First of all writers are readers, as J.M. Coetzee puts it, especially as they begin to write. Influences and models come into play, but then there is that visceral relationship that shapes matters of language, style and rhythm, creating adjacencies of writing, via affections, desires, often enough obsessions. The deep imprint former writers leave on texts may resonate as a kind of ghostwriting: the literary experience of a disturbing fictional past in the works of a Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett or Thomas Bernhard. Worldly knowledge and literary appreciation quite often merge with an aesthetic sensibility and pleasure. Are writers, as literary critic Harold Bloom has asserted, haunted by an “anxiety of influence”? Are they overcome by literary paternities? Should we not rather suppose that literary proximity and intertextual understanding will strengthen and encourage a writer’s sense of reality, power of language, and order of ideas? The idées reçues of literature can be immensely creative in rewriting and overwriting. They may create a kind of architexture, negotiating and re-presenting the previous work. Robert Walser for example generates the existential density of his writing receiving inspirations from the scripts of Kleist and Büchner that make him a medium of a radically new literature. Or Vladimir Sorokin’s fiction where a kind of reproductive cloning of the classical writers of Russian literature takes hold of the imagination. Finally it is a matter of conjecture what, nowadays, the bulk of previous writings can mean to the younger generations of writers and readers. Well known authors from different countries and cultures are invited to the Mosse-Lectures to present and comment on the literary condition and constituting elements of their work.
with Lothar Müller, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Alfred Döblin: Autor der Unruhe
Thursday, October 30, 2014, 07:30 pm,