Germanness, the Nation, and Its Other

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021925/00001

Material Information

Title: Germanness, the Nation, and Its Other
Physical Description: 1 online resource (183 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008


Subjects / Keywords: germanness, germany, nationalism, nationhood, otherness
Germanic and Slavic Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: German thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Germanness, the Nation, and Its Other explores the ways in which postwar German-identified writers and filmmakers construct competing versions of German national identity--which I refer to as 'Germanness'--through their negotiation of exotic spaces and exotic Others. Taking Benedict Anderson?s understanding of the nation as an 'imagined community' as a starting point, I argue that it is precisely in these abstracted 'other spaces' (i.e., outside the bounded geography of Germany) where the imagination of Germanness is most powerful, because the landscapes and people who are 'othered' in these contexts have no recourse to social and political discourse in Germany through which to contest their reification and fetishization. After the introduction exploring theoretical models of alterity, I start my study by examining the ways in which the quintessentially German Heimatfilm was invoked in the fifties to extend the imaginary borders of Germanness into a culturally colonized Hungary by doing a close reading of Kurt Hoffmann's 1955 film, Ich denke oft an Piroschka. In the following chapter I analyze several films by Werner Herzog and show how his portrayals of radical alterity in the exotic jungles of South America continue to contribute to current debates about the proper relations between Germans, non-Germans, and the environment. In the next chapter I examine the negotiation of space and the role of spatiality in construction of German, Jewish, Mestizo, and Catholic identities in the texts of German Argentinean writers.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Alter, Nora M.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021925:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021925/00001

Material Information

Title: Germanness, the Nation, and Its Other
Physical Description: 1 online resource (183 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008


Subjects / Keywords: germanness, germany, nationalism, nationhood, otherness
Germanic and Slavic Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: German thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Germanness, the Nation, and Its Other explores the ways in which postwar German-identified writers and filmmakers construct competing versions of German national identity--which I refer to as 'Germanness'--through their negotiation of exotic spaces and exotic Others. Taking Benedict Anderson?s understanding of the nation as an 'imagined community' as a starting point, I argue that it is precisely in these abstracted 'other spaces' (i.e., outside the bounded geography of Germany) where the imagination of Germanness is most powerful, because the landscapes and people who are 'othered' in these contexts have no recourse to social and political discourse in Germany through which to contest their reification and fetishization. After the introduction exploring theoretical models of alterity, I start my study by examining the ways in which the quintessentially German Heimatfilm was invoked in the fifties to extend the imaginary borders of Germanness into a culturally colonized Hungary by doing a close reading of Kurt Hoffmann's 1955 film, Ich denke oft an Piroschka. In the following chapter I analyze several films by Werner Herzog and show how his portrayals of radical alterity in the exotic jungles of South America continue to contribute to current debates about the proper relations between Germans, non-Germans, and the environment. In the next chapter I examine the negotiation of space and the role of spatiality in construction of German, Jewish, Mestizo, and Catholic identities in the texts of German Argentinean writers.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Alter, Nora M.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021925:00001

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2008 William E. Lehman 2


This dissertation is dedicated to Ernesto Surez and Lee C. Greenoughmay their memory be for a blessing. 3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people have helped me to complete this dissertation. I would first like to acknowledge the abundant help and support of the members of my committee: Nora Alter, Eric Kligerman, Barbara Mennel, and Efran Barradas I would also like to thank Annemarie Sykes for her support during my many, many years as a gra duate student at the Un iversity of Florida. Many thanks as well to Margit Grieb, who not onl y read and re-read everything I have written, but has also given me so much support in ever y other conceivable way. Furthermore, I would like to thank the following for their insufficien tly acknowledged but alwa ys appreciated love, support, and friendship in the last five years: Eduardo Garcia, Stein-Atle Vere, Christian Ulvog, Britta Herdegen, Michael Nussbaum Garvin, Michael Julian, Michael Newman, Oscar, Carmelita, and, last but certainly not least, Milo Schuman. 4


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................................................................................4ABSTRACT .....................................................................................................................................7CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: DEFINITIONS AND THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS .....................9The Nation ................................................................................................................................9The Other ................................................................................................................................12Theoretical Foundations ..................................................................................................12The Processes of Othering ...............................................................................................17Physiology of Otherness ..................................................................................................19Geographical Othering ....................................................................................................22Temporal Othering ..........................................................................................................24Other otherings .........................................................................................................27Processes of saming ..............................................................................................28Who can be othered? ................................................................................................30Real-world Dangers .........................................................................................................32Germanness .............................................................................................................................332 MOVING HEIMAT TO THE EAST: KURT HOFFMANNS ICH DENKE OFT AN PIROSCHKA (1955) ...............................................................................................................40The Complexity of Heimat .....................................................................................................40Piroschkas Heimat Abroad ....................................................................................................44Germany and Eastern Europe ..........................................................................................44German Expellees from Eastern Europe .........................................................................45Piroschka as Heimatfilm ..................................................................................................47Piroschka as Colonial Film ..............................................................................................50Piroschka as Colonial Fantasy .........................................................................................54The Self and Other in Piroschka ......................................................................................55Changes from the Book ..........................................................................................................61Conclusion ..............................................................................................................................623 IMAGINING THE EXOTIC FROM GERMANY ................................................................64Introduction .............................................................................................................................64Filming Germanness in Amazonia and Beyond: Werner Herzogs Jungle Films ..................65Herzogs Inverted Heimat of the Tropics ........................................................................67Elements of Romanticism ................................................................................................69Othering the Jungle a nd its Inhabitants ...........................................................................70The othered landscape ..............................................................................................70The othered animal ...................................................................................................78 5


The othered native ....................................................................................................81The Last Amazonian Virgin ............................................................................................91Art ber Alles .................................................................................................................92Herzogs Ecstatic Truth ...................................................................................................98Herzogs German Vision ...............................................................................................104Writing Germanness in the Jungle: Uwe Timms Der Schlangenbaum ...............................110Native Fantasies .............................................................................................................111The Native as Victim of Nature and Colonialism .........................................................113The Dislocated European ..............................................................................................117The German Other .........................................................................................................119Conclusion ............................................................................................................................1224 IMAGINING THE EXOTIC FROM WITHIN ....................................................................125Introduction ...........................................................................................................................125German Fantasies Inside Argentina: Annette Schenker as German Gaucha ........................126Romanticizing the Stone ................................................................................................127Natures Bad Side ..........................................................................................................128German Gaucha .............................................................................................................130The Nazi Other ..............................................................................................................130City-Country Dichotomies ............................................................................................131German and Jewish in Argentina: Ro bert Schopflochers Elective Affinities .....................132The Centrality of Space .................................................................................................133German and Jewish in Germany ....................................................................................137German and Jewish in Argentina ..................................................................................140Other Spaces, Thirdspaces .............................................................................................142Reclaiming and Rewriting the Remote ..........................................................................149Other Othernesses in Thirdspace ...................................................................................151Generic Hybridity ..........................................................................................................153Schopflocher and Borges ...............................................................................................157The Aleph ......................................................................................................................1605 TOWARD A CONCLUSION: THE FUTURE OF GERMANNESS .................................164Germany in the World ..........................................................................................................164The German and the Environment ........................................................................................165The German Past ...................................................................................................................166The Germanness of the Future: Multicultural Identities? .....................................................167APPENDIX THE MINNE SOTA DECLARATION (HERZOG 1999) .................................170WORKS CITED ..........................................................................................................................171BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................183 6


Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy GERMANNESS, THE NATION, AND ITS OTHER By William E. Lehman May 2008 Chair: Nora M. Alter Major: German Germanness, the Nation, and Its Other explores the ways in which postwar Germanidentified writers and filmmakers construct comp eting versions of German national identity, which I refer to as Germanness, through their ne gotiation of exotic space s and exotic Others. Following Benedict Andersons formulation of the Nation as an imagined community, I argue that it is precisely in these abstracted o ther spaces, outside the bounded geography of Germany, where the imagination of Germanness is most powerful, because the landscapes and people who are othered in these contexts have no recourse to social and political discourse in Germany through which to contest th eir reification and fetishization. After an introduction explori ng theoretical models of a lterity, I start my study by examining the ways in which the quintessentially German Heimatfilm was invoked in the fifties to extend the imaginary borders of Germanness into a culturally colonized Hungary by doing a close reading of Kurt Hoffmanns 1955 film, Ich denke oft an Piroschka In the following chapter I analyze several films by Werner Herzog and show how his portrayal s of radical alterity in the exotic jungles of South America continue to contribute to current debates about the proper relations between Germans, non-Germans, and the environment. In the fi nal chapter I examine 7


the negotiation of space and the role of spatial ity in construction of German, Jewish, Mestizo, and Catholic identities in the texts of German Argentinean writers. 8


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: DEFINITIONS AND THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS The Nation Few markers of identity are more contentious than that of nationa lity, a concept which by its very invocation has the power not only to dr ive people to hate and kill other human beings, but also to selflessly offer their own lives to protect a nations perceived values and institutions. As a mode of self-understanding which is ofte n accepted as natural until challenged with alternative constructions, national identity has sp ecific ways of injecting itself into discourses which often have little to do with issues of nationalism. Just as writers and artists do with the modes of race, class, and gender, they infuse their works with the values and structures of nationality, sometimes critically engaging them and sometimes uncritically re-inscribing and thereby naturalizing them. My intent in this project is to unravel the ways in which German national self-understanding, whic h I will hereafter call Germanness, is inscribed and problematized within various texts and films written (and/or directed) by authors who are in some way identified as German. To be sure, the heated academic debates c oncerning nationalism have at their core the semantic over-determination of the root term na tion. In the English-speaking world, the word appears in its oldest culturally relevant context in the book of Genesis: From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their na tions, each with its own language (Genesis 10:5, New International Version) In this sentence, the words peoples and nations are both translations of forms of the Hebrew word (goyim) which can refer not only to nations, peoples, and ethnic groups ge nerally, but can also denote specifically nonJewish ethnicities. Thus, the c oncept of nationhood, from at least some of its earliest traceable roots in the Western imaginary, incorporates not only ideas of linguistic unity and ethnic 9


