Memoriales Schreiben und Phänomene der literarischen Erinnerung bei Walter Benjamin, Ernst Jünger und Friedo Lampe

Thumbnail Image
Publication or External Link
Rudolf, Katharina
Beicken, Peter U
This study introduces the concept of "memoriales Schreiben" (`memorial writing') as a literary mode that differs from the chronological narratives of traditional autobiographies. In the Introduction, I place "memoriales Schreiben" in the context of the theories of memory, including Maurice Halbwachs's "kollektives Gedächtnis" (`collective memory') and Aleida and Jan Assmann's "kulturelles Gedächtnis" ('cultural memory'). Examining the literary modes and techniques of remembering and narrating memories and focusing on "Gedächtnisarbeit" (`memory work'), and "Gedächtnisräume" ('spaces of memory'), I discuss works by three authors who share many generational experiences although their works left very different marks on German literature and culture: Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), Ernst Jünger (1895-1998), and Friedo Lampe (1899-1945). Chapter One analyzes Benjamin's Berliner Chronik and Berliner Kindheit um neunzehnhundert. As the revising of these childhood memories evidences, Benjamin's "memoriales Schreiben" transforms the autobiographical into a `memory work' that reflects the intersection of personal story and general history. Chapter Two examines Jünger's output after his initial WWI diary turned narrative, In Stahlgewittern. Works such as Afrikanische Spiele and Das Abenteuerliche Herz reveal fictionalized autobiographical material while Auf den Marmorklippen deals with cultural and contemporary memory. Chapter Three investigates Lampe's two novels and some short stories printed despite the Nazi publishing restrictions. His `memorial writing' serves as a cultural recollection of times that faded from memory during the Nazi period. As different as these authors are, their `memorial writing' transcends the mere autobiographical by entering the `space of memory' with perceptions of their environments and reflections on the movements of history. While there are similarities and dissimilarities in the `memory work' of these authors, I have focused on the literary transformations of the memories portrayed: Benjamin's `memorial writing' is "geschichtsphilosophisch" (`historio-philosophical'); Jünger's `memorial writing' transforms his autobiographical adventures into literary `memory work'; Lampe's `memorial writing' claims a subjective space at a time of historical marginalization. Finally, the literary `memory work' of all three authors still needs to enter the public and collective memory.