2019 Von: Claudia Mueller-Greene

"Ästhetischer Eigensinn als Literaturwissenschaftliche Analysekategorie: Eine Anwendung auf 'Die Blechtrommel' als literarisches Gegengedächtnis"

Claudia Mueller-Greene, "Ästhetischer Eigensinn als Literaturwissenschaftliche Analysekategorie: Eine Anwendung auf 'Die Blechtrommel' als literarisches Gegengedächtnis", (Oxford German Studies, 48.2, 2019).


Oxford GERMAN STUDIES V48.2. 2019

Oskar Negt's and Alexander Kluge's Geschichte und Eigensinn (1981) is a treasure trove of ideas for cultural, literary, and interdisciplinary studies. With its highly stimulating, but not easily accessible content, the daunting tome of 1283 pages is still waiting to be fully appreciated, a message in a bottle left to posterity. Its publication in English as History and Obstinacy (2014) shows that the process of its discovery is well underway. This paper gives an introduction to Negt's and Kluge's concept of obstinacy (Eigensinn) and its aesthetic implications. Besides, it makes use of Viktor Šklovskij's theory of defamiliarization to describe the obstinate behaviour of literary texts. The main aim of the paper is to theoretically outline aesthetic obstinacy (ästhetischen Eigensinn) as a tool for literary analysis and to put it to the test in a close reading of the famous chapter ‘Glaube Hoffnung Liebe’ about the horrifying events of ‘Kristallnacht’ in Günter Grass's Die Blechtrommel (1959). Of particular interest is the question of how the obstinate narrative devices are used to express a counter-memory that challenges postwar West German obliviousness towards the Nazi past.