This article analyzes how paratactic and multisensory narrative strategies in Peter Weiss’s novel Die Ästhetik des Widerstands (1975–81) contribute to the novel’s project of an aesthetics of resistance for future reference. The narrative mode of the novel emphasizes situated and embodied future acts of reading that generate new historical linkages and orientations across temporal, geographic, and medial gaps. Weiss’s novel mediates twentieth-century history of antifascist resistance with a perspective attuned to multiple possibilities inherent in historical instances. Furthermore, by sensitizing its recipients to differentiated ways of engaging with textual gaps, the novel presents itself as a medium of historical orientation toward futures not articulated in the text itself. The novel’s implied future readers share the novel’s concern with emancipation of the oppressed, but the protocols of reading suggested in the novel also imply that these future readers may interrupt overly rigid historical narratives that may prevent emancipation in specific contexts. The novel remains relevant because of both its historical material and its sophisticated form, which explores aesthetic mediation of experience and relational narrative strategies without losing the sense of historical materiality and without subsuming experience within a concept of a self-enclosed subject.
For Future Reference: A Twenty-First-Century Reading of Peter Weiss’s Poetics of Parataxis and Scenes of Walking
Kaisa Kaakinen; For Future Reference: A Twenty-First-Century Reading of Peter Weiss’s Poetics of Parataxis and Scenes of Walking. New German Critique 1 November 2022; 49 (3 (147)): 93–112. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-9965332
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