A cursory survey of the abundant semantic po ssibilities of the word nation seems to necessitate a delimiting of the term.1 For my purposes, Benedict Andersons concept of the nation as an imagined community, will serve as a point of departure. According to Anderson, nation-ness and its attendant nationalism are cultural artifacts invented in the late 18th Century ( Imagined Communities 4). The product of these artifacts, the nation, he defines as an imagined political community which is both i nherently limited and sovereign (6). Its imaginary status derives not fr om any kind of unreal or made-up nature, but by the fact that in the mind of each of the member s of the nation there resides a kind of image of communion with fellow members, despite the fact that ev en well-connected members of the nation have personal knowledge of only a tiny fraction of the entire population, and that im age is articulated through language. The nation is limited in the fact that it consciously does not (nor, he argues, should it) contain all human beings and sovere ign because it has replaced divinely ordained structures of authority (7). Finally, Anderson calls the nation a commun ity because its members imagine themselves, despite all ev idence to the contrary, to be equal in a strong horizontal solidarity. 1 In English, the terms nation and nationalism most commonly refer to sovereign countries. Yet even the most obvious examples are problema tic: the Soviet Union was not so much a nation as a union of nations, some of whom had autonomous territory (e.g. Russians and Ukrainians), while others (e.g. Germans and Jews) did not. Furthermore, contemporary political and identity movement s such as black nationalism, Nation of Islam, and Queer Nation refer simultaneously to intra and internat ional groupings, whereas terms like Cherokee Nation are understood to denote an ethnic group that commands an autonomous area within a larger country. It has been pointed out that the Western concept of the nation state has been most problematized in the colonized Third Word, where European notions of national borders were imposed upon societies whose borders were fluid. In these contexts, however, the use of the term is often no less ha phazard, as demonstrated in the writings of Edward Said, who in different contexts refers both to Palestinian Nation (The Schultz Meeting) and the Arab Nation (Dignity and Solidarity). 10


Important in Andersons concept of nationhood is that the narratives of the nation take place in homogeneous, empty time, (a concep t borrowed from Walter Benjamin) a temporal frame in which, like in a novel, events which phys ically appear to happ en at different times actually occur simultaneously. Thus, from the (inv ariably) mythological or igins of the nation to the present day, members of the nation are unite d in their simultaneous movement toward the imagined destiny of the nation. The timeless nature of the imagined nation gives the concept its fixity, and stamps national stereotypes with a seal of eternity. Hence, in the national imaginary, the characteristic traits of the German, the Fr enchman, or the Native American, are seen as essential and unchangeable. Drawing on a range of examples, from the wr itings of Karl Marx to the realities of nationalist revolutions in the Far East, A nderson demonstrates how easily artifacts of nationalism can be transplanted. to a great va riety of political and id eological constellations (4). Nationalism is thus removed from its familiar pairing with fascism and other reactionary political movements and shown to have become a premier mode of identification on all points of the political spectrum. Yet the transplantability of nationalism does not only expose the permeability of leftist ideologies to the seducti ve allure of the power of primitive nationalist idea-peddling to mobilize the masses. Nor is it li mited to the imposition of Western nationalizing instrumentsthe map, the census, the muse um, and the flagon tr aditional pr e-capitalist cultureswhich is perhaps colonialisms greatest fait accompli .2 In the course of this project, I will focus on the ways in which the symbols of nationality, the subtle codes of national 2 The universal adoption of symbols and instruments of the nation does not mean, however, that the function of these symbols is strictly national, regional, or even ethnic, particularly in colonized space where Western metrics have been imposed: When Israel evacuated southe rn Lebanon in 2000, the first flags raised were not Lebanese flags, but those of Hezbollah. When Fatah was routed from the Gaza strip in the Summer of 2007 the Palestinian flagthe most recognizable symbol of Pale stinian Nationalismwas replaced in several key locations by the flag of Hamas. 11


belonging, are projected by German wr iters and artists into both their images of self, as well as their depictions of their Other. The Other Theoretical Foundations Like any linguistic construct, the term o/Other not only carries with it various idiosyncratic semantic associations in each of its users and theoreticians, but it also assumes a variable position within individual webs of meaning, such th at its location at an y given point can be neither isolated nor fixed. Thus my attempt in this section, as in the discussion on the nation, will be to meaningfully narrow the interpretive field of this term while acknowledging the impossibility of capturing and delineating its fu ll potential and variability. Indeed, it should become clear that the prescribing a definition to the term is itself a kind of othering, which is necessary yet far from unproblematic. My use and understanding of the term Other is informed by several writers and theoreticians. From a psychoanalytical perspective I will rely in part on th e theoretical work of Jacques Lacan, whose discussion of the mirror st age provides a useful starting point, despite some obvious limitations, which I will discuss below. For me, one of the most important aspects of Lacans conceptualization of the Other is the notion that the infants recognition of Otherness (as well as specific others) pr ecedes recognition of self.3 Thus, the infants recognition of the mother as a complete being gives the mother (or another other) a primary position against which the infant begins to define himself in the Imaginary order as he misidentifies himself as being identical with his mirror imagethat is, his sense of self is already othe red in two ways: it is 3 In my arguments I will also adopt Lacans differen tiation between capital-O Other, which he sees as a central structural position in the Symbo lic order (or Otherness as a concept), and the small-O other, which refers to individual others (or objects) perceived by the self as outside itself. See Klages. 12


subordinated to the other in its belatedness in being (i.e., the other is perceived as chronologically older), and it is derived not in relation to any properties inherent in the infant himself, but in relation to an other which cons ists of that mirror image upon which the infant projects the anticipati on of his own desired wholeness. Another important aspect of Lacans formulation is that the infant seeks to restor e oneness or wholeness to his universe by merging with the original other, the mother. What is of critical importance to me in both the temporal ordering of self/other identification (i.e., other pre cedes self) and in the desire to merge with the other are the ethical implications of such a fo rmulation. If the self fo llows the Other and is derived from it, there is a sense in which it is both subordinated to and dependent upon this other, which is indispensable for the very existence of the self. At the same time, the desire to overcome the isolation that accompanies recogniti on of Otherness through a merging with the Other (in the form of a particular other) require s the continued existen ce of this other. The acceptance of the importance of the Other in the formation of the self, as well as the positioning of Otherness as a center point to which all selves seek (albeit unsuccessful ly) to return, will serve in my project as a basis upon which to propose an ethical model of national identity.4 Although I disagree with Lacans reliance upon hetero-norma tive assumptions about infant sexuality on the one hand, and with the implied applicability of (already problematic) models of individual psychological development to enti re groups of people on the other hand, I think his model can be used in a very basic way as a basis for an ethical understanding (and appli cation) of the process of othering. Yet, however much I might borrow fr om Lacan in the way of terminology and basic 4 This model will stand in contrast to the Hegelian formulation that each consci ousness pursues the death of another, which implies that a synthesis of same and other would entail the annihilation not only of the other but of the self as well. 13


ordering concepts, I am in no way attempting he re to perform a full Lacanian analysis of otherness, as will become clear as the discussion develops. In postcolonial and subaltern studies, the concept of Othern ess is often used to refer exclusively to marginalized groups, both internal to the national body and out side of it. For those who use the term this way, the difference betwee n Same and Other is maintained exclusively through the exercise of direct power. Thus John Davidson, in his analysis of New German Cinema, rejects as fraudulent the postwar Germ an filmmakers attempted othering of the West German (qua European) on the basis that colonize rs, as the exclusive holde rs of power, cannot be othered at all and that any attempt to do so is nothing more than a deception, a false othering (33). Although Davidson recognizes that there ar e power differentials between individual West Germans (and between West German cinema and Hollywood), he claims that these differences are insignificant when compared to the differenc es between the West German (and European) as a type and the (neo)colonized peoples.5 My analysis will show that, at least within the German context, every individual is bound to be both Sa me and Other, and that this dynamic positioning results from the manipulation of both power and what I will call antipower. Davidsons refusal to grant the st atus of Otherness to any and all West Germans is part of a noticeable propensity on the part of several schol ars to tie the use of the term Other to a totalizing ethnographic map where individuals are branded as Same or Other based on their perceived membership in opposing, mutually ex clusive categories (such as Westerner vs. subaltern or man vs. woman). In his preface to Frantz Fanons The Wretched of the Earth (1961), Jean-Paul Sartre employs a Manichean aesthetics of us versus them, which seems to celebrate a supposedly irrevocable, unbridgeable gap betw een the dying world of the European (and by 5 Davidson could hardly be more unambiguous on this matter: The identity of West Germans is not other (33). 14


association the American) and that of the ne wly national post-colonized Other. Russell Berman is correct to criticize Sartres rabid anti-Europeanism and his utter rejection of the Western intellectual tradition (Enlightenment Hu manism) in favor of unf ettered anti-colonialist violence. While Berman is appalled that there is no attendant message of friend, come hither! he fails to fully challenge Sart res totalizing ethnography which s ees every Westerner as always already guilty in the crimes of colonialism due to his (and and presumably her) having invariably benefited from coloni al exploitation ( Enlightenment or Empire 209-211). There is no effort on Sartres part to examine alteri ty within Europe or the Colony (marginal Western identities, or philo-Western subaltern subjects such as W.E. B. DuBois), which, at least in the European context, could easily have yiel ded a more nuanced understanding of existing power relations and challenged the simplistic binarisms of Sartres universalist poetics. These binarisms are no less in evidence in the writings of the classical anti-colonialist Frantz Fanon, who in Black Skin, White Masks first establishes a racial dichotomy (For there are two camps: the white and the black; 8), essentia lizes the poles (The black man wants to be white; 9. There is a fact: White men consider them selves superior to black men.; 10) then fixes it in perpetuity (The white man is se aled in his whiteness. The black man in his blackness; 9). Yet for all the al ienation that this othering seems to imply, Fanon (unlike Sartre) still sees hope for reconciliation. In order to achieve authentic communication the representatives of thes e racial poles must turn their ba cks on the inhuman history of their ancestors, giving up the notions of superiority and inferiority in fa vor of an attempt to touch the other, to feel the other, to e xplain the other to myself (231). Importantly for me, Fanons Other is not equated with the subaltern : although there is a clear (and th erefore problematic) distinction between the worlds of the dominant white and subordinate black man, the appeal for 15


