20 Feb 2017
The Irony Monster
Irony, here, does not mean a rhetorical figure or a manner of speaking but refers to a configuration of events we have come to call ‘tragic irony’, a course of events in which the very action taken to avert catastrophe makes it happen all the more surely. Both literature and myth return to such configurations over and over again: Oedipus in Ancient Greece, the Book of Job, or Kleist’s Penthesilea may serve as examples.
While Greek antiquity and Biblical monotheism developed distinct strategies to contain or tame the Irony Monster’s force, modern agnosticism has no defense against it since its fitful courtship of the metaphysical has itself become ironic and thus devolves into perpetual oscillations. The talk will demonstrate this process through a reading of Kleist’s drama Amphitryon.
Silke-Maria Weineck is professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Michigan. She has published three books that investigate the relationship between antiquity and modernity and the persistence of religious figuration in secular systems: The Abyss Above: Philosophy and Poetic Madness in Plato, Hölderlin, and Nietzsche (2002), The Tragedy of Fatherhood: King Laius and the Politics of Paternity in the West (2014), and, co-edited with Victor Caston, Our Ancient Wars: Reading War Though the Classics (2016).
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Organized byICI Berlin
Video in EnglishFormat: mp4
First published on: https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/silke-maria-weineck/
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