness of their often utopian projects or by their compulsive or megalomaniacal personalities. The playful and provocative Enzensberger clearly chose several of these latter for their shock value (Raimondo di Sangro, V. M. Molotov, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna). Our reading of this collection demonstrates Enzensberger's willingness to undermine seriousness with irony and humor, hence the presence of Dante and Marilyn Monroe on board the sinking Titanic. The final chapter examines the relation between poetry and politics and examines the notorious essay "Gemeinplätze, die Neueste Literatur betreffend" (1968) as well as the disturbing interview with the Weimarer Beiträge (1971), in which the poet expresses his thankfully short-lived rejection of literature as art and his desire to break out of the "Ghetto des Kulturlebens." This chapter also discusses the influence of Bertolt Brecht. Other chapters focus on the poet's taste for anachronism, his "asynchronous" sensibility, and the recurrent theme of disappearance.
PortraitAlan J. Clayton is Professor emeritus of French literature at Tufts University. He has published articles and monographs on Albert Camus, Jean Giono, and Nathalie Sarraute and edited several collective volumes on Giono.
Untertitel: Essays on the Poetry of Hans Magnus Enzensberger. GEH. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Königshausen & Neumann
Erscheinungsdatum: Juli 2010
Seitenanzahl: 271 Seiten