understanding is cast upon each of the men with equal weight.6 The theoretical importance of Fanons work for my project is not limited to its importance in es tablishing an ethical approach to othering (through its appeal to brotherhood an d authentic communicati on), but also because it undermines the idea that the social construction of the Other is the exclusive domain of dominant or colonizing cultures. In The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon writes that Europe is literally the creation of the Third World (96). Yet this formulation is bound to have its critics, as it challenges traditional anti-colonialist understa ndings of subjectivity: Edward Said, for example, calls Fanons formulation a p reposterous reordering of things ( Culture and Imperialism 197). Another example of totalizing Otherness, yet one which seeks to eventually deprive the concept Other of its absolute sense is to be found in Simone de Bea uvoirs essay Woman as Other (de Beauvoir 368). De Bea uvoir writes of woman: She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is th e Absoluteshe is the Other (367). What is interesting about de Beauvoirs pr onouncement is that, for her, woma n is the last in a long line of Others with no recourse to reciprocity: whereas Blacks a nd Jews, though the use of the subject(ive) pronoun we are able to define themselves, and through their separation from Europeans imagine a world without white power (thereby othering whites and subverting the concept of Otherness as the excl usive condition of the subaltern), woman is unable to counter or challenge her alterity in relation to man prec isely because of the powerlessness precipitated by her dispersion among men. De Beauvoirs word ing evokes the diasporic condition as a cause 6 It should be noted that Fanons discussion of wome n is strictly limited to the ways in which women on both sides of the racial divide use and are used by the men on the opposite side. Thus, in describing the process of the othering of the black man, he others women by denying their subjectivity. 16


of permanent othering, which is of interest to me here because, in the texts that I examine, there is indeed a seemingly permanent othering whic h is precipitated by et hnic/national dispersion, albeit one which more closely resembles that of the blacks and Jews to which de Beauvoir refers than that of the woman whose voice has yet to articulate the subject (ive) pronoun we, much less I.7 The Processes of Othering Othering is a process by which difference is established, enun ciated, inscribed, or simply manufactured in the body of the individual, the community, and the nation, the result of which is the differentiation between a Self/Same/One and an Other. Its genealogy reaches back to at least two sources of Western culture, the biblical st ory of creation and to Greek antiquity. In the mythology of biblical creation, the genesis of otherness is traced to a paradoxically pregeographical, pre-temporal point when God shattered cosmic unity and prefigured the transgressions of borders, time, and race, and speech by separating the Earth from the heavens, the Sabbath from the other days, the light from the dark, and, finally, one language from another at Babel. The historical violence of othering is normalized through appeal to the mythological: as Adams helper Eve is formed through the giving of his rib, so does the European master create his colonial servant through the giving of his cult ure. Yet no less violent is the othering of the Self, as the chosen One severs his prepuce to cut himself off from the unchosen Other. Likewise the ancient Greeks, upon whose culture modern Europeans imagine their own culture as being built, saw humanity as being divi ded between the civilized Greek and the rest of 7 It must be acknowledged here that de Beauvoirs understanding of the powerlessness of women, which is predicated on their dispersion among men and the root of their eternal otherness, is inherently heterosexist in nature, as it assumes that it is womens predetermined role to be sexually subjugated to men. In the moment when women join forces and leave this constellation, they gain the same othering power enjoyed by other minority groups. 17


humanity as barbarian Other, an entity seen as inferior by natu re and therefore excluded from all discussion (Goldhill 6). Classical sc holar Moses Hadas puts it succinctly: From Hesiod onwards every classi cal Greek author reflects, with greater or less clarity, the conviction that the Hellenes are the elect and the barbarians their inferiors. The Greeks occupy the center of the world, and their us ages are the norm by wh ich lesser peoples are judged. Solemn proclamations excluded barb arians, along with criminals, from the celebration of the mysteries and from the na tional games. Sacred objects and sites, including the domestic hearth, were rendered unc lean by contact with a barbarian (106). The attitude of the Greeks re garding their others was not, however, unanimous. Although the polis fostered nationalist sentiments in order to mobilize its citizens for war, there were also dissenting voices (like that of Hippocrates) that argued for uni versal human equality (106). Both ancient Greek and Jewish culture shared an explicit veneration of Self over Other: in a saying attributed by ancient Gr eek sources variously to Thales Plato and Socrates, it is supposed to have been stated by one or more of the sages that he regularly thanked Providence for three things: that I was born a human and not a beast; a man and not a woman; a Greek and not a Barbarian (Harrison 110). Eliezer Segal has pointed out that Schopenhauer noticed an uncanny similarity between the Greek thanksgiving and the traditional Jewish morning prayer, which includes the lines who did not make me a Gentile. a slave. a woman (39). The fact that much of Western society sees itself as inheri ting the cultural legacies of both the ancient Greeks and Hebrews lead to questions about the link between th e otherings of ancient civilizations and those of pos t-Enlightenment Europe, which are so often implicated in discourses of imperialism, coloni alism, slavery, and fascism. Some theorists such as Edward Said attribute what they see as a typical, endemic, essential Eurocentrism directly to their cultural inheritance from the Greek re jection of the barbarian ( Culture and Imperialism 28). Kenan Malik has raised the objection that Saids approach is flawed because it essentializes Western culture by representing European history as a series of events which coin cide because of an essential 18


European desire to dominate the non-European Other. In other word s, for Malik, Said enacts the very cultural processes that the latter criticizes by attributing to a unified European culture a kind of inner soul that is consiste nt over thousands of yearspreci sely the argument that proponents of colonialism have used to justify European domination. A study of coloni alism (and the art that is produced in the colonial setting) must take into account that Europe has many faces and histories, a multitude of discourses which compete with the dominant one, and that on a basic level, otherness is not exclusiv ely a European invention. An interesting piece of evidence from East Asia should suffice here: Luther Carrington Goodrich, scholar of Chinese culture, notes in A Short History of the Chinese People that Chinas civilization of the eleventh and twelft h centuries probably outdistanced that of the rest of the world. Her people might rightfully agree with Shao Yung, who is alleged to have said: I am happy because I am a human and not an animal; a male, and not a female; a Chinese, and not a barbarian; and because I liv e in Loyang, the most wonderful city in all the world. The complacency of such an attitude as this, however, engendered the stagnation and defeat for which China later paid dearly. (163) Although there has been sp eculation that the Chinese poet plag iarized the Greek aphorism, many scholars doubt that the dictum actually traveled to China, but insist in stead that it developed independently through the similar philosophical doc trines of ladder of souls (Needham 155). Physiology of Otherness The prospect that a Greek and a Chinese thinke r, each culturally alie nated from the other, could nearly simultaneously invent identical ph ilosophies concerning Sameness and Otherness is hardly surprising, even if it arouses suspicions of plagiarism. The recognition of otherness is not merely a socio-psychological development or a philosophical inquiry; it is the product of a brain function active in all mammals and known to neur oscience as latent inhibition, a preconscious filtering of previously experienced stimuli which the organism finds irrelevant to its existence (Peterson 1137). In other words, cognition of differe nce is a biological adaptation that is essential 19


to human survival. This fact is, of course, obviou s on a certain level, but the implications of it need to be further explored. Jordan Peterson et al have shown that lower levels of latent inhibition are associatedin peopl e with higher IQswith higher le vels of creativity. In other words, the failure of the brain to filter out apparent sameness or irrelevance (or to see otherness and its relevance), a tr ait previously associated with psychotic disorders (Peterson 49), seems in fact to be a facilitator of creative thinking, which was as critical to early human evolution as it is today. Thus, the positive eval uation of the ability to see and recognize the relevance of difference not only implies a rejec tion of Enlightenment/humanist belief in the inherent equality of human beingsit is a proa ctive step toward recognizing the necessity of diversity. As I will show in Chapter 3, the failure of Werner Herzogs jungle heroes to realize their dreams results neither from the imperialist na ture of their projects nor from their abuse of natives, but from their inability to see the inhe rent differences between the landscapes of the Amazon and those of the Western imagination. The human ability to understand otherness is likewise linked to bi ological factors in addition to social ones. Numerous studies, for example, have shown that people of one racial group usually have a harder time remembering faces of those of diffe rent racial groups, a phenomenon known as the same-race-effect (Lindsay).8 Perhaps not surprisingly, people of European decent (white people, to use the rese archers terms) performed consistently worse than those categorized as either (East) Asians or African-Americans in recognition tests. This deficit correlates proportionally to the amount of experience the white subjects reported having with members of other races. Other stud ies have shown, furthermore, that faces are 8 All of the studies cited here attempted to use thei r participants own stated understanding of their own race and those of the faces that they evaluated. There was no attempt to problematize th e use of the term race, but I have nonetheless decided to maintain the wording of the researchers. 20


processed holistically, rather than by individual featur es such as eyes, nose, and mouth (Michel 55). In these studies, the same-race-effect was often still salient, with white subjects again having somewhat more difficulty processing other-ra ce faces than (East) Asians who had lived in the United States for some time. These studies show that, ev en though distinguishing otherness and discovering its relevance is necessary and beneficial to the human species, its practical aspects are often hindered in the Euro-American experience, mo st probably because of a lack of cultural understanding regarding other cultural and ethnic identities and a lack of (positive) experience with them.9 This lack of experience is also com pounded with inter-cultu ral ignorance which leads to misreadings of the faces that we do see. Southeast Asian students, for example, tend to smile (from embarrassment) when scolded, much to the chagrin of their in ter-culturally ignorant teachers. In this study, I will be focusing on how the lack of understanding (rooted in lack of positive experience) concretizes the othering of the non-European (or the non-German), effectively diminishing the possibility of effec tive communication of ideas. For example, in one scene in Herzogs Fitzcarraldo the viewer is presented with th e silent, expressi onless faces of several Indians who have forcefully boarded Fitz carraldos vessel. The Dutch-born captain of the ship claims that You cant tell wh at they really think. His expr ession reveals more than just a colonialist totalizing of native ot herness or a Western insistence on the superiority of European forms of knowledge: through lack of experience with nativesas far as we know, he has never had any face-to-face encounter wi th onehe is simply unable to read the face of the native or to derive meaning from what he can only see as an empty stare. 9 While the studies that I have reviewed have show n that experience with other races correlates to an increased ability to remember and holistically process ot her-race faces, none attempted to differentiate between positive and negative experience with other races, wh ich seems to me to be a crucial component. 21


