Memory, Language, Fascism: Bachmann

From Gisela Brinker-Gabler

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Memory, Language Fascism will examine approaches of postwar poetics in Europe after World War II. The major focus is on the work of Ingeborg Bachmann, who after finishing her dissertation on Heidegger turned to literature and became one of postwar Europe's most innovative writers. Her poems and prose paradigmatically explore the possibility of literature as an ethical-aesthetical force after catastrophe and specifically the Holocaust. For Bachmann fascism is an experience of language, and language an experience of fascism. The search for a new language in her work, therefore, is an unending struggle with the violence of the everyday, forgetting, genocide, colonial wars, and the "murder" of women. Discussing her work in context of larger debates on the limits of language, poetry and politics, memory and resistance, crime and fiction, we will include readings of Wittgenstein, Adorno, Benjamin, Arendt, Celan and Agamben.