Ute and Ulf
Two essays about the history of the avant-garde in Austria and Germany (mainly).
(letter from Ute Eisinger circa 2003)
As a presupposition for this, let me say that the poets of Germany after 1945 no longer interest me and so I can hardly say anything about them, but in compensation I will say more about the Austrians.
The best accounts of Austrian literature since the war are in Peter Demetz, who teaches germanistics in California - everything should have appeared in English. For poetry, I recommend Hermann Korte’s contribution, Über Lyrik nach 1945, in the latest volume of the Reclam Geschichte der deutschen Lyrik, in which Kling, Czernin and all our favourites are well presented. If you want, I will send you a copy.
Ingeborg BACHMANN is overrated - an achievement of the women’s movement and of glossy magazines, which have stylized her into a Romy Schneider of literature. Her best poetry is indebted to Celan. She was certainly a dazzling philosopher (Heideggerian). CELAN is in any case in any respects unsurpassed, if also psychologically damaged. He saved something for the soul of lyric poetry - not because he was a Jew, but because he came from the East and drew from the same sources as the inventors of surrealism. During the single year, for which Celan held out in the previously aspired-to Vienna - he arrived in 1946, in a bombed-out, exhausted, hungry city - he only felt at home in the circle of fantastic painters. More than with BACHMANN, who adored him, he would probably have found elements in common with our underrated poet Christine LAVANT, who lived in impoverished circumstances in a Carinthian village and taught herself -as he did initially - from Rilke. Her poems - in reality prayers - belong to an alienatingly archaic Expressionism, as it is found more often in Czech or Rumanian poetry, in Siktanc, Stanescu, etc.
Then came the year of Gruppe 47, which in literary terms means the first “Anschluss” of Austria to West Germany: the only ones who travelled to their meetings from here were Bachmann and Aichinger, who were also the only women. Celan travelled there from Paris, where he had settled. Aichinger got married to Günter Eich, Bachmann was awarded the prize which Celan had deserved.
In the 1950s Vienna had come back to life. In a jazz cellar club named “der Strohkoffer”, painters met, whom the priest Monsignore Dr Otto Mauer exhibited in his gallery “Galeria nächst St Stefan”, and let them have discussions there too. That is the background from which the slightly older - he took part in the war - H.C. ARTMANN stood out. The so-called Wiener Gruppe [Vienna Group] is more an invention of the lamented, self-indulgent, Gerhard RÜHM. Artmann himself didn’t want to found anything, he was simply a splendid human being with a scholar’s attitude to life, unerring in his erudition and appearing in all kinds of masks, like Ezra Pound - but never with didactic gestures, always with a twinkle in his eye, lively. Vienna has been rich in theatrical gestures since the Baroque and Artmann’s gesture pointed once again to the grotesque, the Dance of the Dead procession from the legacy of ‘dear Augustin’.
For JANDL and MAYRÖCKER (and by the way it was she who educated KLING, a rather un-German bard) the ludic was decisive, the performable sound. All three are by now found in all anthologies. Very important - for Schmatz and Czernin, but also for the Swiss Ingold among others - was in the 1970s Reinhard PRIESSNITZ, who was a drinking companion of Artmann (who wasn’t?), and whose disciple Schmatz was in turn. Priessnitz’s legacy includes more essays than poems. No-one who wants to approach Schmatz and Czernin can bypass his systematic-theoretical essays.
The so-called Experimentals (SCHMATZ, CZERNIN and others) have had a hard time in recent years. Only Schmatz is on the path to success. One reproaches Franz Josef, primarily, because his writing has allegedly reached the cul-de-sac of self-observation - while Schmatz allows himself to write with increasing sensuousness, no longer raps himself on the knuckles when a tune begins to emerge. With “babel’n” he is for the first time dealing with what belongs to an outside world, instead of exploring what he has just invented. “tokyo, echo”, which has just come out, follows the same line. Whom both love: the Munich poet Paul WÜHR.
In the big picture, something is missing in contemporary Austria: the only thing which we have done for the world since the Second World War is Actionism, which was theorised by the Experimentals. The great talents of the Austrians are however found in the musical-theatrical, ludic, style. Because we suffer from an inferiority complex in comparison with the Germans, they are lying fallow. Austrian literature was always strongly involved with linguistic philosophy (Wittgenstein, Mauthner, Ebner; Kraus) and so must fail when it is inspired by beer and becomes ideologically earnest.
