The Nameable and the Unnameable. Hofmannsthal's 'Der Schwierige' Revisited

Edited by Martin Liebscher, Christophe Fricker, and Robert von Dassanowsky
1 June 2011
244 × 170 mm
219 pp
Paperback: 978-0-85457-227-4
This volume presents a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary re-evaluation of Hofmannsthal's most successful play and, more widely, on his contribution to literary modernity and its aftermath . Der Schwierige marks Hofmannsthal's attempt to depict and overcome the language crisis he himself recognized in the 'Letter' to Lord Chandos. Written between 1909 and 1920, the play reflects Hofmannsthal's experience of the atrocities of war, unnameable but constantly present behind the chatter in the Viennese salons. The volume looks at the relationship between poetological and poetic texts, and sheds new light on the position of Der Schwierige in Hofmannsthal's work. Contributions address central motifs of the play (community, identity, gender) as well as the way in which it positions itself as a tragic comedy after the end of a catastrophic war. Translations into other languages, its performance on stage and on screen, philosophical reception, and Hofmannsthal's reaction to the downfall of the Habsburg Empire and his views on the role of marriage, are recurrent themes that are investigated from various perspectives.

Table of contents: 
Martin Liebscher, Christophe Fricker and Robert von Dassanowsky: Introduction
Rüdiger Görner: Von Schwierigkeiten und Hofmannsthals lustspielhaftem Umgang damit
Stephan Kraft: Hugo von Hofmannsthals Schwieriger, die Ironie und die Suche nach einem festen Grund: Ein Versuch, sich am eigenen Schopf aus dem Komödiensumpf zu ziehen
John Warren: The Play Performed: Max Reinhardt's Productions of Der Schwierige and the Critics
Michael Collel: 'Sich-Festkrampeln': Der Schwierige im Kontext des Hysteresis-Effekts - Ein neuer Interpretationsansatz?
Ben Hutchinson: 'Ah, diese chronischen Mißverständnisse!' The Hermeneutics of 'Understanding' in Der Schwierige
Caitriona Ní Dhúill: A Woman Proposes: Embattled Masculinity and Female Desire in Der Schwierige
Maximilian Aue: Inszenierte Absichtslosigkeit. Zur Funktion des Furlani in Hofmannsthals Der Schwierige
Hans Hahn: Hans Karls Schwierigkeiten - neu überdacht?
Jörg Kreienbrock: Nuancierte Wörter aus der Fremde
Robert Vilain: Losses in Translation? French and English Versions of Der Schwierige
Alexander Stillmark: Art and Artificiality. Translating Der Schwierige
Robert von Dassanowsky: Post-Chandos, Post-Imperial and Pre-Sound: The Cinematic Influence on Der Schwierige
Ruth Neubauer-Petzoldt: Die Kunst der Konversation. Hofmannsthals, Fontanes und Dostojevskis panoramatische europäische Literatur
Index of Names