The Germanic Mosaic: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society

By Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay | Go to book overview

in terms of realism, since the manuscript most likely even contains the words spoken while Gesine hands it to Kliefoth. Here storytelling approaches its boundaries, just as Johnson does when he approaches his characters in terms of speculations about their identities. The novel represents only one "draft" version of history.

The sense of continuity and connectedness suggests that the project of the repressionless dialogue has succeeded in creating an emotional security, that is, trust in each other and in the future, which itself is more than uncertain. Therefore the novel is at the same time complete (as a work of literature) and a fragment (as a part of life). In sum, as in the case of the other novels discussed in this chapter, the literary text takes part in the diverse discourses on individual and social connectedness-to do so successfully, the text needs to engage its readers in a creative dialogue. If the readers confront the issue of connectedness within themselves and within their society, then cultural and linguistic diversity neither will be silenced nor will it degenerate into a folklorist attraction, but rather it will be at the heart of consensus in a multicultural society.


NOTES

This article is based in part on the paper "'History Presupposes Memory': Diversity in the Ongoing Project of German Intellectual Life," read at the International Symposium on Germanic Languages and Literatures, Columbus, Ohio, March 15, 1991, and in part on the discussion in Beyond the Zeus Principle. Two Hundred Years of Love and Politics in the Novel (work in progress).

1
Kagan, 1984: 80.
2
Rubinsteins Versteigerung, 22: "Werden uns die Deutschen je ihr schlechtes Gewissen verzeihen?"
3
Versuch über die Pubertät 62: "Begriffe, die wirken wie Säure"; 64: "Das Wort aber. . . . Es ist mein Wort".
4
Der junge Mann, 239: "Die Frau auf der Fähre".
5
Der junge Mann, 241: "aufrichtige Versöhnung".
6
Miller, 1988: 52-53.
7
Der junge Mann, 244: "erotische[s] Denken", "männliche . . . Erkenntnis", "weibliche[s] Gespär".
8
Der junge Mann, 181: "Alles Wissen war weiblich geworden".
9
Der junge Mann, 226: "gefällig 'Modell stand' für eine alte . . . verbrauchte Erfolgsgesellschaft".
10
See also Stoehr, "The Most Common Type of Crime: Child Abuse. Examples from German Literature". "Image of Crime" Conference. Colorado Springs, Colo. March 9, 1991.

-215-

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