If, as Simone de Beauvoir has so succinctly stated, the category of the Other is as primordial as consciousness itself and Otherness is a fundamental category of human thought (Quoted in Lemert 368), then it stands to reas on that every nation (E uropean or not) has the potential of imagining itself as occupying a centr al location in relation to which its others are organized. The Chinese, for example, understa nd themselves as geographically centered zhng gu rn (middle country people). The Native Amer ican Cherokee and Delaware tribes refer to themselves, respectively, as Aniyunwiya (principle people) and Lenni Lenape (true people) (Redish). The so-called Hottentots of S outhern Africa likewise call themselves Khoikhoi (true people) to distinguish themselves from othe r tribes who did not own livestock and were therefore considered inferior (Beck 12). The ways that ethnic and cultural otherness is created, maintained, and ultimately challenged, are numerous. Of most importance to me in this project are those related to establishment and maintenance of borders (geographical and temporal), languages, and religious practices. Geographical Othering The demarcation of geographical and politic al borders, whether based upon supposedly natural geological formations such as rivers, oceans, and mountain ranges, upon such man-made devices as fences, trenches, and walls, or upon abst racted concepts such as the 38th Parallel, all share in the duties of othering and of establishing a Manichean aesthetic of us and them. This type of othering is of central importance in several of the works I will be examining. In Imagined Communities Anderson explains the emergence of modern nationalism as a product of imagined identifications with other inhabitant s within a fixed geographical area who share a certain sameness, be it linguistic or historico-cultural. Yet it has been pointed out that while the nation imagines itself as consisting of a genera lly homogeneous population, it rarely does so in 22


actuality, which leads to continuous efforts within the nation (or community) to purge itself of those parts which remind it of its fragmentation (Van Houtum 126). The power of stereotype to enforce the process of othering/saming is not lost even to the migrant: when the German protagonist in Annette Schenkers Was fr ein verrcktes Leben (see Chapter 4) is offered a much-needed ride through Argentinean Patagonia by what seems to be a Chilean truck driver, she uncritically (and even proudly) asserts a thinly veiled yet ster eotypically Argentine arrogance: Nein, nichts gegen Ausl nder! It seems clear that in her attempt to identify as Same with the imagined community of her host country she inadvertently validates and reenacts a xenophobic othering of the Chilean, thereby erasing her own othe rness vis--vis her adopted Argentinean culture. Anderson stresses the importance of the iconic map in the reinforcement of the sense of cohesion in the imagined community of the nation. Much like a flag, the iconic representation of the othering (and saming) borders of the nation carry great emotional we ight, yet they also suggestin a way that a non-iconic representation cannotthe invi olability of the geography of the country. (One need only look at official ma ps of Argentina, all of which integrate the Falkland Islands as Argentinean territory, or th ose in Israel, which seamlessly incorporate the Golan Heights, to understand the importanc e of the map in delineating geographical difference/sameness.) In the other works that I exam ine, the map represents the site of geographic othering and transgression, not because borders are intentiona lly violated, but because the borders that the maps try to delineate do not really exist for the natives upon whom they are imposed. In his article Sylvan Politics, Lutz Koepnick identif ies Fitzcarraldos unfolded map of the virgin forest territory as an icon of the Western failure to understa nd the complex topography of the 23


untamed jungle, reducing a three-dimensional li ving being to a two-dimensional caricature which is then taken to be more authentic than that which it is supposed to represent. More than anything, the map represents an attempt to borde r an area which is imagined as being without borders; it is a symbolic tool to establish a te rritorial otherness in re lationship to those more accessible areas which are already claimed by othe r capitalists. Ultimately, Fitzcarraldos project fails and the maps function as an othering device is unfulfilled. Temporal Othering While the geopolitical consequences of topologi cal othering can often be violent, there is another othering process which is reflected not only in the works I am dealing with, but also in the current (and ongoing) European search for iden tity. In his article Eur opes Others and the Return of Geopolitics Thomas Diez proposes that the Other against which Europe has largely been constructed since the Second World War is not defined geographically, but temporally: it is othered against its pre-War self (320). This te mporal othering is nece ssarily self-reflexive, constructing an enemy out of ones own past rath er than some outsider, and opening the way for a politics of inclusion in the European Union.10 However, Diez sees a recent shift in European policies, particularly after September 11, 2001, which indicates a revival of policies of exclusion, which are associated with a violent geographi cally-based politics of othering. Nowhere in Western Europe is his thesis more applicable than in contemporary German society, which perhaps more than any other Western European country has set up its own past as an Other (either Fascist or Communist) against wh ich it imagines its current identity. 10 Diez acknowledges that geographic and temporal ot hering are not always separable. In cases where groups are marginalized because of th eir perceived backwardness, there is clearly a temporal component, whether the group is geographically internal to the nation or in a (neo)colonial setting. 24


Temporal othering takes several forms in th e works that I am dealing with. Unlike the Other who is created through appeal to geograp hical distance or phys ical difference, the encounter with the temporal Othe r is most ambiguous in terms of its impact on the constructed identity of the Self/Same/One, b ecause it calls the entire enterprise of identity construction into question. Whereas the myriad differences betwee n a white Briton and an Indian can easily (and incorrectly) be assumed by each of them to be n atural and therefore inherent and permanent, the confrontation between a new Self and an ol d one immediately evokes a narrative of change and development on one hand, and a sense of the uncanny on the other.11 One of the more interesting temporal otheri ngs that emerges in these texts develops through the confrontation in Der Schlangenbaum between the German (Wagner) and the Russian-German Other. For the mo dern cosmopolitan Wagner, the Wolgadeutsche that he unexpectedly meets are an uncomfortable anachr onism, a flashback to a past of religious fanaticism, provincialism, and hostility toward outsidersprecisely what postwar German society wants to suppress. I will argue, however, that this particular temporal othering is directed at a past much longer than the twelve years of th e so-called Third Reich. In other words, it is not the othering of the Nazi per se, but of a pre-modern, ultra-co nservative irrationalism that, although exploited by the Nazis, is certai nly not a specifically German phenomenon. More important perhaps for the present quest ion of temporal othering in contemporary Germany is the figuring of the N azi as a totalized, fetishized Othe r. In the post-war period, both East and West Germany attempted to forge cultu ral identities that stood in direct opposition to the dominant values of the imagined community of the Volksgemeinschaft particularly its 11 I am thinking here of Benedict Andersons discussion of how photographs of baby pictures develop into narratives of personal identity, as an essentially fictionalized past mediates between the current person and the baby in the photo. For the purposes of my argument, it might, however, be more appropriate to imagine the confrontation between a current manager of an automobile plant and a picture of his participation in the student protests of 1968. 25


pathological chauvinism and pe rformance of Germanness. Since the reunification of Germany, which initially evoked exaggerated imaginings of community (Wir sind das Volkwir sind EIN Volk!), the Nazi has been maintained in a state of extreme a lterity, largely through discussions and controversies rega rding the propagation of images. The strict official control over the manipulation of the signs and symbols of the Nazi (such as the swastika), which is uncontroversially maintained in Germany, lends cred ence to this argument in two ways. First and mostly obviously, the ban enacts a conspicuous erasur e of the not-so-distant Other, in a way that recalls the 41-year ban in Pakistan of all f ilms from India, which was only lifted in 2006.12 Secondly, the recent re-publication of allegedly anti-Islamic cartoons by several of the most important German periodicals ( FAZ in November 2005, Die Zeit and Der Spiegel in February 2006) indicates that the urgency of the imperative to other the Nazi trumps both the need to protect the feelings of geographical/religious ot hers and the desire to uphold the Western value of free speechin this case, Pressefreiheit Obviously there is a diffe rence in intent between swastikas and caricatures of Mohammad: symbols of Nazism are believed to glorify a Nazi Other (while insulting his victims) whereas the images of Mohammad simply insult an Other, both within German borders (e.g. Turkish-German Muslim s) and outside them. It is telling that in spite of the broad legal prohibi tions against libel, the concept of free speech triumphs over the prohibition against insult, not only from the mouth of conserva tive chancellor Angela Merkel ( Spiegel Online, 4. Feb. 2006), but also from the pages of the left-intellectual Die Zeit (1 Feb. 2006). In comparison, there isnt a single voice on the national stage calling for the decriminalization of the uns anctioned display or producti on of Nazi symbolism. 12 The Indian film industry is the most productive in the world, and the majority of its films are immediately comprehensible to Pakistanis, whose dialect (called Urdu for political reasons) is considered by linguists to be the same language as Hindi (or Hindustani). The underlying reason for the ban is to prevent cultural identification by masking and denying Sameness. See Shahzad. 26


