Hier Ist Keine Frau [No Woman Here]: Sex, Sight, and the Body between Ingeborg Bachmann and Jean Baudrillard
83 Pages Posted: 26 May 2017
Date Written: March 25, 2001
This is the thesis I submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.Phil. in European Literature at Oxford University in 2001. It is an investigation of the body in the works of the Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann and the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard. The thesis focuses on Bachmann's poems in Ich weiß keine bessere Welt, her novel Malina, and the short story “Undine geht.” Baudrillard’s texts Simulacres et simulation and Le crime parfait provide a significant theoretical intersection with Bachmann’s writings, insofar as they interrogate techniques of representation and their effects on cultural memory and human interaction. The crucial questions are the relationships among sex, sight, and the body, and the attendant questions of memory, sexuality, and representation. Le crime parfait in many ways is a text about the disappearance of women, and how that disappearance has been effected by and through, among other things, the mass media. This is not, of course, a literal disappearance, but rather an ideological extermination, paradoxically executed in the image of woman herself. Bachmann’s meditations on and strategies around the burden of the (female) body, and the related questions of sexuality and suffering, will be the primary focus of this study. Bachmann’s techniques of dis-embodiment, acorporeality, identification across ethnic, religious, and biological lines (i.e., identification with animals), are viewed as an anticipatory engagement with, possible means of resistance against, and correction for Baudrillard’s theorizations on the replacement of history and the memory of suffering with a mass produced media loop.
Keywords: Ingeborg Bachmann, Jean Baudrillard, postmodernism, poetry, philosophy, feminism, literature, feminist philosophy, feminist literary criticism
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