Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

The crucial importance of Swedish language and Swedish exile in the aesthetic renewal of modernism in the literary works of Peter Weiss

Ämne: Litteraturvetenskap
Projektledare: Ola Holmgren
Startår: 2010
Projekttyp: Projekt

For more than 10 years Peter Weiss wrote as well in Swedish as in German, and apparently the real importance of the Swedish language in his career has been neglected in Germanistic studies. Even though the Swedish exile has its given place in the growing research concerning Peter Weiss, the significance of his encounter with the Swedish language has not been fully realized.

What consequences did it have for his return to the German language, for the ”micro novel Der Schatten des Körpers des Kutschers (1960), then for the autobiographical tale Abschied von den Eltern (1961), for the seminal drama Marat/Sade (1964) and finally for his grand novelistic project Die Ästhetik des Widerstands (1975-81)?

The Swedish language gave Peter Weiss experimental possibilities to articulate new forms of aesthetic experience. It is of decisive importance that he wrote and articulated his earliest memories of childhood in Swedish at the same time as he underwent psychoanalysis. In a psychoanalytical sense the mother tongue of Peter Weiss can be understood literally. Therefore, paradoxically enough, he came to use the foreign Swedish language as his own liberating language.