Die Einrichtung der Literatur

Ulrich Plass and Arne Höcker together compiled and introduced the newest issue of the prestigious Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie. The title of this issue is Die Einrichtung der Literatur, which, on the one hand, refers to literature as an institution and to the institutionalization of literature, and, on the other hand, carries the meaning of the interior design and the furnishings of literature. The interest of the volume is to provide a contribution to the research of the processes and techniques of writing under the conditions of modernity, to shed light on the modern scene of writing understood as an “unstable ensemble of language, instrumentality and gesture” (R. Campe). With the focus on furniture, the volume draws particular attention to the material side of the project of literature, which contributes to its success, or – in the case of modernity – to the successful exhibition of its failure.

Ulrich Plass’s article “Schreibpult, Lampe, Uhr” examines Eduard Mörike’s poetic techniques of writing in the context of a world of disenchanted objects. It compares those of Mörike’s thing-poems that address pieces of furniture. Three aspects are of central concern: the relationship between text and title; the inclusion of the seemingly absent observer into the thing-space of the poem; the technique of inscription as potential dissolution of the rigid duality of frame and framed object. The latter, however, falls short in determining the inscribed object and instead leads to an intertextual opening of the text.

Arne Höcker’s contribution “Artistische Dinge oder Wie man lyrische Gedichte macht” analyzes Gottfried Benn’s scene of writing. In a short autobiographic prose piece from 1952, Benn condenses his writing scene to the technical formula of three desks. Against the backdrop of the artistic program that Benn developed in his famous lecture „Problems of Lyric Poetry“ a year earlier, the article focuses on the instrumental techniques of writing, in which artistic things are shaped and formed and can realize themselves as lyric poetry.

The complete table of contents is available at the journal’s website.