Killing Time: Waiting Hierarchies in the Twentieth-Century German Novel

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1st Edition

240 x 160 mm. 264pp ... [In stock in Australia, for immediate delivery]

Killing Time explores how seven prominent German and Austrian novelists of the 20th century - Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Anna Seghers, Uwe Johnson, Ingeborg Bachmann, Wolfgang Hilbig, and Marlene Streeruwitz - conveyed their literary figures' time spent waiting. By presenting states of waiting as emblematic of human existence in the turbulent 20th century, these writers criticised hierarchical power structures in various historical contexts.

Killing Time presents fresh readings of seven German-language novels, while providing insights into how and why German and Austrian writers repeatedly turned to the waiting motif to expose the injustices inherent in interpersonal, political, and social hierarchies.

In investigating the treatment of waiting in literary texts, William re-examines how prominent philosophers of metaphor and time influenced German and Austrian writers of the past century. This study is underpinned in part by the work of cultural and social theorists who have emphasised how the liminal status of the subjugated within social hierarchies ensures that they are kept perpetually waiting.

In addition to outlining how hierarchical relations are particularly significant to the interpretations of seven representative novels throughout the 20th century, the present analysis focuses on the metaphorical language and narrative strategies employed by these authors to express the subjective temporal experience of waiting. The hierarchies of waiting and servitude in German and Austrian literature are expressed through a variety of metaphors that reveal entrenched conceptualisations of power structures and notions of temporality.

Time is conceived of in most Western languages as a variably flowing or moving entity (expressed by way of metaphors such as 'time flies' or 'time flows'), yet also as a static, immanently empty object that must be filled (expressed via such metaphors as 'filling the hours'). Literary representations of time spent waiting confirm that this and other contradictions in temporal perceptions plague the exploited and the underprivileged, whose time is regularly 'killed' by external forces.

This study elucidates ways in which writers' portrayals of waiting reflect contemporary scientific and technological developments, which have changed how waiting time is perceived and to what extent it is tolerated. A close examination of the literary use of conceptual metaphors documents these changing perceptions and their effects on the oppressed.

Jennifer Marston William is Associate Professor and Chair of German at Purdue University.
^ Literary Criticism ^


SKU 9780838757413
Barcode # 9780838757413
Brand AUP
Artist / Author Jennifer MARSTON WILLIAM

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