Sturm und Sonne: Autobiografie (German Edition)

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Time is a function of the world that has come to an end with the catastrophe. The narrator lives in an absolute present in which only mutual communication guarantees existence, and in which lack of communication, and lack of recognition, mean annihilation. In the past there was nothing more reliable than the counting of time.

Everything was precisely divided and could be expressed in numbers. Someone was thirty years old and someone else had lived a thousand years ago. These calculations were probably correct, but the precondi32 tions are no longer the same. Time has been shattered. In this postcatastrophic world of the zero hour, designations of time no longer have a meaning. If the narrator turns his face to those who lived a thousand years ago, then they are there, and he can speak to them. To his future listener he declares: Both are part of an immeasurable present.

Towards the end of the story the narrator finds himself, together with a friend-enemy who functions as his alter ego, in a nebulous crater full of wet clay. While speaking with his alter ego, he watches in amazement as his creation comes to life: Soon I thought I discerned a twitching of her legs, as if she were trying to raise her foot from the ground.

Then again it was as if breast and stomach were rising and she were breathing.

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One would only have had 37 to call her by a name, and she would have walked towards us. At the same time, the destruction of his alter ego buries the narrator himself, who sinks into nothingness, separated from his past and from everything else that is familiar. As he tells this story to a woman he sees in the mirror of the empty house he had explored earlier, he imagines himself kneeling before her and burying his face in her womb, as if doing penance for having arrogated to himself the power of creation that belongs to mothers. The fundamental task that the narrator must accomplish is a reconciliation between the stern, eternal law of the fatherjudge and the softer, evanescent matriarchal power of the creator-mother.

And how much new damage would be caused by this: It is possible, he believes, that instead of causing a catastrophe, this return to everyday life, however premature, might ultimately bring about precisely the universal reconciliation which he desires. But even though the narrator of Nekyia knows that he is partially to blame for the catastrophe, he is also aware that a return to everyday life would make him equally guilty.


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The narrators of both works feel the pangs of a guilty conscience, for they are both allied with the destructive power of righteous judgment. For both, narration and song are talismans enabling survival in the midst of destruction. And in both works the distinction between the quotidian world prior to the catastrophe and the world of transcendence made possible by the catastrophe is crucial. The action of the novel takes place at an unspecified time in a nightmarish future when religion, university study, and most forms of art have been banned: Five years after the last war, which had left only one world power, now omnipotent, they destroyed the churches.


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Nine years after the war they issued 47 the law on art that damned writers, painters, and musicians to silence. What has been destroyed in this world is culture and all of its institutions — everything that, by dividing man from himself, makes it possible for him to achieve self-awareness. The supreme judge wears a mask in order to hide his individuality even from himself; he has become pure function.

They should have nothing else in their heads but working and being happy. The only two people left in the world who understand the functioning of the totalitarian system depicted in Nein are the supreme judge and Sturm himself. The supreme judge has chosen Sturm as his successor because, as a writer, he is capable of memory and thought; as the last representative of a dying culture, he is able to separate himself from the quotidian world of other hominids, thus giving their lives, and the social system itself, meaning. People have become happy.

They are accused, they become witnesses, and they become judges. They all have the same thoughts, make the same gestures. All they do now is talk to themselves.

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In this world the process of civilization has been reversed, and human beings have returned to a second, nightmarish state of nature. Walter must, hence, choose between two equally unpalatable options: But because of his decision, human history in the sense of meaningful continuity comes to an abrupt end. Sturm and his counterpart the supreme judge are literally the last men left on earth: In the final words of the novel: Figures lived on it.

Formerly they were called: Published in West Germany shortly after the catastrophe of Nazism and shortly after the beginning of the cold war, it is filled with the foreboding of a possible world totalitarianism. But in spite of his ultimate refusal to accept the position of supreme judge, Walter Sturm is nevertheless the last person in the world to make this sort of conscious choice. In the totalitarian world of Nein, it is the writer and his ratiocination that provide the last link to a world of meaning and continuity with a transcendent tradition.

A brief look at two works by German-language writers living outside Germany will confirm that similar themes occupied many writers in and around the end of the Third Reich. In a context dominated by harsh debates between emigrant writers and writers who had remained in Germany during the Nazi dictatorship, such convergences demonstrate at least one area of common agreement: Following the Dantean tradition, which viewed Vergil as a proto-Christian pointing the way to the coming of Christ, Broch fills his novel with references to the advent of the divine, to absolute presence, and to a consequent break with all previous history.

The goal of all writing, Vergil believes, is the simultaneity of eternity, a simultaneity that can be achieved only by the recognition and acknowledgment of death. The enjoyment of everyday life is acceptable only if it is compatible with humanity and dignity: For Agnes, too, everyday life must be questioned, for under it lies an abyss. The works by Nossack and Jens, as well as those by Broch, Frisch, Kasack, and others, suggest that many postwar German-language writers viewed themselves as a last link to western traditions.

They saw themselves as the representatives and remnants of meaning in a world that had been rendered radically senseless by a break with those traditions. For most of these writers, the world of everyday reality and postwar reconstruction had become fundamentally immoral or amoral. Those simply going through the motions of quotidian life in the face of catastrophe and guilt, they believed, were not only refusing to recognize and acknowledge the extent of the catastrophe but also failing to seize the transformative opportunities offered by an epiphany in which a metanoia — a radically new life — had become possible.

Postwar German writers at the zero hour and afterward saw their stance as radically nonconformist in its confrontation with the everyday world. Theirs was a world of alienation from an immoral and fundamentally flawed existence.


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More information about this seller Contact this seller 3. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is working days from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. More information about this seller Contact this seller 4. Language: German.

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Brand new Book. Auf der Flucht zwischen Polen, Tschechien und Osterreich, erreicht Wilhelm in seinen fruhen Jugendjahren das Salzburger Land, wo er trotz Kriegswirren und unregelmassigen Schulbesuch einen Beruf erlernen wird. Trotz Sonnenschein wird dieses Leben nicht im Land der prachtigen Farben enden. Seller Inventory LIB More information about this seller Contact this seller 5. About this Item: Condition: New. Chapel Hill, N. Jonathan Dewald.

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, Gale Virtual Reference Library. Here in the quiet guest house gardens the former poet of an austere pietism now became the advocate of a light-hearted philosophy, from which frivolity and sensuality were not excluded. Any hint where this could possibly be documented?

Otherwise this should be deleted. Waldbuesser talk , 7 November UTC. Mehrere Webseiten u. Waldbuesser talk , 10 November UTC. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Poetry portal.

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