In my readings, it is Annette Schenker who mo st clearly re-enacts this othering of the (supposedly previous) Self. Like Wagner, Sche nkers protagonist happens upon her temporal Other by walking aimlessly into a remote village, and just when she least expects it, she is confronted with what on the surface appears to be an idyllic German Heimat landscape: a small country farm, inn, and candy factory, which a dvertises its wares by employing roving blonds dressed in dirndls and lederhosen. Yet when she begins to suspect that hard-working yet hospitable owners are actually escaped Nazis, sh e is overwhelmed with feelings of the uncanny, and promptly leaves the area. The last temporal othering I should mention involves the co nfrontation between old and new ways of life, as imagined by German-bor n Argentinean writer Roberto Schopflocher, whose writings often reflect profound gene rational conflicts which are clos ely associated with national identity. What distinguishes Schopf lochers temporal otherings from the others that I analyze is that his tend to favor a past, nearly extinct id entity while sharply criticizing a contemporary one: In Schopflochers displaced Jewish colonies of Argentina, East European Jews live anachronistically, organically tied to the land and their communities, while German Jewish refugees with their modern, unorthodox ways a rrive as unwelcome and rootless cosmopolitans. Likewise, younger Jews who leave the land to work in the cities and integrate into mainstream culture are depicted as morally bankrupt while th ose who stay in the co lonies are uncritically celebrated as heroes. Other otherings Until now I have addressed the notion of geographical and temporal othering, which have been the most salient processes by which German (and German-speaking) writers and filmmakers establish and rein force identities through their ch aracters in the works I am analyzing. There are of course other strategies of othering which emerge in the various works, of 27


which linguistic and religious di visions are also worth mention, as are exclusionary practices based on race, class, gender, and physical and me ntal ability. In Schopflo chers story Fernes Beben for example, the protagonist Juancho is marginalized within his society based on his mental slowness and his physical di sability (he has a club foot), a nd this exclusion is converted into a geographical othering as he is banished to a new job at a remote mountain train station. In Wie Reb Froike die Welt rettete the newly ar riving German-speaking Jews are shunned not only because of their unorthodox religious practices, but also because of their maintenance of the German language. In this story the community co mes together to save a German Jewish woman, a heretofore unseen bride who has been abandoned by her fianc after he discovers that she walks with a limp and is ready to send her back to Nazi Germany. In Der Schlangenbaum the Germans other their Spanish-speaking staff by speak ing in German when they do not want to be understood. Yet the monolingual Wagner is himself ot hered when he finds himself stuck with no car and no wallet in an unknown Argentinean town and is unable to communicate with the local population. Processes of saming Above I describe how Anderson s concept of imagining the nation involves a process of othering those on one side of a border (geographi c, linguistic, cultural) and a saming of those on this side of the border, founded upon a fantasy of homogeneity of the nation. Annette Schenkers protagonist erases her own otherness by adop ting what she perceives to be a xenophobic tendency of Argentineans. Just as Schenker di stances herself from her Germanness by adopting Argentine customs, Roberto Schopflocher as an aut hor continually rejects his German identity in favor of a Jewish one. Schopflochers protagonists particularly his first person narrators, are neither German nor German-Jewish. Instead, they are either Catholic Ar gentines or Eastern European Jews. When his characters describe German Jews, it is always with suspicion or 28


disdain. I would argue that this practice is one of saming: his im plicit denial of his own German heritage, reflected in his otheri ng of the German Jew in his writings, has more in common with the contemporary German othering of the Nazi th an it does with his own ch aracters rejection of the current materialism and secularism of Argentin ean Jews. At the same time, he is writing for a German public in a language wh ich he claims contains the Urtext of everything he has ever written, including his Spanish-language public ations. Schopflochers case illustrates the complexities of identity formation (and performance) and undermines the binary simplicity of us and them and with it the eas y notions of Self and Other. The process of saming is complex, as it can be understood as internal saming, through either assimilation into the nati on or expulsion from it, or external saming, such as the American imposition of democracy abroad or of industrial capitalism on the so-called Third World. It is at the same time an erasure of difference and an eras ure of memory. As we have seen, this process is not only an erasure of the Other, but also an twofold annihilation of th e Self: inasmuch as the Self is, following Fanon and Lacan, a creation of the Ot her, it loses its specificity as the Other is erased. And as I have shown in the case of Schopf locher and Schenker, it is an erasure of the personal history of the author in favor of an Other who is, ultimately, also nothing more than another imagination.13 Finally, the process of saming can also be time-bound, as temporal saming serves as a corollary function to temporal othering. Furthermore, when the saming is political and economic in nature, it sometimes ignores national or ethnic diffe rences or order to establish ideological difference. In Chapter 2, for example, I will show how in his film Ich denke oft an Piroschka (1955), Kurt Hoffmann attempts to identify an im aginary pre-war, pre-communist Hungary with 13 This is particularly true for Sc hopflocher, whose only experience with Eastern Jews was obtained as an adult while he was employed as an administrato r of one of the Jewish agricultural colonies. 29


the Heimat values of post-war West Germany, thereby othering the competing political and economic system which had been in place in Hungary for the last ten years. In this scenario, the invisible other, the still recently established communist society in Hungary, could easily be interpreted as a stand-in for so cialist East Germany, which at th e time was still not recognized by the West. Yet within the sameness that Ho ffmanns equation of German and Hungarian Heimat seeks to establish, there operates a system of et hnic and social othering that conforms to the patterns of geographical othering I discussed above. Thus, Hoffmanns film serves as an excellent example of the complicated web of iden tifications and dis-iden tifications, of samings and otherings, that informed West German fantas ies of national identity, and as I will show in Chapter 3, continues to do so even after reunification. Who can be othered? I have already shown how John Davidson reject s the idea that German filmmakers could possibly consider themselves others in relation to Hollywood-financed filmmakers. His main reason in refusing this false ot hering is that the Germans, as white Europeans, cannot possibly be othered, because they are in a power position. In other words, otherness is limited in his analysis to groups that he considers subaltern. I categorically reject this assertion, as it is based on the same flawed Manichean conception of power relations that Sartre employs in his anticolonialist diatribe. Taking de Beauvoirs argument about the stat us of Blacks and Jews in America further, I maintain that not only gr oups who can articulate the pronoun we but also any individual who can say I is capable of drawing distinct ions between it/themselves and others, and of acting upon that di fference (real or imagined) in wa ys that exclude or include the Other that he or she creates. I rely here on the premise that all individuals (and groups by extension) have access to power, either in the form of overt power or as antipower which I define as the ability to control a person (or gr oup) with overt power by e xploiting the explicit and 30


implicit obligations, limitations and vuln erabilities of that position of power.14 For example, the club-footed figure of Juancho in Fernes Beben gets a job at the railroad through no overt power of his own, but through the hi s manipulation of societal oblig ations toward the physically disabled. In turn, Juanchos gi rlfriend, a poor, relatively unattract ive village girl with no overt power at all, is able to force Juan Carlos into marriage by letting the entire village know that he touched her inappropriately. The native Indian workers at Wagners construction site in Der Schlangenbaum on the other hand, exercise antipower (i n the form of a strike) against the management crew, forcing concessions. However, even though the dispute is settled, the ruling military administration obtains news of the (now finished) strike and sends in its troops to exercise what in this story is the ultimate ove rt power (the exercise of violence), to which everyone, even rich Westerners, is subjecte d. Yet my own distinction between power and antipower is sometimes difficult to maintain. The Amazonian natives in Fitzcarraldo exercise overt power in relation to Fitzcarraldo himself and his crew. It is clear from the beginning of the trip up river that, if the nativ es choose to do so, they can ki ll everyone in the boat and send it back downstream as a warning, as they have done several times before. But instead they decide not only to allow Fitzcarraldo to pursue his plan, but to volunteer their labor (and their lives in some cases) to help him get the boat over the m ountain. In this case it is Fitzcarraldo who uses antipower to avoid death, by exploiting the native belief that hi s mission is a sacred one. After the boat is hauled over the mountain and is cu t loose by the natives to crash down through the white water rapids, the inversi on of the power paradigm is made clear: the natives have 14 One could argue that since the manipulation of someone elses power is itself a form of power, it makes no sense to distinguish between power and antipower. I would maintain that th e distinction is important because it prevents a total relativism that would obfuscate the qualitativ e differences between the exer cise of power that clearly oppresses an Other and that which merely attempts to preserve the Self. 31


completed their mission (and presumably cleared th eir land of the curse to which it has been subjected), and Fitzcarraldo s venture is a failure. It is important to keep in mind that it is the exercise of power (o r antipower) which makes possible the process of othering. Peggy Ochoa has shown that even margin alized groups are able to other the dominant culture through what she calls a hi dden power granted precisely though majority blindness to their space (108). In her analysis, wh ite Christianity is othered in Tony Morrisons Beloved and this otherness is also perceive d in the white Christian reader of the text, who then through empathy becomes aware of him or herself as someone elses other. It is this inversion of the idea that only white Christians can define what is Same and what is Other that makes possible a self-reflective analysis of white Christian othering practices. Real-world Dangers The process of othering is in its simplest sense nothing more than the exercise of the human capacity to detect (and manufacture) difference, as shown by de Beauvoir. The establishment of a requisite dichotomy between Self and Other, however, entails certain risks which have to be addressed. It is clear that ther e are not only many types of others in any cultural landscape, particularly in the (neo )colonial setting, such that to use the label Other to designate various types of others is to risk obfuscation of the differences inherent in these otherings.15 Thus the application of the term Other to diffe rent groups at the same time entails a paradox saming of these others, a reenactment of their or iginal erasure by the dominant culture. It is precisely this concern which prompts my use of the term antipower which unapologetically refutes the debilitating myth of the powerlessne ss of the marginal subject while differentiating ical 15 By inherent differences I am not referring to inherent or essential differences in people which lead to othering, but to inherent differences in processes of othering. For example, religious othering differs from racial othering in that an individual (or a whole nation) can move between Self and Other through conversion. 32


