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Klaus Kinski: Erster Liebhaber und Lebenskünstler
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Baltic Languages, Finnish and German, German.
2014 (German)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Klaus Kinski : First Lover and Artist of Life (English)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the relationship between sexuality and actorial artistic creation in the autobiographic writings of the German actor Klaus Kinski (1926-1991). Departing from Socrates’ appraisal of Eros in the Platonic dialogue Symposion, the text confronts two classic theories on sexuality and art: Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland’s book on macrobiotics and vital power (Lebenskraft), The Art of Prolonging Human Life, and Sigmund Freud’s texts on sublimation. Plato, Hufeland and Freud have in common that they see art and sexuality, representing spiritual and carnal life, as rivals. Hence, artistic production has to rely on a renunciation of physical love, either through abstinence or transformation of sexual energy into spiritual creative power.

The case of Klaus Kinski is particularly important, since his literary works seems to resist sublimation of any kind. While devoting himself to libertinage – which he renders in detail – he still succeeds in creating works of art, as an actor and as a writer. The artistic conditions for Kinski the actor, being an active force in control of theatrical objects and means, in contrast to the passive-receptive actor in Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Notebooks on Malte Laurids Brigge, further adds to this particularity. Kinski’s refusal to recognise a rivalry between love and art has its roots in Constantin Stanislavski’s method of acting, in which the task of the actor is to give life to the role by giving it both spiritual and bodily life, having body and mind working together towards the higher aim of theatrical performance. Yet this paradigm of incarnation, as opposed to inspiration, does not apply exclusively to theatrical and performing arts, where the work of art is constituted by the actor’s body. In a text from 1927 about the rhyme, the Austrian writer Karl Kraus proposes an „erotics of language”, in which the ideal Paarung (coupling or mating) implies both the physical act of reproduction, and sonorous combination of two rhyming words, uniting distant spheres or entities. In this sense, Kinski’s ideal coupling can be understood as a joint venture between mind and body, art and sexuality, theatre and life, enabling him to enjoy a frivolous love life without abandoning artistic creation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 28 p.
Keyword [en]
Klaus Kinski, sexuality, artistic creation, acting, K.S. Stanislawski, sublimation (S. Freud), vital power (C.W. Hufeland), Symposion (Plato), Karl Kraus, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (R.M. Rilke)
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104065OAI: diva2:720390
Available from: 2014-06-16 Created: 2014-05-29 Last updated: 2014-06-16Bibliographically approved

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