If I put myself into the picture… From the start I have only written about writing, above all about reading. I never shared the theoretical demands of the Experimentals (to analyse democratically, psychologically, system-theoretically), but hold more by a mediaeval code of honour of poet-apprentices, which prescribes that one should prove worthy of one’s master. It is said of me that I write like a man. But I regard myself as very heathen and this in turn as something very feminine. (Art is the working-through of flashes of inspiration as well as the knowledge of how one comes to the former - i.e. in this case highly erotically. Women perhaps do not write in a different way from men but procure other Muses. As I always felt close to the danger of losing the thread in sheer rhythm, I impose strict formal rules on myself.
Richard OBERMAYR writes prose - but it is like a quarry for poets. Recently I heard him as he was instructed to react in the framework of a literary project to an unfamiliar composition by Handel? Haydn? - and carried out this task quite breathtakingly. Not only that Richard thinks musically, above all his images are of an unheard-of accuracy and with that so completely freshly coined, that one can only wonder at them.
(There is some reference to a 1992 web essay by AD which had very few Austrian poets, no doubt a consequence of using a London library funded by the Federal Republic. Quite a few of these poets are found translated in the 2001 Chicago Review anthology, Contemporary German Writing. The Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry brought over Schmatz, Czernin, and Kling. AD translated all three. There are some translations of Ute Eisinger in the anthology 16 New German Poets [Burning Deck, 2008]. AD)
This is a general description of the position of the avant-garde in German-language poetry, written about 2007.
Once again: about avant-garde and experimental poetry
When one began, at the end of the seventies, beginning of the eighties, to take an interest in poems whose authors felt themselves in some way bound to the concept of Experiment, one was in a peculiar situation - stamp-collectors call something like this, I believe, a closed collection area. To be sure, access to the key texts of the German- and French-language avant gardes was, as was not true for the two previous generations, a big problem - a medium-solvent university library, an ambitious borough library was then often better equipped to satisfy the most urgent longings - only the common evaluation of this form of literature had altered radically. The concept avant garde had been declared obsolete by the culture sections of newspapers and by mainstream theory, and bid farewell to with a sigh of relief, it had from the start played no great role for the younger poets of the “new subjectivity” or even served, along with “elitism”, to fill out their image of The Enemy, and so it was only the poets born in the twenties: Friederike Mayröcker, H.C. Artmann, Helmut Heissenbüttel, Ernst Jandl, Oskar Pastior, and a few others, who kept the colours high and kept the “collection area” a chink open. With which naturally also a reception problem is named - much was then hard for me to understand or even not perceptible: in what way Elke Erb and Adolf Endler were whirling around in East Berlin, what sensations Günter Falk in Graz and Reinhard Priessnitz or Dominik Steiger in Vienna were furnishing, not to mention that the first volumes of Franz Josef Czernin and Ferdinand Schmatz appeared in these years - in Stuttgart the clocks moved a bit more slowly.
However that may be - it seemed to me, anyway, as if I had discovered something, which at the latest in the moment of being discovered by me had become part of history - or at least was declared to be so. Which meant, that also my own efforts towards poems, still mostly unpolished by avant garde theory and practice, but somehow aiming in this direction, probably were not right up to date. No catastrophe, but all the same a persistent irritation, which continue until, much too late, I read Heissenbüttel’s magnificent volume of essays On the tradition of modernity (Zur Tradition der Moderne), and realised that the skirmishes around the concept of avant garde did not centre in literature and its possibilities of development, but in positioning and the control of opinion - power struggles on a very small pitch. Heissenbüttel now showed impressively that the history of the avant garde did not begin with Marinetti and Mayakovsky, with Ball and Schwitters, but at latest with Fischart and Kuhlmann, and did not end with concrete poetry - rather the situation is (Heissenbüttel‘s theses can perhaps be reduced to this denominator), that we are dealing with an unfinished, unfinishable process, and that there is no going back behind the achievements of the avant-garde, which applies equally to those who despise it and those who proselytise for it.
So things had been tugged into position again, just that Heissenbüttel’s realisations did not seem to have reached the young poetry-scene, at least there was no trace of them to be found in the relevant anthologies and annuals. But then, in the middle of the barren eighties, occurred with a flourish on the drums the “Pentecostal miracle of German-language poetry” (Tobias Lehmkuhl): within a very brief space of time appeared the first volumes by Peter Waterhouse, Thomas Kling, Bert Papenfuss, and many, many others. The scene showed up as completely changed from one day to the next, and it became obvious to me that there really were people who had taken up the same problems in the foregoing years that I had, just that they had got significantly further with their work. Another revolution, then, which didn’t wait for me.