between different qualities (and quantities) of power. The concept of Other only makes sense in relationship to Same/Self/One, and intellectual inte grity requires that diffe rences be explored to the degree that this difference is relevant or meaningful. Beyond the question of how to conceptualize th e recognition of difference is of course a larger question of the ethics of othering. Most of those involved in the debates about otherness seem to be aware of the dangers of the terms, but find it useful to continue to use them for lack of a good alternative. Many want to limit the use of th e term Other to refer to what they consider to be marginalized groups, thus downplaying no t only the enormous and growing ambiguity of all types of collective identities (here Im referring to processes of cultural hybridization), but also the limits placed on indi vidual members of any group, in cluding those who are thought to belong to the dominant culture. My use of Lacania n terminology is intended to promote ethical readings of Otherness, which is not so much an adoption of a metaphysical prioritizing of Other before Self such as Emanuel Levinas might de mand, but rather a process which Mary Canales has called inclusionary othering where recognition of difference prompts a reevaluation of self through empathy. Germanness An idea of Germanness as a mark of identity has been in circulation for at least two millennia, long before the modern concept of the nation came into currency. In his Germania Tacitus tackles the project of defining the Germanic tribes from an outside perspective, extolling their monogamy and battlefield courage while decr ying their reputed drunkenness and barbarism. Yet the process of demarcation and identifica tion was not simply imposed on the Germanic tribes from withoutas with ot her ethnic-linguistic groups, the ear liest German-speakers defined themselves with the term iuda (people), whic h later evolved into the word deutsch, around 33


which an ethnic identity was gradually fabricated, maintained, and ultimately exploited to catastrophic consequences. This is not to say that ther e has been an unbroken chain of Germanic linguistic and cultural development that ties people who currently iden tify as German to some originary Germanic forefathers. As Germanist Martin Durrell ha s shown, German nationalism is grounded in an ahistorical attempt on the part of scholars and ideologues in the nineteenth century to portray various Germanic tribesgroups which were at l east as linguistically diverse as the various Slavic tribesas a single, self -conscious national block, which rightfully deserved its own unified state (92-96). The subsequent imposition upon these unified Germans of a standardized Hochdeutschwhich did not directly correspond to any of the spoken dialects in the Germanic linguistic spectrumwas likewise an attempt to forg e the type of linguistic unity expected of the nation state. To a large extent, the project was a successful one, as the percentage of Germans speaking Hochdeutsch (rather than dialect) as their first language has gone from practically zero in the late eighteenth century to nearly a ll Germans today (Durrell 94). However, Eric Hobsbawm notes that: For Germans and Italians, their national la nguage was not merely an administrative convenience or a means of unifying state-wide communication. It was more even than the vehicle of a distinguished literature and of universal intellectual expression. It was the only thing that made them Germans or Italians, and consequently carried a far heavier charge of national identity than, say, English did for those who wrote and read that language. (102-103) Hobsbawms understanding of the linguistic asp ect of Germanness is su pported by the writings of Johann Gottfried Herderknown as the fath er of German nationalismwho prioritized language and secondarilyculture as the defini ng components of membership in the German nation (Belgum 31). However, th e ethnic component of Germannessa belief in the racial continuity of the Germans from time immemo rialhad already become salient by the second 34


half of the nineteenth century (52), and has sinc e then been a strong determinant, both officially and unofficially, of Germanness. Needless to say, the purity of German ethni city is entirely imaginary, a result of Germanys geographical position in Central Europe: if today Germany has more bordering countries than any other in Europe, then in the century preceding WWI th e even greater contact that German-speaking peoples have had with non-Germanic ethnicitie s is all the more impressive. During those years, German-speaking populations came into direct contact with Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma, Hungarians, Romanians, Croats, Serbs, Italians, Frenchmen, and Jews16, which goes a great length in explaining Einar rnasons findings, based on detailed analyses of DNA samp les from 26 national groups in Europe and the Near East, that the Germans are the most genetically diverse national group in Europe.17 The frequent intermarriage in Germanys former eastern territories even led the editor of the Athenaeum in 1948 to assert that most Prussians ar e Slavs (Murry 230). This declaration, however unscientific, seems to be supported by the work of historian Richard Blanke, who has shown how over a period of just a few years, about 300,000 Protestant Poles in the region of Masuria (a border area of East Prussia) volunt arily Germanized for religious and cultural reasons. Their loyalties to a German identity we re so strong that in the elections of July, 1932, the Nazi party received up to 71% of the vote in some precincts (German-speaking Poles? 446). Interestingly, these ethnic Po les had largely given up their la nguage and were subsequently 16 Between 1800 and 11900 there were approximately 22,000 Jewish conversions to Christianity in the areas that became the German Empire in 1871. Much higher, however, were the numbers of Jewish-German intermarriages, only about a quarter of which resulted in children who were raised Jewi sh. (Meyer 15-17). Although not all conversions led to a complete assimilation and loss of Jewish identity, it can be assumed that the vast majority of these conversions did in fact have that result. 17 rnason, a genetic researcher from Iceland, studied the genetic variation in 26 European and Near Eastern populations in order to determine whether Icelan ds population is, as popular literature has claimed, an ethnically homogeneous group. 35


integrated seamlessly into Nazi German society, de spite their Slavic ethnicity. Even deep inside German ethnic territory, the mixing of Slavic workers and Germans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries resulted in an intermarriage rate of up to 40% (Blanke When Germans and Poles Lived Together 43). Thus, although there can be no talk of a true German ethnicity, the concept itself has been used as a metric of Germanness to varying degrees by both everyday Germans and the government of the Federal Republic.18 In the years after World War II, both Germ anies promoted cultural politics that deemphasized national peculiarity and promoted eg alitarian brotherhood no t only with neighboring countries sharing similar political ideologies, but also with those so-called third world countries that were politically compatible. Since reuni fication and the collapse of Eastern European socialism, Germanys economically and geographi cally advantageous po sition complicates its drive to be just another country in the family of nations, leaving it in th e paradoxical situation of being first among equals. Yet as the differences between Germ ans and their former European rivals, against whose cultures Germany had traditi onally defined itself, diss olve in the name of the European Union, German identity is increasi ngly asserted in response to contact with a nonEuropean others on European territory, namely Muslim Turks, ethnic Germans from central Asia, and refugees from war-tor n countries of the th ird world. At home, German angst about berfremdung (over-foreignization) continues to play itself out in the form of an insistence in 18 Although the GDR went to great lengths to disavow a sense of particular Germanness in favor of internationalist-socialist orie ntation, some evidence shows that the East German populace had not completely given up its sense of belonging to a particularly German nation. In 1980, Ronald Asmus reported that 80% of East Germans saw themselves as part of the greater German na tion, and that a little over half supported unification with the FRG (12). Furthermore, research on the Stasi files on neo-Nazi activities during the 1980s in the GDR shows that there were over 1,500 known skin heads in East Berlin in the 1980s. Their commitment to Germanness, however, far from being strictly racial, focused almost extensively in its clandestine literature on perceived German ideals such hard work, productivity, order, cleanliness, discipline, strength, punctuality, loyalty, and decency (Ross 84). 36


some circles upon the recognition of a dominant German Leitkultur (leading culture) in the tradition of Western liberal democracy. The term Leitkultur was first coined by the Syrian-Germa n professor Bassam Tibi in his 1988 book Europa ohne Identitt in which he argues that immigr ants to Europe, particularly from Islamic countries, need to integrate into European society by accepting the common Western values of democracy, Enlightenment, hu man rights, and secularism. Tibi envisions a specifically European type of cultural pluralism that rejects Monokultur (mono-culturalism), Parallelgesellschaften (parallel societies of un-integrated foreigners) and Wertebeliebigkeit (absolute relativism of values) (Tibi 2004). Later, all of these terms were adopted by conservative German politicians and commentat ors, most of whom were proponents of a specifically German Leitkultur. The controversies su rrounding the concept of Leitkultur speak to the core of the German national question. On th e one hand, left-leaning intellectuals are rightly apprehensive about any approach that arrogantly assert s the superiority of German values and seeks to force a reduction in diversity in the name of an essentialized fantasy of Germanness, as the comparison of this process and that of Nazi Gleichschaltung seems obvious. Thus, Leitkultur becomes a new focal point for German identity. While some of the Leitkultur opponents openly fear the idea of a strong German identity, voices for integration lament what they see as a lack of one. Ti bi, who in 2006 emigrated from Germany after a 44year stay, claimed in his final editorial piece in the Tagesspiegel that foreigners in Germany (including ethnic Germans from Kazakhstan) str uggle to find an identity precisely because Germany, since Auschwitz, has none of its own ( Warum ich gehe). The current president of the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland ( Central Council of Muslims in Germany) Ayyub Axel Khler mirrored that opinion, claiming that [ f ] r die Integration brauchen wir in 37


