• Interventionen: Die Dichtung Paul Celans

    Author: Michael Levine

    Klosterman, 2022.

    Michael Levine's Interventionen takes as its point of departure critical moments in the life and work of Paul Celan: the birth and death of his first-born son François in 1953; the traumatic structure of Georg Büchner's work around which the 1960 Meridian address turns; the poems addressed in 1968 to his second son Eric composed at a time of personal and political crisis during which the poet saw himself compelled to choose between his child and his poetic vocation; and the Jerusalem poems written after the »caesura« of his 1969 trip to Israel. Seeking to orient himself in these times of crisis, Celan also and above all endeavored to keep time open. For only through such openings, only by letting time itself open, could »that which is most proper, most other, be given a chance to speak.« Because access to this ownmost otherness of poetic speech is never direct, it is necessary to approach it in a roundabout manner – by way of the dense intertextual networks in which Celan’s poems are enmeshed and via the responses to it by such eminent scholars as Bernhard Böschenstein, Jacques Derrida, Werner Hamacher, Stéphane Mosès and Thomas Schestag.

  • Geburt der Avantgarde: Emmy Hennings

    Author: Nicola Behrmann

    Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2018

    Geburt der Avantgarde (Birth of the Avant-Garde) traces the contribution of Emmy Hennings (1885-1948), Expressionist poet and Dada performer, and reevaluates the interdependency between avant-garde and archive, art movements and historiography. The consideration of Hennings’ confessional narrative and a critical analysis of the avant-gardes’ founding gestures reveal the degree to which any art movement, particularly in its self-declaration as anti-art, remains dependent on those very figures that it has sought to repress or undermine.

  • Atomzertrümmerung

    Author: Michael Levine

    Atomzertrümmerung: Zu einem Gedicht von Paul Celan, Turia + Kant, forthcoming Spring 2018.

    Benjamin sprach im Passagen-Werk von einer »Methode der Atomzertrümmerung«, die diejenigen »ungeheuren Kräfte der Geschichte« freizulegen vermag, welche im »›Es war einmal‹ der klassischen Historie« neutralisiert werden sollen. Michael G. Levine überträgt diese Methode auf ein Gedicht von Paul Celan, »Die Silbe Schmerz«, und er zeigt, wie die ungeheuren Kräfte der Geschichte sich mit denjenigen der Dichtung kreuzen. Es entsteht daraus eine vielstimmige aber konzentrierte Meditation über das, was an beiden, jenseits von humanistischen Phantasien und ästhetischer Ideologie, als »zeit-los« bezeichnet werden kann. Mit seiner »Versenkung ins Detail« schreibt sich Levine in eine Reihe von Arbeiten ein, in denen Autoren wie Jean Bollack, Werner Hamacher, Martine Broda, Peter Szondi und Jacques Derrida eine Praxis des intensiven, eindringlichen und einschneidenden Lesens der Dichtung Celans ausgebildet haben.

  • Emmy Hennings, Gefängnis, Das graue Haus, Das Haus im Schatten

    Author: Nicola Behrmann

    The first volume of the Annotated Edition of the works and letters of Expressionist and Dadaist writer Emmy Hennings has appeared: Emmy Hennings, Gefängnis, Das graue Haus, Das Haus im Schatten. Co-edited by Professor Nicola Behrmann and Christa Baumberger, the volume combines three Hennings’ novels on the traumatic experience of imprisonment. It rediscovers her as one of the most impressive women writers in the early 20th century German literature (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag 2016).

  • Emmy Hennings Dada (Zurich: Scheidegger & Spiess)

    Author: Nicola Behrmann

    Professor Nicola Behrmann together with Christa Baumberger also published Emmy Hennings Dada (Zurich: Scheidegger & Spiess).

    The book offers a new take on the history of the Dada movement in Zurich and contains many archival documents, photographs, and biographical information. For their editorial work, the authors received the Award "Schätze heben" by the Swiss foundation Migros Kulturprozent.

    Three Rutgers students and Aresty Research Assistants—Camille Lathbury, Kelsey Haddorff, and Fiona Wong—worked closely with Professor Behrmann to complete research in German on the book. Check out a recent radio interview with Professor Behrmann on DeutschlandradioKultur.

  • Das unerhörte Wort: Antisemitismus in Literatur und Kultur

    Author: Martha Helfer

    Das unerhörte Wort: Antisemitismus in Literatur und Kultur (Wallstein, 2013) [German translation of The Word Unheard].


  • A Weak Messianic Power

    Author: Michael Levine

    A Weak Messianic Power: Figures of a Time to Come in Benjamin, Derrida and Celan, Fordham University Press, 2013.

    In his famous theses on the philosophy of history, Benjamin writes: “We have been endowed with a weak messianic power to which the past has a claim.” This claim addresses us not just from the past but from what will have belonged to it only as a missed possibility and unrealized potential. For Benajmin, as for Celan and Derrida, what has never been actualized remains with us, not as a lingering echo but as a secretly insistent appeal. Because such appeals do not pass through normal channels of communication, they require a special attunement, perhaps even a mode of unconscious receptivity. Levine examines the ways in which this attunement is cultivated in Benjamin’s philosophical, autobiographical, and photohistorical writings; Celan’s poetry and poetological addresses; and Derrida’s writings on Celan.

  • The Word Unheard: Legacies of Anti-Semitism in German Literature and Culture

    Author: Martha Helfer

    The Word Unheard: Legacies of Anti-Semitism in German Literature and Culture, Northwestern University Press, 2011.


  • The Belated Witness

    Author: Michael Levine

    The Belated Witness: Literature, Testimony, and the Question of Holocaust Survival, Stanford University Press, 2006.

    The Belated Witness stakes out an original place within the field of recent work on the theory and practice of literary writing after the Holocaust. Drawing in productive and unsettling ways from converging work in history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literature, the book asks how the events of the Holocaust force us to alter traditional conceptions about human experience, as well as the way we can now talk and write about such experiences. Rather than providing a mere account of an outside or inside reality, literature after the Holocaust sets itself a more radical task: it testifies to unspeakable experiences in a specific mode of address, a call or summons to another in whose sole power resides the possibility of a future response to such testimonies of world-historical trauma.

  • Speculating on the Moment

    Author: Nicholas Rennie

    Speculating on the Moment, Wallstein; First Edition (2005)