When the poets born between the beginning and the middle of the sixties published their first books, the situation was changed again. The lyrical Pentecost had not been able to hold back the progressive marginalisation of the genre, which had as a consequence a stronger solidarity between poets, also across ideological boundaries. So the course of the front lines remained clearly visible, but it became possible to discuss the differing ontological principles and to respect them. Heissenbüttel’s theses had finally fallen on fertile ground, as just as it had been unthinkable to follow an experimental opening without being informed about (for example) Peter Huchel and Paul Celan, so it had also become something that went without saying for a representative of a more narratively oriented poetry to have read Konrad Bayer or Oswald Wiener. Isn’t that progress?
This process has continued, if my views are correct, among poets born around 1970 and later, and has got stronger. Perhaps the literary balance of powers has changed - the newer North American poetry with Charles Simic and John Ashbery now certainly plays a larger role than the old tussles of the avant garde, still it would be hard to find a younger poet who would not name Thomas Kling’s poems as an important influence. This has as a consequence that today really bad poems are hardly being written - the knowledge of tradition protects against that - and beyond that an incredible variety of stylistic projects has developed, which permits groups, but prevents schools. And so among the younger poets there are only a few who would describe their writing as experimental.
If I now try to show, in what follows, why it seems sensible to me, all the same and continuingly, to stick with the concepts of the avant garde, of experimental writing, that it certainly not so as to excavate happily filled-in trenches - quite the opposite, I find the present, un-angry situation extremely helpful, and would be glad and grateful if it lasts until my farewell to poetry. On the other hand I am convinced, now as before, that what poems can achieve depends substantially on what theoretical or ontological measures underly them, and that, to put it mildly, different concepts have different carrying powers. Diverse is good.
But perhaps to start out we have to go back to the origin of all the misery, to Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s essay, “The Aporias of the Avant Garde”, of 1962. This essay has a great defect, namely that not everything which Enzensberger claims in it can be rejected out of hand- more of this later; the predominant part of his argument is, though, highly problematical or straightforwardly tactical nonsense, written although the writer knows better. That begins with Enzensberger seeing the avant garde essentially as a sociologically relevant phenomenon, which in the competition of aesthetic ideologies has won a larger share than he would like. Now, polemics do not have to be empirically provable in order to function - but the assertion that avant garde art, especially literature, was over-represented in the marketplace, was in 1962 just as absurd as it would be in 2007. All the same this error of judgment has enjoyed a long life and has a wide distribution now as then, of course rarely among people with the intellectual capacity of H.M. Enzensberger. Just here is the second problem of the essay: who argues in the way that Enzensberger does must not only reckon with applause from the wrong side - that was his goal. Give him the obligatory derivation of the term “avant garde” from military vocabulary as a free gift, give him the playing off of Lenin’s avant garde metaphor against the Futurist one as a free gift, give him also a free gift (even if this one grates rather) the equation of “Neues Deutschland” with “Völkischer Beobachter” - but don’t let him get away with, of course, never, the criticism of Lukacs’ admittedly bizarre concept of realism as being linguistically “tattered and rotten“! If you don‘t believe me, you can check the reference for 9 euros 90 - “The Aporias of the Avant garde” are available again, that is in: Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Einzelheiten I & II (Spiegel-Edition, Band 24. Hamburg: 2007). And this essay has even more to offer: from the surprising enthronement of Jack Kerouac as the “paramount chief of the Beatnik sect“, which Enzensberger takes to be the experimental division for North America - very witty! to the cutting and contemptuous: “A lab coat clads the breast twitching with visionary raptures; and what the avant garde produces, be it poems, novels, pictures, films, buildings or pieces of music, is and remains experimental.” Yo! you have to read it to believe it!
If I have indicated above that not everything is wrong with Enzensberger’s assault on everyone in the room, that refers mainly to two points:
First: the unenjoyable avant garde gesture of exclusivity: Like this, and only like this! Enzensberger: “Someone is already wrong when they insist on objective necessity, material compulsion, and inevitably progressing development. Every such doctrine relies on the method of extrapolation: it protracts lines into the unknown.”
