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  1. Bild und Leidenschaft
    Published: 18.01.2017

    This experience, listening to the radio version of "The Green Hills of Earth" was the first form in which I encountered a problem that in the following years continued to haunt much of the work I have done ever since. This problem has a double... more

     

    This experience, listening to the radio version of "The Green Hills of Earth" was the first form in which I encountered a problem that in the following years continued to haunt much of the work I have done ever since. This problem has a double aspect, since it involves both 'the visibility of the invisible' and, inseparably linked to it, that of the 'invisibility of the visible'. Far from excluding each other, as opposites are commonly expected to do, 'visibility' and 'invisibility' seem here to be inextricably linked, although not simply the same. The prominence, in the story, of repetition and recurrence, indeed of doubling, suggests that another term should be introduced to describe this curious relationship of non-exclusive opposition, that of 'divisibility'. Visibility divides itself into what is visible and what is invisible. And given the fact that this is also a question of life and death, of living and dying, the process of divisibility can be said to produce not just appearances, but 'apparitions' (which in English, unlike its 'false friend' in French, signifies 'ghosts' and not just appearances). Listening to the radio in that darkened bedroom, I think what I experienced was something like the apparition of such divisibility, by which the invisible seemed to become visible, but only by making the visible invisible. Much later I learned that this was a phenomenon - if one can call it that - quite familiar to philosophers and aestheticians who generally tried to interpret it with the use of words such as "fantasy" and "imagination": what Kant, for example, in 'Kritik der reinen Vernunft' calls "productive" as distinct from "reproductive imagination", which does not merely reproduce what one sees but which produces representations of things that were never seen (and perhaps could never be seen). But I never felt that such concepts were capable of accounting for the strange capacity of those invisible 'images' to produce feelings whose intensity seemed in direct proportion to their indistinct and relatively indeterminate - non-objective - quality.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Part of a book
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-3-7705-5006-7
    DDC Categories: 791
    : Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  2. Benjamin's "-abilities" : mediality and concept formation in Benjamin’s early writings
    Published: 11.11.2016

    Although Walter Benjamin was never timid when it came to writing, one practice he consistently avoided was that of creating neologisms. It is therefore with all the more reluctance that I find myself compelled to resort to something similar, in order... more

     

    Although Walter Benjamin was never timid when it came to writing, one practice he consistently avoided was that of creating neologisms. It is therefore with all the more reluctance that I find myself compelled to resort to something similar, in order to sum up a motif that has imposed itself over the years in my reading of Benjamin. What is involved is, to be sure, not exactly a neologism, since it does not involve the creation of a new word, but rather the highlighting of a word-part, a suffix (eine Nachsilbe). In English, to be sure, this suffix, when spoken, is indistinguishable from a word: what distinguishes it from a word is not audible, but only legible: a hyphen, marking a separation that is also a joining, a 'Bindestrich' that does not bind it to anything in particular and yet that requires it to be bound to something else. The suffix in question thus sounds deceptively familiar, since it coincides, audibly, with the word "abilities". However, unlike that word, its first letter - which purely by accident happens to be the first letter of the alphabet--is preceded by a dash. When written in isolation, this gives it a somewhat bizarre appearance, to be sure, since suffixes are not usually encountered separately from the words they modify. But this bizarre appearance pales when compared to its German 'original'. If the book of essays to be published in English under the title, "Benjamin’s -abilities," is ever translated into German - "back" into German I was tempted to write, since German here is of course the language in which Benjamin wrote and in which I generally read him - then its title, were it to be entirely faithful to the English, would indeed have to involve the creation of a neologism. For translated back into German, the German title would require its readers to "read, what was never written", namely: "Benjamins -barkeiten" (written, "Bindestrich- b--kleingeschrieben").

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-3-7705-4637-4
    DDC Categories: 800; 809
    : Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen