"You Cannot Escape Your Moles": The Becoming-Animal of Günter Eich's Late Literary Texts

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Abstract

Günter Eich has been described as one of the last lovers of animals in German literature, and yet the multiple animals in his oeuvre have mostly not been read as diegetic animals, but rather as metaphors. However, it is precisely his later literary animals that break with the metaphoricity of language and draw attention to its limitations. Literary animals, such as the tiger Jussuf in the 1952/59 radio drama of the same name, as well as his enigmatic moles from 1968/70 highlight the pervasive uneasiness that often occurs when one wants to talk about animals and/in literature. <br>By playing with and opposing metaphoricity, Eich’s literary animals create a space of poetic openness which outlines a critique of mechanisms of power as a specific function of animals’ literariness. They portray a world of logocentrism and human practices which they – often quite literally – simultaneously undermine and lay bare. The genres Eich chooses for this task – radio drama, poetry, and prose poems –
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication"You Cannot Escape Your Moles": The Becoming-Animal of Günter Eich's Late Literary Texts
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages45-62
StatePublished - Mar 2018

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