Literature ǀ This tilting figure between seriousness and non-seriousness – Friday

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A true Slingshot through history this book is about that Origin of the West. And only a delicately inserted cross on the title indicates what to expect: It is about the influence of Christianity on the way of the West and the world in general. It goes rapidly from antiquity to modernity, which – despite all the corrosion and defense – naturally appears as the heir to Christianity, which in the end not only the Beatles, but actually everything, even activists, should testify to.

One reads convincingly here the tremendous value overthrow, about the revaluation of all values. The enormity that the Christian compulsory happiness went hand in hand with persecution, extermination, enslavement and all kinds of inequality is not left out, but rather blotted in, as one is soon flattened by the weight of all the witnesses and lawyers called on. If you free yourself from it and read in individual portions against the urge to take on the big picture, then the well-written compendium provides plenty of catechetical suggestions.

The ubiquization The Jena literary scholar Stefan Matuschek reflects on the specifics of romanticism, namely the subjectification and aestheticization of religion, perhaps better: the religious. His leading figure is the tilt figure. For example, Goethe offers him that he is with the Faust rightly puts in the context of romanticism, “a particularly challenging overturning figure from religious seriousness and not seriousness”, between overarching heaven and inner hell, urge to move forward and agonizing uncertainty and unrest. There are also subtle interpretations of, for example, ETA Hoffmann and the various fairy tales. Above all, the knowledgeable and broad view of the diversity of European romanticism and the theater as a battlefield is illuminating. That is a pleasantly prudent accounting, showing all essential items and costs. The sealed sky However, due to the moderating explanatory mode, it is also a bit Biedermeier, which gently counteracts the romantic trick of arousing the audience to de-excitement. And the chapter on the topicality of romanticism appears mild, which would have been good if a glance at the once biting argument between Peter Hacks and Heiner Müller would have been good.

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Michael Jaeger is probably that deep east Faust– Connoisseurs of the present. From his weighty books on the subject, he has distilled a booklet that introduces the work in a way that not only makes its immense topicality plausible, but also encourages you to read it again – and to make yourself understood – on Faust wrote Goethe all his life. By developing the intricate process of creation, Jaeger shows the various elements, Faust as a satire of scholars and instinct tragedy, as well as Goethe’s attempts at coping, which broaden his horizons and at the same time generate new disparities, and at the same time demonstrate his sovereignty.

You follow that Drama of Modern, his driving forces impatience and dissatisfaction, which only calm down momentarily. And also the transformation of Europe into a modern, nervous industrial society. Even the very violent rest at the end is a Danaer gift to the future, after his death, as Jaeger writes, confronted with the “dissent of possible interpretations”. Faust read – when, if not now?

Faustian engineers have been waging war over spaces and raw materials since Faust. For example about the “liquid gold”. Refined oil was needed by vehicles on land, sea and in the air during the First World War. Coal, previously the number one resource for German economic power, was dying, so it was thought after the war was lost. Unless, as in Leuna, they rely on the production of synthetic fuel from it. Oil was seen as the power of the future, i.e. that of the Soviet Union and the USA.

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Dariya Manova brilliantly develops the discourse, culture and cult history of the raw material oil in the interwar period, shows how it was argued and raved about in the media and culture. On the one hand, (raw) material becomes material, i.e. the content of artistic works; on the other hand, this material needs its own “raw” form – that of the documentary. It convincingly shows what was previously negotiated separately: the car cult of the 1920s in photos and statistics, cool engineering manliness in Brecht, Feuchtwanger, Piscator and Co. Also in the Bildungsroman as a genius biography on the one hand by Emil Ludwig, on the other hand as the biography of the thing by Sergei Tretyakov. At the same time, this is a profound early history of the narrative non-fiction book.

In short, one of the best literary books to understand this time. Completely jargon free. On top of that, of clearly recognizable topicality.

Domination. The emergence of the west Tom Holland Susanne Held (transl.), Klett-Cotta 2021, 619 p., 28 €

The sealed sky. A story of romance Stefan Matuschek C. H. Beck 2021, 400 S., 28 €

Goethe’s ‘Faust’. The drama of modernity Michael Jaeger C. H. Beck 2021, 128 S., 9,95 €

‘Dying Coal’ and ‘Liquid Gold’. Raw material narratives of the interwar period Dariya Manova Wallstein 2021, 354 S., 41 €

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