The Critical Writings of Ingeborg Bachmann
Title Details

370 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House

The Critical Writings of Ingeborg Bachmann

by Ingeborg Bachmann

Edited and translated by Karen R Achberger and Karl Ivan Solibakke

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The first English translation of the essays, lectures, and other critical writings of the celebrated Austrian poet, novelist, and public intellectual, one of the most influential postwar writers in German.
The Austrian Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1973) is one of the most important postwar writers in German. Her work is enmeshed with the intellectual and cultural developments of the period: she was influenced by European modernism in the early 1950s, experienced the sweeping changes of the 60s, and worked until her death in 1973 on her celebrated and sprawling "Todesarten" (Ways of Death) project, on the decades following National Socialism. Her poetry and prose confront what she called "the sickness of our time": the subtle connection between patriarchal society, catastrophic history in the form of National Socialism, and the subjugation of the Other. Even during her lifetime, Bachmann achieved a prominent position in postwar German-language literature. Interest in her literary output increased sharply in the early 1980s with the publication of the first edition of her works, and has been growing steadily ever since.
Bachmann's impact on German literature is comparable to that of Virginia Woolf on English literature. Just as an appreciation of Woolf's poetic oeuvre, and that of other women writers, is impossible without reference to "A Room of One's Own," the critical writings of Bachmann enhance our awareness of not only her own works, but also those of many other writers, philosophers, and artists. As the only translation of Bachmann's essays, lectures, speeches, and theoretical texts into English, The Critical Writings will be a valuable tool for students of Comparative Literature and German literature and cultural studies.
Notes on Translation
1: Autobiographical Writings and Intimate Reflections
Biographical Note
Group 47
Attempt at an Autobiography
On Giuseppe Ungaretti
Witold Gombrowicz
2: Philosophy
The Vienna Circle: Logical Positivism-Philosophy as Science
Ludwig Wittgenstein-A Chapter of the Most Recent History of Philosophy
Logic as Mysticism
The Sayable and the Unsayable
3: Modern Literature
Franz Kafka: Amerika
Into the Millennium
The Man Without Qualities
The World of Marcel Proust: Views of a Pandemonium
Playing Watten and Other Writings (On Thomas Bernhard)
An Attempt
Bertolt Brecht: Preface to an Anthology of His Poetry
The Bell Jar / The Quintessential Horror (On Sylvia Plath)
4: Visual Rhetoric and Poetics
What I Saw and Heard in Rome
The Love of God and Affliction: The Path of Simone Weil
On the Trail of Language
To What End Poems?
On the Genesis of the Title "In Apulia"
The Poem Addressing the Reader
5: Music
Wondrous Music
Music and Poetry
Genesis of a Libretto
Hommage à Maria Callas
Notes on the Libretto
6: The Frankfurt Lectures and Other Speeches
Truth is Within Human Reach (Acceptance Speech for the Radio Play Prize of the German Union of the War Blind)
The First Frankfurt Lecture: Problems of Contemporary LiteratureI. Questions and Pseudo-Questions
The Second Frankfurt Lecture: On Poems
The Third Frankfurt Lecture: Concerning the I
The Fourth Frankfurt Lecture: Names
The Fifth Frankfurt Lecture: Literature as Utopia
On Receiving the Anton Wildgans Prize

KAREN R. ACHBERGER is Professor of German at St. Olaf College.

Karl Ivan Solibakke is Associate Professor of German and Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for Budget and Long-Range Planning at Syracuse University.

"Though best known today for her poems and novels, Bachmann was a serious student of philosophy, an incisive essayist, and an influential commentator on Europe's postwar intellectual and artistic scene. [This] new volume of her critical writings . . . makes this other dimension of her work available to readers in English for the first time. . . . [T]hough Bachmann felt language to be an obstacle to the full expression of being, only when immersed in it does she feel herself. Achberger and Solibakke help us to see behind this self-imposed curtain. . . . The Critical Writings remind us that Bachmann's utopian pursuit, though cut short, aimed for so much more - and that amid the collapse of proofs in our own day, the salvo of the future remains ours to write." Peter Filkins, The Boston Review



May 2021


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Title Details

370 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House