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CoverGörner, Rüdiger (Hg.)
Uncanny Similitudes. British Writers on German Literature.

2002 • ISBN 978-3-89129-677-6 · 71 S., kt. · EUR 7,70





This slim but, in symbolic terms, weighty volume is the result of a first-time experiment: Between September 2000 and March 2001 the Goethe-Institut London and the Institute of Germanic Studies organised a special series of five public lectures in which distinguished British writers were invited to reflect on their individual experiences and encounters with German literature. The lectures were not meant to provide academic analyses of specific writers or books, but the speakers were asked to give a personal view of their favourite German authors.
The result was striking, if not puzzling; for none of the writers that kindly agreed to contribute to this lecture series decided to talk about any contemporary German-speaking author.
By the same token, however, one could argue that our contributors discovered in poets like Paul Fleming, Goethe, or Celan, in E.T.A. Hoffmann and Jean Paul uncanny similitudes, or elective affinities, perhaps partly to their own surprise. In so doing however, they introduced these representatives of the German literary tradition as our contemporaries; and this is what makes these papers so fascinating. At the same time they consider the extent of what we have lost in terms of context and aesthetic appreciation which makes it more difficult for us to comprehend all subtleties and shifts of tone in classical texts. Or as Philip Hensher put it in reference to Jean Paul: “Something has narrowed in our responses, and we can only see part of something which was once completely marvellous.”


Table of Contents

Barbara Honrath
Preface: British Writers on German Literature

Rüdiger Görner

Laurence Norfolk
The Hunt for Paul Celan’s Boar

Philip Hensher
On Jean Paul

Patricia Duncker
Hoffmann’s Uncanny Replicant. Freud, Frankenstein
and the Sandman

James Buchan
Goethe’s Riddle: The Winter Journey in the Harz

Michael Hulse
Paul Fleming’s Travails and Graces


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