And secondly: the problem of freedom by decree.
Enzensberger: “Just like communism in society (!), the avant garde wishes to impose freedom in the arts by decree. Just like the Party, it believes that, as a revolutionary elite, and that means as a collective, it has taken out a lease on the future. […] It proclaims total freedom as its goal while surrendering without resistance to the historic process which is going to release it from this freedom.”
These are really, and not just for Hans Magnus Enzensberger, two self-contradictions, whose consequences were that even today many older authors, whose work is undoubtedly to be grouped with the avant garde tradition, have very deep suspicions about claiming the term for their writing. These contradictions (which in reality are only one) seem to be resolvable only by finally taking the demand for and the promise of freedom seriously - it does not have to be instantly “total freedom“! The unpleasantly authoritarian tone which clung to many manifestoes of the Fifties and Sixties and which persists to this day in the pure theory of the experimental, is psychologically understandable (I think) as the defensive reaction of a minority pressed against the wall: against the prevailing malicious whispers and intrusive interpretation of the 1950s, against the “anything goes” of today - but it does not become more sympathetic for that reason. And if an opening both of concepts and of method should lead to a dilution - excuse me! Renate Kühn writes in her never sufficiently to be praised work of interpretation, Der poetische Imperativ (Aisthesis: 1997, 3rd edition 2020): “That such an open definition is appropriate was shown by further developments. Since the Seventies, the shifting of the experimental field in favour of “contents” has led to an increasing differentiation, which breaks with the taboos of the first phase and by doing that reaches a grade of textual complexity which is in noticeable contrast to the reductions of the first phase.”
And: “As an end result remains therefore only that new attempts to define (a single) “experimental literature” are out of bounds at the moment.”
Two attempts to define:
If in what follows we talk about “experimental poetry”, that refers to texts whose information content (if present) is not set before the beginning of the writing process, so ones which do not steer towards a preset destination of meaning or for example illustrate this meaning. Freedom is always also freedom of intention. So even a text that wanted to impart to us that one can reach a tenable result only by the experimental route: guided by rules or sounds, by permutation, combination, etc., would not be, in this stricter sense, an experimental text. “Experimental” should describe an attitude (Priessnitz), not a package of procedures or a bulging box of tools.
“Avant garde” should be taken to mean: the category of people who write such texts.
That was it. End of presumption.
Beginning of the hairy part, an attempt to rescue some basic insights of the avant garde and to grant a patent of nobility to experimental writing.
And to begin right away with the hairiest point: freedom of purpose, missing statement- or meaning-goals, do not imply the absence of sense - just the opposite! Just that sense is not something that allows itself to be captured and transmitted in a planned way, for instance in the manner of a “lyrical speaking about” or in the addition of semantic components by the reader - it has rather, to put it somewhat vaguely, to generate itself.
Renate Kühn again:
“Especially enlightening in this connection is a glance at the French “scene” of the Sixties. Conservative criticism reproached the avant garde of the time, represented above all by the “Tel Quel” group, with wanting to abolish the “author” as well as “sense”. De facto the category of sense was, however, not at all being radically thrown into question. What was being questioned was rather the traditional idea, oriented around notions of mimesis, of a meaning of the text as preceding it, which was also seen as something that could be exchanged for it (…) This marks not only the transition from “sense” to constituting sense, but (also) stands in direct relationship to an idea of the author as losing his formerly privileged status as autonomous creator god and now becoming a subject…”
I don’t think it can be put better than that.
