Conducted in German
Taught by Elisabeth Strowick
Building on more recent research on theatricality and scenography in literature (Neumann et al.) the seminar analyzes the scenic dimension of literature in the interplay between prose and theater. Texts by Gottfried Keller, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Werner Schwab, Heiner Müller, Einar Schleef und Elfriede Jelinek never tire of mobilizing forces between literature and theater: forces that are manifest in the movement/inertia of bodies and chorus formations as well as in speech and writing acts of anger, the repetition of words, semantic emptying, or incisions in the linguistic material, and proliferate in serial dynamics of agony, withdrawal, and exhaustion. It is based on such (de-)figurations of force that the seminar deals with the literary-theatrical scene as a site of force.
The dynamics of scenic force with its structural aspects of seriality, belatedness, suspense, doubling, and the spectral scene effects that result from them torpedo a thinking about scene that is oriented toward figures of unity, closure, stability. Promising correspondences arise, by contrast, with notions of the scene in literary theory, psychoanalysis, theater studies, and philosophy (see et al. the works of Theresia Birkenhauer, Rüdiger Campe, Derrida, Deleuze, Freud, Lyotard, Hans-Thies Lehmann, Juliane Vogel, and Samuel Weber) that emphasizes in particular the heterogeneity, dynamic, contingency, lack of stability, and precarious framing of the scenic.
The scenes of force are not least scenes of thought. Whether in the compulsion to think, in Beckett’s combinations, Bernhard’s corrections and famed inquit formulas (“he thought”), Jelinek’s tautologies, or the “peristaltic character of thought” in the work of Schwab, thinking appears as a scenic force, whereby not only new possibilities for analyzing thought processes open up, but the scenic also obtains an epistemological dimension.