Drawing on historian Dan Diner’s 1988 description of the events of the Third Reich as a “Zivilisationsbruch”, i.e a rupture in civilization, the aim of this conference is to examine how this rupture might be reflected in poetics. Crisis is always also a privileged moment for change and creativity, it designates a period of transition and opens the field for new developments. Adorno’s earlier, and famous, dictum that to write poetry after Auschwitz would be barbaric, as much as it has haunted poetical discourse has also given rise to multifarious poetic and theoretical endeavours directed towards a transformation of the prevailing sense of negativism into artistic/literary acts of resistance against the odds of history. Such challenges have ranged from Peter Weiss's poetics of resistance and Blanchot's l'écriture du désastre to more recent propositions describing certain kinds of literature as acts of "testimony" (Levinas a.o.) and processes of "survival" (Agamben), to mention just a few.
Other responses to the Holocaust were based on the conviction that entirely new beginnings were necessary in order to replace a humanist tradition which had been completely stripped of its credibility, and to address the prevailing sense of a loss of innocence.
While broad interpretations of the conference theme are welcome we are particularly interested in papers which address the following questions:
- Is it now possible to talk about postwar poetics in terms of achievement rather than mere destruction of traditions?
- If so, how can/has this crisis generate/d new potentials?
Contributions from different national literatures and comparatist approaches are welcome.Gert Hofmann (email@example.com)Marko Pajevic (firstname.lastname@example.org)