What corresponds to this widespread misunderstanding of the concept of sense is, quite directly, a misunderstanding about the concept of understanding: just as it was felt possible to understand the directions for use or a recipe, it must also be possible, with the relevant previous knowledge, to understand a poem. But here there are already several zombies lurking. I am actually not at also sure that it is really possible to understand a functional text in the intended sense - to discuss this here, with all its semantic and referential implications or - well: aporias, would surely lead us too far - a small question mark shall suffice. To understand a poem, though, whether it be by Goethe or Oskar Pastior, in the sense of an understanding or several distillable statements, seems to me not only impossible, but above all not rewarding of effort. So as to bypass the theory-of-knowledge plane, just a provisional working hypothesis: one does not read poems to understand them, but to understand understanding a little better. Which would then lead, in a volte-face which is even Fregean, to the notion that all poems, experimental or not, might have the same sense, that is, to bring the possibilities and impossibilities of our knowledge before our eyes. That is a lot and little at the same time, above all though it is dangerous for the advance of my argumentation, for if it is true that a “conventional” poem has the same sense as an experimental one, then the routes which lead to this sense would have to be equivalent or at lealest comparable. That is a quite important objection, and I am not sure if I can disarm it altogether. If we proceed from here on the basis that all poems have the same sense, it seems to me that there are at least two significant distinctions. For one, the conventional poem does not know that its semantic thrashing around is to no avail - it is leading to a specific and singular goal of sense! This can be formulated in the most banal case in a concluding moment, in more elaborate versions it shows through as a kind of epiphany or bringing to light, which could only be shown and understood in the form of this specific poem. And it is always about the transfer of an appearance from the outside world, a “picture of an object”, into the language the poem. Right away there is nothing to be said against it, and there are enough cases in which this is also successful. Only it is, I fear, not thought through. Poems which want to communicate to us such “bringing to light” experiences (or really do communicate them - as I said, I don‘t want to exclude that!) are in a strange way speechless. For as they trust the immediacy of their central picture, the epiphany itself, however artistic its linguistic form, they have left poetry far behind as they travel towards figurative art. One could even say that they are experimental in the bad way mentioned above, because they use language only as a box of tools to bring the “real thing”, which does not dwell in the realm of language, to linguistic expression. The bringings to light, which experimental poetry is concerned with, are always bringings internal to language, a reflection of language about itself, and what from the world comes to light in the poem always continues to be recognisable as linguistically constructed. For how would world be thinkable, even outside the poem, if not linguistically constructed and constituted; and something which is generally seen as a defect of experimental poetry, the kind which relates to itself and language, was in reality its great advantage: to take things and deal with them, as they present themselves: verbally.
This is the one essential difference between experimental (so, actually, realistic) and conventional poems. The second follows from it and consists of this, that experimental “exploratory” texts seem suited in a special way to engage productively with the semantic area of “analysis of understanding and perception”. If it is true that with “understand” and “perceive” we mean not phenomena before or adjacent to language, but genuinely linguistic ones, and in fact both as regards the process of understanding and perception itself, but also in relation to their contents (whatever that might be- possibly just more understanding and perception), then it seems obvious to me that in poems, based on this insight, there is hardly a distinction between the course of the poem and the process of perception - they demonstrate both to the same extent.
The sense of the poem: to understand understanding, would then not only be the result, but displayed itself already in facture and form - noticeably, compulsorily and not because the author had painted it on his banner. In the idle case - and now it gets even more convoluted: the experimental poem would understand itself in this way, and even if I don’t exactly know what it means, it seems to describe the matter quite well.
Behind the self-understanding poem lurks naturally also the poem which writes itself, and we have landed at the court of the author. The problem began to be heard with Renate Kühn, as loss of “the privileged status as autonomous creator god “. Now, the experience of the “it is writing” such an existential fact for every poet, that I don’t see any great differences here. Even the installation of a “lyrical self” cannot an should not cover over this fact. Apart from the fact that “self” and author are naturally different entities, the “self” seems to make one authorship seem likely, on the other hand it fictionalises the authorship so strongly, that one could say with equal justification that the “I” in the poem problematises authorship or suspends its operation. In general the prohibition of the word “I”, like most other prohibitions, is naturally obligated to the authoritarian gesture, and is in that way (liberal and doctrinaire at the same time) formally suspended. And from a distance the concepts of radical self-revelation beckon, which was of course once an important avant garde topos…
A word on methods. I find it, as indicated above, difficult or frivolous to define experimental poetry by its methods. For one thing, permutation (for example) neither an attainment of, nor the exclusive property of experimental literature, but came and comes into action also in non-experimental literature, on the other hand I would not be able to say what distinguishes permutation, apart from its rather weaker grade of conventionalisation, from regular metres, strict rhyme schemes, or particular strophic arrangements. The sense of writing to set rules was from the beginning to delegate the burden of meaning and reference, experienced as something imposed on language. What then comes to utterance in the poem does not do so because the author actually wanted to talk about it, but because the rules of the game suggest or demand that one form exactly this statement or this word. This shift becomes clearest in the especially strict game-forms like anagram or palindrome. The “it writes” is then demonstrated doubly, as not only language, but also by its side the rule, sit together at the writing-desk. And beyond that the “It writes” is so to speak brought to book - just through the fact that the author normally selects the rule which he follows. Here there is in fact a small distinction from, for example, a rigid metre. The simultaneity of a speaking and of speaking about speaking, the meta-level which has been recruited, is certainly one of the few methodical constants of experimental literature. But one should not fall into the error of taking on the meta-linguistic portion of poem as the actual speech, a speech of a higher order, for which the referential and semantic problem would be put out of play. This mistake has been named often, not least by me, and is indeed laden with consequences. Logically meta-language is confronted with the same difficulties and impossibilities as “regular” poem-speech (and, as I believe, also everyday speech) - if that were not so, it would have as a consequence that the whole experimental concept would collapse in on itself or would at least reveal itself as superfluous. The notion, that one has only to pitch the linguistic level high enough (or low enough - see this discussion around the phonetic subtext in Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, which it is then planned to establish as the “real” text) and so would have returned to a linguistic paradise, in which words and things are perhaps not identical, but reference and meaning have regained their innocence, this idea is as attractive as it is idiotic.
