Redeeming Words: Language and the Promise of Happiness in by Döblin, Alfred; Sebald, Winfried Georg; Döblin, Alfred;

By Döblin, Alfred; Sebald, Winfried Georg; Döblin, Alfred; Kleinberg-Levin, David Michael; Sebald, Winfried Georg

Probing research of the way literature can redeem the revelatory, redemptive powers of language.

In this probing examine Alfred Döblin’s 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz and the tales of W. G. Sebald, Redeeming Words bargains a philosophical meditation at the energy of language in literature. David Kleinberg-Levin attracts at the serious thought of Benjamin and Adorno; the idealism and romanticism of Kant, Hegel, Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schelling; and the 19th- and twentieth-century considered Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida. He exhibits how Döblin and Sebald—writers with greatly diversified kinds operating in numerous old moments—have in universal a fight opposed to forces of negativity and an objective to lead to in reaction a definite redemption of language. Kleinberg-Levin considers the fast paced, staccato, and hard-cut sentences of Döblin and the ghostly, languorous, and depression prose fiction of Sebald to articulate how either writers use language in an try and get better and produce this utopian promise of happiness for all times in a time of mourning.

“Redeeming Words is a sublime, hugely realized, and incisive exploration of the way language—and therefore the best literature of our time—both registers the event of the lack of utopia and affirms desire via making the loss extra transparent. It takes as its subject the main profound reflections at the function of phrases in a time of abandonment and disenchantment. Kleinberg-Levin argues not just that phrases converse this feeling of loss yet represent it by way of failing to accomplish overall mastery and transparency and self-consciously thematizing the corruption and likewise affirmative strength of phrases. on the inner most point, this learn analyzes phrases and what the very life of phrases can confer to members and communities.” — Peter Fritzsche, writer of The Turbulent global of Franz Göll: a regular Berliner Writes the 20 th Century

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Additional resources for Redeeming Words: Language and the Promise of Happiness in the Stories of Döblin and Sebald

Sample text

An adequate and satisfying exposition of the phenomenology of “happiness,” the promise of which, according to our speculative claim, is borne in, by, and through the gift of language, cannot possibly be undertaken within the limiting framework of this book. Nevertheless, without venturing too far off course, I would like to give the conception of happiness in question here a little more substance. Distinguishing, first of all, between pleasure and happiness, both Plato and Aristotle observed that not every pleasure is something good, something rationally desirable.

An atmosphere of alarm that cannot be wished away prevails. It is difficult to see anything good emerging from the rhymes and rhythms of prose that express this time of emergency. About Part II Sebald, whose writings will be engaged in the second part, emigrated at age eighteen from a remote village in southern Germany and settled permanently in England, eventually teaching literature in an English university and writing post-Holocaust literary criticism and works of fiction in the language of his origin.

About Part I Döblin, living in Berlin, was a German Jew, son of a tailor, who left the vocation of neighborhood physician and psychiatrist to write novels at a time when, not many years after the end of the First World War, as disastrous for Germany’s economy as for its spirit, the Weimar Republic, last hope for the rule of enlightened institutions of state, was slowly collapsing. Only a few years of economic stress and political struggles for power would pass before the rise to power of Hitler and the National Socialists.

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