Des Vetters Eckfenster als E. T. A. Hoffmanns poetisch-poetologisches Testament (German Edition)

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The simple truth is that at the core level, we are all spiritual beings of light. Earth Angels are spiritual beings born into physical form. They are born Re earth science - crossword puzzle clue. Red Earth Design, Inc. Ask how we can help you with your WordPress website today! Dostoevsky Studies, New Series, Vol. Thus it makes sense not only that he was acutely aware of the ways in which printed texts were shaping so- ciety, but also that he saw words as acts: as he wrote in , "The word, the word is a great deed!

I use the term "print culture" here as a short-hand way of referring to the complex web of so- cial and economic relations that arise in societies where large numbers of texts are distributed among a broad reading public and "text" for my pur- poses refers simply and narrowly to words on paper.

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Leatherbar- row, ed. Dostoevskii, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii Leningrad, , from an article in Vremia written in response to Katkov's journalism in Russ- kii vestnik. All Dostoevsky citations are from this edition. Charles A. Midway through Crime and Punishment we learn that Raskolnikov, half a year before the moment when the narrative opened, wrote an article entitled "On Crime" and sent it off to a journal. Months later the article was published, but without Raskolnikov's knowledge and in a different journal — where it was then read attentively by the man who would soon be Raskolnikov's interrogator, Porfiry Petrovich.

Clearly, Raskolnikov's text took on a life of its own once he sent it out into the world.

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It is in- structive to compare this plot development with Tolstoy's account, in Anna Karenina, of what it means to print and disseminate a text. Here Levin's half-brother Koznyshev labors for six years on a political- philosophical treatise that he expects will "make a serious impression on society [obshchestvoy The book's publication, however, is met with "ab- solute indifference," its appearance going virtually unacknowledged ex- cept for a single spiteful and petty review. The reception of Koznyshev's book reads almost like a direct refutation of Crime and Punishments in- sistence on print culture's real-world effects: in Crime and Punishment, printed words change everything after all, ideas disseminated in print play a significant role in turning Dostoevsky's main character into a mur- derer ; in Anna Karenina, printed words fall into a void.

Refusing to recognize what Tolstoy clearly represents as the fundamental unreality of what we call print culture, Koznyshev consoles himself for his own book's failure to change the world by focusing on what he repeat- edly claims is the "public opinion" obshchestvennoe mnenie manifesting itself in print in response to the Serbo-Turkish war.

Twenty years ago we would have been silent, but now the voice of the Russian people is Dostoevskii, 6: Tolstoi, Anna Karenina, 2 vols. Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, , 2: Quite characteristi- cally, he is anything but subtle in this debunking effort. Besides depicting the war volunteers as a drunken mob, he has Levin meditate on how ri- diculous it is to believe that "a dozen or so people It is a truism that Dostoevsky's fiction derives from the journalistic writing of his age, and Demons, more than any of his other novels, is a text "ripped from the headlines," a work that could not be any more deeply implicated in con- temporary print culture.

The book's origins lie partly in Dostoevsky's reading of early newspaper reports of the Nechaev affair, the murder of a Moscow student in November 1 by political terrorists. The writing of Demons largely predated detailed press accounts of the infamous crime, but once these accounts appeared in the papers — in July of , after about half the novel had already been serialized — Dostoevsky declared himself well pleased with his success at having imagined the kind of per- son who would be capable of such a crime.

Thus Demons is a product of the environment in which Dostoevsky lived his entire working life, a world where printed texts are part of a vast system of exchange that encompasses and passes around both ideas and money. For a concise discussion of the meanings of "public opinion" in late imperial Russia see Marcus C. At this time Dostoevsky was living in Dresden, but he followed the Russian press almost obsessively. Demons was serialized in The Russian Herald from January through December before being published as a book in We read constant references to pamphlets and tracts, to various newspapers, periodicals, works of literature, books by German positivists, publications smuggled in from abroad, and on and on and on.

The provincial governor is an aficionado of political pamphlets, having amassed "his own private collection of all possible kinds of tracts [proklamatsii], Russian and foreign, which he had been carefully collect- ing since the year 'fifty-nine. By prefacing his novel with the story of Jesus expelling demons from a possessed man and driving them into a herd of pigs and by repeating the reference, rather heavy-handedly, in the book's final section , Dostoevsky reinforces the point that his characters are possessed, or infected, by ideas.

At one point the spread of political texts is explicitly equated — indeed, almost conflated — with the spread of cholera. Dostoevsky's narra- tor gives a characteristically semi-garbled and semi-reliable account of events. He begins with a discussion of the "tracts" proklamatsii re- cently discovered in the area, pointing out that they were "exactly the same ones, it would later be said, that had not long ago been spread about in Kh — province.

