Literary Value and Sublime Irrelevance in Judith Hermann's Summerhouse, Later: Stories"

Dr. Steven James Joyce
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In this contemporary German writer's critically acclaimed work, 'Summerhouse, Later: Stories,' modernity, still in its adolescence, colors the sensibility of the narrator, who attempts to piece together the lives of her characters caught in the flux of history, memory, and oblique desire. However, there are many pieces missing as characters seek to correct misalignments of love and emotion, desire and fulfilment. The fragmented, poetic, introspective world of the characters reveal a number of dislocations that mark the desire to transcend the brutal confusions and emptiness of the modern world by employing a kind of ennui as a naïve life philosophy. Hermann's work raises provocative epistemological questions about the limit, legitimacy and value of the knowledge conveyed by the literary work of art. I hope to extend the discussion of the work of this contemporary German writer by referring to authors and essayists who have wrestled with the topic of the relevance of the humanities, and in particular the relevance and importance of literature and philosophy. I intend to discuss authors ranging from Plato to John Henry Newman ("The Idea of the University"), to Allan Bloom ('The Closing of the American Mind') to broach fundamental questions centering on the significance of contemporary literature.

Keywords: Judith Hermann, epistemology, humanities, literary knowledge, German literature
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Literary Value and Sublime Irrelevance in Judith Hermann's 'Summerhouse, Later: Stories'

Dr. Steven James Joyce

Associate Professor of German, The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University-Mansfield

Steven Joyce, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1988. Interests: Thomas Bernhard, G.B. Shaw, literary theory, translation. Scholarly Book: Transformations and Texts: G. B. Shaw's Buoyant Billions, Camden House, 1992. Courses taught: German 101-104; comparative studies 201, 203, 306, 367; English 378. 1988, 2000 recipient OSU-M Outstanding Teaching Award; 1996 OSU-M recipient Excellence in Research Award. Articles on Thomas Bernhard, G.B. Shaw, Christa Wolf, T.C Boyle, Michael Ondaatje, Calvino.

Ref: H05P0077