Congratulations to Prof. Nicola Behrmann, who has been awarded the German Studies Association/DAAD Book Prize
Congratulations to Professor Nicola Behrmann, who has been awarded the 2019 GSA/DAAD Award for Best Book in Germanistik/Cultural Studies for her monograph Geburt der Avantgarde – Emmy Hennings (Wallstein Verlag, 2018)
This year’s German Studiesation prize for the best book in Germanistik and Cultural Studies is awarded to Nicola Behrmann’s Geburt der Avantgarde – Emmy Hennings, published by Wallstein Verlag in 2018. The book establishes Emmy Hennings as a central figure of the avant-garde. Through her, it traces a female genealogy of the movement. Situating Hennings in relation to figures as diverse as Benjamin, Ball, Huelsenbeck, Lasker-Schüler, and Tzara, the book also draws attention to now forgotten women artists. Its theoretically sophisticated, bold, and persistent questioning of the possibilities of literary historiography, the structural exclusion of women from the avant-garde, as well as the role of écriture feminine opens up promising new avenues for future work on modernism. Geburt der Avantgarde carefully reconstructs Henning's biography to question the concept of the archive, its limits, and its potential. By highlighting the fragility of our canon, Nicola Behrmann develops a language to make the scarce traces of Emmy Henning’s presence speak. She reflects on the difficulty of including performance rather than print in our accepted historiographic narratives. The outline of Henning’s contribution becomes visible in the figures of a voice behind the mask, an ephemeral event, a gift. While speaking to a variety of audiences interested in literary studies, media studies, performance studies, inter-arts, gender studies, historiography, and modernism, the book does not sacrifice sophistication for readability: it is highly engaging and eloquent. Above all, it is an example of and a testimony to the sociopolitical and existential relevance of archival humanistic inquiry.