Deutschland zunchst einmal eine deutsche Identitt, (for integration we need to have in Germany, for starters, a German identity) first which would necessarily include a verantwortungsvoller Umgang mit Freiheit (responsible acquain tance with freedom; Rosenfelder 2006).19 As the above examples show, certain practical aspects of German national identity (e.g. press freedom vs. respect for the cultural/religious sensibilities of Muslim s) are being negotiated based upon actual interaction with foreigners on German territory, where differing concepts of Germanness are competing for hegemony within th e current debates regard ing citizenship rights, integration, and religious freedom for non-Christians. Yet, if we are to accept Andersons idea that the nation is a product of collective imagination, then it make s sense to take seriously those expressions of Germanness projected, as fantas y, onto distant landscapes and remote peoples, where real-world experience at home cannot in terfere with the imag inary staging of the European and his geographical a nd ethnic Other, and where this Other is unable to disrupt or contest his own reification. Thus, although the fore ign landscapes which I will examine in this project, from the jungles of South America and S outheast Asia (Chapter 2) to the coastal plains of West Africa, serve in some ways as a stan d-in for German and European locations, their dislocated geography allows them to serve as a kind of theater in which, according to William Rollins, Germans [can] play out hidden worries and unrealized dreams (188). Yet this type of projection is hardly an invention of post-war Ge rman artists unable or unwilling to stage their own recent history at home. As Br ad Prager has demonstrated, pe rformance of German identity on geographically displaced, exotic st ages is firmly rooted in Germ an artistic history: Africa is, 19 What Khler may be referring to here is the controversy surrounding the Mohammad caricatures, which occurred just a few months after his accession to the top post of the Zentralrat 38


39 in other words, the most distant of backdr ops, a screen upon which German filmmakers and audiences projected their national anxi eties (The Face of the Bandit 6). Since the (Western) history of the third world is largely a chronicle of ruthless European attempts at domination through colonization, it sta nds to reason that the narratives which find their expression on these stages also serve as a comment on, as well as a reenactment of, the colonial process itself. The de layed emergence of Germany as a nation-state in 1871 meant that the countrys aspirations to appropr iate third-world real estate in the name of empire were largely frustrated by the fact that a large percentage of non-European land was already claimed, often by countries much smaller than Germany. Thus, at tempts by German filmmakers to thematize colonial endeavors are invariably marked by a nother projectionthat of the German imagination onto that of an imagined fellow European. The various projections of Germanness that I w ill be dealing with in the following chapters necessarily have as their object not the relatively more tangible as pects of national belonging that are the concern of present-day controversies within German borders (language, citizenship, liberal democracy, etc), but ra ther the more abstracted notions of Germanness such as Heimat Rationalism, and the nature of humankind and th e universe. However, although the authors and artists that I deal with here create meanings with specific relationships to Germanness, Europeanness, and humanness through the manipul ation of these abstra ctions, their created meanings also have a political dimension as well, which ties directly back to the real-world issues to which they all refuse to refer directly. Thus, my intention in the following chapters is to attempt to reconcile fantasies of Germanness staged abroad with the sociopolitical realities at home.


CHAPTER 2 MOVING HEIMAT TO THE EAST: KURT HOFFMANNS ICH DENKE OFT AN PIROSCHKA (1955) The Complexity of Heimat The fact that the German word Heimat remains untranslated in every work treating the subject is a testament to the complexity of m eaning surrounding this term. In its most basic sense, Heimat simply refers to something like homeland, home, or country. Thus, the primary dimension of Heimat is spatial.1 Like the term nation, which was treated at length in the Introduction, Heimat is heavily burdened with highly emotional and often contradictory meanings and nuances. It is not my purpose here to neatly disentangle this semantic knot, but rather to show how notions of Heimat are intimately related to the notions of Germanness, the nation, and its Other. Whereas the nation can be seen as an imagi ned community whose scope is so wide that the connections between individu als cannot be made physically and thus must be imagined (Anderson), Heimat can likewise be described as an imaginary space, in that it represents, according to filmmaker Edgar Reitz, an essential fiction: The word is always linked to strong fee ling, mostly remembrances and longing. Heimat always evokes in me the feeling of somethi ng lost or very far away, something which one cannot easily find or find again Heimat is such that if one w ould go closer and closer to it, one would discover that at the moment of arrival it is gone. It seems to me that one has a more precise idea of Heimat the further one is away from it. This for me is Heimat its fiction, and one can arrive there on ly in poetry, and I include film in poetry. (5) It comes as no surprise that Heimat for Reitz comes to connote something very similar to what the Romantics often depicted as the blue flower, which become a symbol of longing and 1 In No Place Like Home Johannes von Moltke suggests that the English term country is perhaps the best translation, if one is needed at all, as it is also used to describe primarily rural areas within the modern state (227). 40


unattainable beauty and truth during the Romantic period. According to Johannes von Moltke, the culture of Heimat originally found its expression in th e writings of the Romantics (7).2 Precisely because of its na ture as imagined space, Heimat can assume a variety of relationships to the imaginary community of the nation. Ce lia Applegate, for example, has argued that Heimat functions not so much as a signifier of close d, local communities, but rather plays a mediating role between local and na tional spaces. For Alon Confino, the term has become, in many cases, a regional metaphor for the entire nation (98). In ot her words, the term evokes a nationalism that sees Germany as a giant local community. The concept of Heimat may not only relate the local to the national, but also the village to the metropolis. According to Anton Kaes, Heimat began to connote region, province, and country (in the sense of rural la ndscape) in the wake of rapid industrialization and urbanization in the late nineteenth century (165). As a r eaction to the far-reaching social changes brought about by these processes, Heimat began to represent an attempt to recapture those things perceived to be lost: Heimat means the site of ones lost childhood, of fa mily, of identity. It also stands for the possibility of secure human relations, unalienated, precapitalist labor, and the romantic harmony between the country dwel ler and nature From this pe rspective, the city always remained the Other. (165) Kaess formulation situates Heimat unambiguously in the realm of what German sociologist Ferdinand Tnnies referred to as Gemeinschaft (community), a set of human social relations characterized by a strong sense of communalism in which individuals see their association as benefitting the co llective, the most obvious example of this being the family and 2 Interestingly, with the rise of Heimat culture there also arose the concept of das Unheimliche (the uncanny). Indeed, Freuds essay on the uncanny uses E.T.A. Hoffmanns late Romantic text Der Sandmann as his main point of departure in his discussion. The current chapter deals with a popular Heimatfilm that, like most films in this genre, ties German identity to Heimat and das Heimliche In the following chapters, however, I will show how later depictions of German identity are more likely to turn to the uncanny to express the c onflicted selfunderstandings that came to characterize late tw entieth-century representations of Germanness. 41


clan. Tnnies sets this type of social arrangement with those of Gesellschaft (society), in which individuals voluntarily asso ciate with others based on the rati onal decision that this cooperation with help them personall y. Understood geographically, Gesellschaft relationships dominate in the metropolis, the spac e of capitalism, whereas Gemeinschaft relationships dominate in the rural agrarian village. Kaess formulation is supported by Kurt Stavenhagens understanding of Heimat as personally lived space, a definition which plac es heavy stress on the immediacy of experience available to those living in rural Heimat settings (von Moltke 10). Furthermore, the lived space of Heimat represented in the particular depiction to which this chapte r is dedicated could hardly be precisely described than it is by Kaess char acterization. However, as I will show in Chapter 4, the implicit suggestion that secure human relations and a strong sense of belonging are restricted to rural settingsand that urban and rural spaces constitute stable and well-defined geographieshas been eff ectively challenged in Heimat representations created by Robert Schopflocher. Von Moltkes analysis of Heimat is somewhat more nuanced that most of the other treatments of the concept. What is perhaps most compelling in his argument is that he refuses to reinscribe the binary understandi ngs of the concept, favoring inst ead to look at ways in which Heimat representations fail to enact an unambiguous separation of the traditional from the modern or a complete rejection of technologica l innovation or other products of modernity in favor of agrarianism (15)von Moltke insi sts instead they do both. For just as Heimat can be said to negotiate the local a nd the national (Applegate), it can also be understood as negotiating between modernity and tradition, even as it has traditionally favored the latter. 42


As useful as von Moltkes analysis is in challenging what he sees as a routine tendency toward binary simplification in the critical reception of Heimat representations, I believe that this challenge can be taken one step further, partic ularly in contemporary Germany. As immigration has turned many of Germanys larger cities into multicultural metropolises, it has become increasingly common to hear the metropolis itself referred to as Heimat particularly by those traditionally considered foreigners. Asked in an interview with the Tageszeitung about her feelings toward Heimat Yanping Wu, the first female Chin ese traditional healer to set up practice in the new federal capital, claims that Now, Berlin is my Heimat suggesting that not only can Heimat also be understood as being embodied by st rictly urbanized space, but that it is transferrable as well (Schwab 26). Likewise Idil ner, the German-born actress of Turkish descent who plays in Fatih Akins Im Juni (2000), claims in an interview in Die Zeit that Old West-Berlin is my Heimat For me, [the neighborhood] Mitt e is a fabrication and the Prenzlauer Berg is already on the other end of the world, a completely different cityIm not a German, Im a Turk, thats the way I perc eive it. I have a German passport. Or better yet, Im a Berliner with Turkish roots.3 (Eidlhuber; my translation) ners description of ol d West Berlin as her Heimat is interesting on several levels. First, rather than using the term as a mediator betwee n national and local (Applegate) or as a regional metaphor for the whole country (C onfino), ner uses it to denote what is often considered the quintessential German metropolisthe space in wh ich she is most at homewhile explicitly rejecting the connection between a feeling for Heimat and German national belonging. Secondly, this Heimat space is limited to the boundaries of her own childhood experience in a small part of former West Berlin, thereby excl uding other neighborhoods such as Mitte as inauthentic. Thus, ners description lends credence to Kaess em phasis on the lost spa ces of childhood innocence 3 The original text from the intervie w: Das alte West-Berlin ist meine Heimat Mitte ist fr mich konstruiert, und der Prenzlauer Berg ist schon am anderen En de der Welt, eine ganz andere Stadt. Ich bin keine Deutsche, ich bin Trkin, so empfinde ich das. Ich habe einen deutschen Pass. Besser gesagt: Ich bin Berlinerin mit trkischen Wurzeln. 43