What remains are the marginal features of the experimental spectrum: avoiding capitals, phonetic spelling, lack of titles, setting in blocks, syntactic eccentricities, in fact the whole world of deviations. Deviant is good. But doesn’t have to be, all the time.
Not the method, then, but the attitude. Experimental poetry as the form of “realised freedom” (Ernst Jandl), which out of its own impulse must reject every compulsion of method - and reject, in the end, an essay like this one. It is an insoluble dilemma, to demand absolute freedom in writing and simultaneously to deprecate certain disagreeable ways of realising it. Freedom naturally means always, as well and directly the right to write otherwise. Just that freedom seems to me not just to be something which is conceded to someone, but in equal measure something that one has to take. Although freedom does not obligate to anything, its meaning remains empty without the three Rs: risk-readiness, ruthlessness, and radicalism. Or - one number smaller: one should try to transgress the limits of conventionalised language use in the poem, if one wants to get to a place which is not already adapted to tourists. And when Harald Hartung, in 1975, in his volume Experimental Literature and Concrete Poetry, observes that experimental literature has become established, its methods have been tested out many times and by now it would be “actually the absence of stimulation and surprise which prevents us from experiencing this literature as experimental in the provocative sense of the word”, one must, without sharing Hartung’s evaluation in any slightest degree, - also because experimental literature is not free of the habit of developing commonplaces and conventions and carrying them along down the years. On the other side Hartung seems to want to say, implicitly, that the lack of stimulation and surprise was always constitutive for conventional literature. Enough said. But even if experimental literature, exploratory poetry, should succeed via clever swerves in dummying, also in future, the hedgehog of convention (which is nothing else than redeeming its promise of happiness), yet a problem remains. It presents itself just as a hundred years ago and is linked to the basic claim of the avant garde, to make art and lived reality the same thing. This seemed to me, for a long time, to be particularly simple: in this way, that I saw reality as linguistically formed and normed and can probably assume the same for poetry, I have to do more than to display this congruence in the poem, or the poem would (see above) perform that of its own accord, if it owes its being to this realisation. What was not clear to me - and is even today still not clear to me: what consequences this insight and its converse implications have for my life - the logically obvious “No consequences!” seems to me by now to be too little - and what that, conversely, means for the poem. Check this out.
“about the execution we note that our investigation has no claim to completeness. the gaps in our work, which arose under pressure of time, are well-known to us. we would gladly have worked it through again, increased the number of observations, tightened the discourse, unified the terminology. we hope nonetheless that this has been confined to surface deficiencies, flaws in beauty, and that these do not impair the argument. we present the work with the promise, to deliver a more thorough version at some point.”
(from: reinhard priessnitz/ mechthild rausch: “tribut an die tradition. aspekte der postexperimentellen literatur“. In: Wie die Grazer auszogen, die literatur zu erobern. Edited by Peter Laemmle and Jörg Drews. Issue of text + kritik magazine. Munich: 1975, 1979)
Notes (by AD)
Original texts were in German.
“new subjectivity“: the essential point about this was the rejection of the politicisation of the “generation of 68” and while it played a big role for cultural journalists it was not primarily a literary event.
German-language: a generous concept to avoid unintended slurs, as for example Pastior was Rumanian.
Fischart and Kuhlmann: 17th century German poets.
“Neues Deutschland” was an East German newspaper, and “Völkischer Beobachter” was the mass-distribution daily which spoke for the Nazi party.