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Suffering as the Embodiment of the Sacred in Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s "A Letter" and "Tale of the 672nd Night"
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2018 (English)In: Anthropoetics, ISSN 1083-7264, E-ISSN 1083-7264, Vol. 24, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Eric Gans’s theoretical framework, the sacred may be seen as a ritualised re-enactment of the inaccessibility of the appetitive object. This set-up calls attention to more formalised situations in which the separation of the profane and the sacred are upheld. Drawing on the work of C. Jason Throop, as well as Gans, the present article attempts to trace the blurring of this distinction in terms of embodied suffering in two short stories by fin de siècle author Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Throop highlights the encounter with the sacred not only in terms of an experience of a limit or a zone of the unknowable, but also as a phenomenological transformation of aspect (what Wittgenstein called “aspect-dawning”). This experiential conversion in itself obscures a clear line of demarcation between the sacred and the profane. In Throop’s words, the instants focused on are “moments in which the reality of our singularity, vulnerability, and finitude is made manifest. The seeds for such forms of phenomenological modification are also found in more mundane, profane, and everyday experiences. This includes everyday experiences of pain and suffering”. The article analyses literary manifestations of phenomenological modifications that display the suffering of the lack of adequate language as manifestations of the sacred in the fiction of Hofmannsthal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 24, no 1
Keywords [en]
anthropology, phenomenology, Throop, sacred, suffering, Hofmannsthal, language, paradox
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
English; Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-162249OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-162249DiVA, id: diva2:1264459
Available from: 2018-11-20 Created: 2018-11-20 Last updated: 2018-11-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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