Dostoevskii, PSS, Dostoevskii, P5'5', Print Culture and Real Life in Dostoevsky 's Demons 29 mors to newspapers all of them circulating , the narrator then shifts without any hesitation to cholera, an infection which — like the dangerous printed material — is said to come from the factory or perhaps from "neighboring provinces. Thus does the narrator of Demons move seamlessly between dan- gerous texts, dangerous rumors, and dangerous germs.

If one were to judge the whole novel on the basis of passages like this one, one might conclude that Dostoevsky is representing all of print culture as contagion, thereby implying that we would be better off quarantining ourselves from the printed word. In support of such a reading one might recall certain other Dostoevsky texts. Certainly Dostoevsky would not have been the first to make this kind of case against print culture. Gogol for one, who is Dostoevsky's ideological precursor in many important ways, represents the proliferation of printed texts which he associates with Europe and modernity as a kind of disease, both symptom and cause of chaos and cultural decline.

In Selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends , for exam- ple, Gogol describes the products of print culture as "convulsive, sick creations" 8: In the povest' "Rome" , the image of Paris serves to drive home Gogol's view of the print epidemic and its noxious effects. In a city described as "a numberless mixed crowd of gold letters, climbing on walls, on windows, on rooftops and even on chimneys," with "posters thronging everywhere, striking the eye by the millions," printed texts have displaced real life: "reading the enormous pages of [Parisian] The passage in Crime and Punishment reads as follows: "There appeared some kind of new trichinae, microscopic creatures that implanted themselves in people's bodies.

People who were infected immediately became possessed [besnovatye: cf. Never, never before had people considered themselves to be so wise or so unshake- able in the truth as those who were infected. Never had they considered their own judgments, their scientific deductions, or their moral convictions and beliefs to be so infallible. But in fact a reading of Demons as a whole does not support the argument that the narrative equates printed matter with infection — above all because such an argu- ment would imply that Demons represents texts and ideologies as a dis- ease that can be cured, and thus as something escapable.

In fact Dosto- evsky's novel does not invite us to imagine the possibility of a text-free, ideology-free world. Rather, while Demons clearly tells us that bad texts spread bad ideologies, it nonetheless implies that texts are all we have: they are the only reality available to us. We have no choice but to try to make sense of them, sorting wheat from chaff.

I base this conclusion in part on the passage in which Lizaveta Ni- kolaevna proposes to Shatov probably the most sympathetic of the revo- lutionaries that they undertake the publication of what she calls a "useful book. While the passage is not in quotation marks, it appears to represent Liza's project in her own words rather than the narrator's.

Describing the "multitude of stolichnye and provincial newspapers and other journals published in Russia, which report daily on a multitude of events," Liza laments the fact that these texts are not being preserved in a way that will render them accessible and useful. She notes that while "many of the facts that are published produce an impression and remain in the public's memory," they are eventually forgotten simply because "newspapers are everywhere stacked up in cupboards, or turned into trash Many people would like to consult them later, but what a labor it is to search through that sea of pages.

Gogol, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 14 vols. It would be, so to speak, a picture of the spiritual, moral, inner life of Russia over an entire year.


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Liza accepts Shatov's clarification and remains enthusiastic about the un- dertaking. In her implicit conviction that printed texts especially journalistic texts can be taken as a mirror of the nation "a picture of the spiritual, moral, inner life of Russia," "the personality of the Russian people" , Liza reveals her belief in what Benedict Anderson has famously called the imagined communities constructed by reading publics, a belief based in a peculiarly modem view of print culture and its relationship to collective life.

The modem nation's "horizontal" vision of the collective horizon- tal in the sense that it is imagined as a vast fraternal web rather than as a hierarchy relates to what Anderson, citing Walter Benjamin, calls the "horizontal" secular time of modemity. In this conception of time, simul- taneity is not a matter of "prefiguring and fulfillment" as in a Biblical exegete's typological and thus "vertical" conception of time, for example but rather of "temporal coincidence, This pervasive image of the nation as an entity that is defined by fraternal "horizontal" relations does not of course preclude inequality and exploitation in real life.

Anderson, Imag- ined Communities, 7. Anderson, Imagined Communities, Willard Trask Garden City, N. In this context one might also cite Michael Holquist's analysis of Crime and Punishment, in which he argues that the "disjunction be- tween the temporal structure of the novel proper and its epilogue" stems from the fact that "the moment of [Raskolnikov's] conversion results in a diminished significance for chronology.

Print Culture and Real Life in Dostoevsky 's Demons 33 the steady onward clocking of homogeneous, empty time. As a book that will convey "the personality of the Russian people at a given momenf "facts for the whole year," "a description of Russian life for all the year," "a picture of the spiritual, moral, inner life of Russia over an entire year" , this is indeed a text that can be understood as "a complex gloss on the word 'meanwhile. Newspapers and novels — and Liza's project, which shares charac- teristics with both — can be seen as formal embodiments of such a belief Thus Demons underlines the close relationship between these two forms, as if to illustrate Anderson's claim that a newspaper is in effect "a book sold on a colossal scale, but of ephemeral popularity.

Nonetheless the passage offers another way into Dostoevsky's views on print culture, a perspective that undermines the Anderson. Imagined Communities.


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Dostoevsky is, I think, fundamentally sympathetic to Liza's idea, as evidenced immedi- ately by the fact that this idea appears to come to us in Liza's own words, undistorted by the garrulity, contradictoriness, and unreliability that char- acterize the narrator's discourse. Furthermore, if printed texts were conta- gions, we would expect a wholesale rejection of their taint and an effort to contain it or perhaps a relativist assumption that all texts are equal, that is, equally corrupt and corrupting.

Instead Demons seems to endorse, or at the very least not to condemn, a project aimed at disseminating texts even more widely, making them available to as many readers as possible and allowing these readers to judge for themselves. The "usefiil book" Liza proposes will not yield eternal truths, since it will represent the nation only "at a given moment," but it will yield information and meaning — a claim that suggests quite a positive view of how print culture works, or how it might work. Some critics have pointed out similarities between Liza's undertak- ing and Dostoevsky' s own Diary of a Writer, noting that her idea reflects Dostoevsky's belief that "the analysis of seemingly disconnected factual events could tell the discerning eye much about the national life.

I, trans. Kenneth Lantz Evanston: Northwester U. As Charles Moser has written, "Dostoevsky rejected the particular theories advanced by the radicals Therefore we must make do with what we have, and what we have are texts: "[history] is inaccessible to us ex- cept in textual form, and In an letter to Strakhov Dostoevsky wrote, "in every issue of the newspaper, you find reports of the most realistic [deistvitel'nye] as well as the oddest facts.

Our writers see them as fantastic and ignore them. Of course Dostoevsky did not think that newspapers were never inaccurate. Rather, what this statement points to is his conviction that printed words are the "deeds" that create reality itself.

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Demons does not fail to recognize the dangers inherent in this situa- tion and in the wide circulation of print. Dostoevsky makes it abundantly clear that printed texts — even "good" ones, and even in the hands of 32 Moser, "Dostoevsky and the Aesthetics of Journalism," Indeed, one of the key problems in the novel is the extent to which one person's ideas can be judged responsible for another person's actions, a problem that is directly analogous to the questions of intentionality and responsibility raised by the spread of print. How responsible is a writer for what a reader decides to do on the basis of what he or she has read?

Were the authors who influenced Raskolnikov guilty of murder? Demons acknowledges these dangers, yet in the end the novel reflects the convictions of a profes- sional journalist.

When Dostoevsky initially conceived of Demons as a "pamphlet," he signaled his conviction that we have to fight texts with texts. The novel is not the work of someone who would urge us to es- chew print culture, even at its most dangerously ideologized, and retire to the purity of say Yasnaya Polyana, or Rome. In this sense Gogol's heir is not Dostoevsky but rather Tolstoy es- pecially late Tolstoy , who shared Gogol's apophatic leanings and thus his suspicion toward the surfeit of words being generated and circulated in print culture. In What Is Art?

Over and over he cites the mind-numbing numbers: "thousands of lyrics, thousands of long poems, thousands of novels, thousands of dramas, thousands of paintings, thousands of musical compositions"; "if not mil- lions, at least hundreds of thousands of copies are typeset and printed some distributed in the tens of thousands. But in Demons Dostoevsky takes note of the same excess that troubles Tolstoy — what Liza describes as an ever-accumulating "sea of pages," unnavigable in its vastness — in order to propose a way of extract- ing the real meanings that are buried in these pages.

Thus Liza's project affirms the conviction that Tolstoy mocks in the character of Koznyshev, who naively naively, that is, in Tolstoy's judgment believes that in the press "the voice of the Russian people is heard. But with the advent of print technology and wide circulation, the problem becomes especially acute. As one critic has asked, "when one man's idle fantasies become another's rigid faith, is the former responsible for actions the latter may commit in the name of his own ideas?

Dostoevskii, PSS, vol. Tolstoi, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii Moscow: KJiudozhestvennaia literatura, , , Print Culture and Real Life in Dostoevsky 's Demons 37 words are the real world despite their unreliability and their problematic copiousness , in Anna Kareuina printed words have little to do with real- ity. In other words, rather than being a mere ancillary to the conspicuous brothers and their unsightly father, Grushenka is the center the play-maker around whom the others gyrate with their ideas and personalities.