and close family relations while at the same time posing a serious challenge to his assertion that Heimat representations necessarily cast the city as the ultimate Other. In essence, ner substantiates Stavenha gens understanding of Heimat as personally lived, immediately accessible space, yet suggests that this space can be located anywhere people coexist. Piroschkas Heimat Abroad My aim in this study is to show how Germanne ss is constructed in spaces which are far removed from familiar spaces within Germany, where writers and filmmakers are free to construct their exotic Others with relative impun ity. Yet if articulations of the nation are so intimately tied to the concept of Heimat which implies spatial imme diacythen it seems that depictions of Heimat abroad are bound to remain, at best simulations of what is in itself already a fiction. However, as I will show below, this is not at all the case. Eastern Europe in particular has long been a stag e upon which German fantasies of Heimat have been played out.4 In the case of Hoffmanns film, for example, it is precisely the distancing that makes the simulation possible at all.5 Germany and Eastern Europe The sometimes peaceful and cooperative, so metimes tumultuous relationship between Germany and the countries of Eastern Europe has been the subject of seemingly endless books, articles, and films. Starting in the 12th Century and continuing through the 18th Century, Germans-speaking migrants eager to improve their economic lot or escape religious or political persecution began moving from their ancestral ho me in Central Europe, settling further and 4 I am not referring here to former German territories in the East, such as East Prussia, Pomerania, or Silesia, but rather to areas where Ge rman-speakers lived as su bjects of any government other than a German or Prussian one. 5 In Chapter 3 I will argue that Werner Herzog creates inverted Heimat landscapes. Yet the failure of the characters in the films and novel s in consideration to recreate Heimat in these settings is not due to geographical distance, but to the perceived differences betw een European and South American societies. 44


further east. These migrations often occurred at th e invitation of non-German principalities wishing to expand the agricultural output of the region.6 Thus, although westerly migration was difficult due to French containment, Easter n Europe quickly became a space for German expansion. The resulting German settlements that came to dot the map of Eastern Europe became flashpoints of German-Slavic tensions and gave excuse to Prussian (a nd later Nazi) military advances in previously Slavic areas (Poiger 122), which over the course of a hundred years nearly doubled the size of the German linguistic area in an easterly di rection. In the AustroHungarian Empire further southa swath of area that covered territories populated with Czechs, Hungarians, Slovaks, Romanians, Croatians, Uk rainians and other ethnicitiesthe German language enjoyed a high level of prestige and German-speakers (including German-speaking Jews) settled in many areas of the empire for economic reasons. Thus, in both the northern and southern parts of Eastern Europe, German-speaker s in great numbers were living interspersed in small linguistic communities within, often under non-German polit ical control. These areas, which stood both outside and in contrast to internal German spaces, came to constitute Heimat for their German-speaking populations.7 German Expellees from Eastern Europe A longstanding, seemingly universal notion of cultural superiority among Germanspeakers in Eastern Europe has long been accepte d as fact (Poiger 122). This complex found its most malicious expression in the German adage Slawen sind Sklaven (slavs are slaves), an 6 Kertesz points out that large groups of German-spe aking immigrants settled in Hungary as early as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. After the Treaty of Trianon significantly reduced the geography of Hungary, descendants of these original settlers found themselves in Romania and Czechoslovakia (181). 7 The affection that German -speakers express for their Heimat outside of Germany is not limited to temperate East European landscapes that are easily interc hangeable with German ones. In a 2002 interview with Boris Kunert and Christiane Chichi of the Mitteldeutche Rundfunk in which he was asked about his feelings about Heimat Carl List, a German-speaking native of Namibia and descendant of German colonists, responded: Namibia ist meine Heimat ich bin ja hier geboren. Ich war ja mit sechzig Jahren zum ersten mal in Deutschland (Kunert). 45


notion that has been referred to (anachronist ically) as Bismarcks cynical doctrine of Germanization (Paneth 60). During the Second Worl d War, this ideology was put into practice not only by the Nazi government, but apparently also by Germanys military-industrial complex as evidenced by the posters proclaiming this t ruth which were posted outside Krupp factories which used thousands of slave laborers (Meltzer 274). Given the official German attitudes and actions in Eastern Europe during the war, it hard ly seems surprising that the British historian A.J.P. Taylor was able to c onclude in 1945 that no one can understand the Germans who does not appreciate their determination to exterm inate the East (Taylo r 3). It is likewise understandable that both Poland and Czechoslovakia were eager to dispense of their German populations after Germanys final defeatas it was precisely the existence of these Germanspeaking communities that had been used to justify the German annexation of parts of both of these countries. The subsequent expulsions, often brutal and bloody a nd actively supported by the Soviet forces, had already gotten underway in these countries before the Potsdam agreement of 1946 legitimized them. The fate of the Germans in Hungary was similarly sealed with the Potsdam Agreement, yet the expulsions were more difficu lt because there was very little local animosity towards the German-speaking popula tion. In fact, as Stephen Kertes z makes clear, the immediate postwar government of Hungary was decidedly against the idea of collective punishment and attempted to resist Soviet pressure to forcib ly remove all German-speaking Hungarians, unless these had been actively involved in anti-Hunga rian (i.e., traitorous) activities (180).8 These efforts eventually failed, as H ungary was not only occupied by a Soviet army intent on removing 8 Kertesz was an official with the Hungarian foreig n ministry after the war, where he worked until the Soviet Union began purging non-Communists from the government. His governments rejection of collective punishment for the Germans was not based so much upon humanitarian considerations or any sense of brotherhood with the Germans, but rather on a reasonable fear that Hungar ians living in Slovakiastranded there by the Treaty of Trianonwere going to be expelled to Hungary, as was the stated goal of the new Czechoslovak government. 46


those Germans it had not already deported to labor camps in Russia (182 ), but was also on the losing side of the war and therefore not entitled to make any demands whatsoever. In the end some 150,000 German-speaking Hungarians were move d to the American zone and an additional 50,000 were moved to the Soviet zone (205).9 The position of the expelled Germans in postwar Germany, which numbered some 12 millionalmost a fifth of postwar Germanys enti re populationgives a clue to the complexity of the concept of Heimat. The expellees, who call themselves Heimatvertriebene (those driven from their homeland) have organized organiza tions to call for their compensation for lost property and continue to insist upon a Recht auf Heimat (right to homeland).10 For these people, Heimat is not Germany, but their former German -speaking villages and towns in Eastern Europeeven those never under German political control. Piroschka as Heimatfilm The Heimatfilm is, according to Heide Fehrenbach, a p eculiarly German genre that was the mainstay of domestic commercial filmmaking in Ge rmany in the 1950s (146). Like its core term, the word Heimatfilm is largely untranslated in critical literature, thus stressing its uniquely German nature. Like the Heimatroman of the late nineteenth century, Heimatfilm sought to represent Heimat values of community and localism cinema tically: the setting in these films is rural and the natural landscape is vast. Local fo lk music is indispensable, as is the focus on 9 There are many issues that deserved to be mentioned in this context. The plan to remove Germanspeaking Hungarians did not revolve around issues of ethnicity or the historical geographical ties of the person in question. Thus, German-speaking Hungarians were to be re located to Germany, even if their family ties were to Austria. As far as I am aware, there were no official expulsions to specifically to Austria, although 430.000 expellees did end up there after the war. Even German-speaking Jewshad they been fortunate enough to survive the murder and deportations organized by Hungarian fascistswere subject to the order (Kertesz). Whether any of these were actually ever relocated to Germany is unclear. 10 In the 1960s very few of the expellees who were su rveyed claimed to actually want to move to Eastern Europe (Sssner 3).This is understandable in the light of the fact that Germanys econom ic miracle was in full swing while the living standards in Eastern European countries were low. Yet even after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe almost none of the still living Sudeten German s had any plans to return to the Czech Republic. 47


regional dress and accents (1512). Despite the regional focus, the political goal of the Heimatfilm was to portray a German community, someti mes hailing from far very different and distant areas of the former Reich, living togeth er peacefully and in communion with the land and the local culture to which it is tied. In the f ace of postwar social and economic problems as well as the destruction of the natural environmen t which had been accruing since the industrial revolution, these films were also decidedly escapist And in light of the most recent German past, they were also agents of forgetting and denial. What is most interesting about Ich denke oft an Piroschka is not its conformity to so many standard tropes of the Heimatfilm but the ways in which it sets itself apart from other films of its assigned genre, combining techniques a nd motifs from other, no less problematic cinematographic movements.11 The most important of these differences is that Piroschka is set neither in Germany, Austria, nor Switzerland, but in a remote village in Hungary. At first, it seems that this cannot be a Heimatfilm at all in the trad itional sense; for even though Germans may have once populated the region, it is now thoroughly Magyarized. However, the nonGermanness of the landscape, as I will show belo w, is precisely what makes the appearance of this filmas a Heimatfilmpossible at all. A brief summary of the plot will be sufficient to make the point. In the films opening scene, we are introduced to the protagonist of story, a middle-aged German business man named Andreas (Gunnar M ller), a frequent passenger on trains whose rhythmic clanging wheels often remind him of the su mmer love he once shar ed with a girl named Piroschka (Liselotte Pulver) while he was an ex change student in Hungary in 1923. And yet, he 11 The marketing of the DVD as part of the Heimatkult-Reihe ( Heimat -Cult Series), while not to be taken as the final answer as to the genre of the film, it cer tainly does indicate that the target market is the Heimatfilm consumer. 48


tells us, the story doesnt really begin with this Piroschka, but with another girl he met two days before. The story of his meeting with the sophisticated, blond, German Greta is told through a flashback which will last through the entire film Greta is on her way to Turkey to take a new job, but not before spending a fe w relaxing weeks alone at Lake Balaton. Andreas is immediately drawn to her, and within two hours, he tells us through voice over, he was beginning to fall in love with her. Their first eveni ng together, spent in a romantic restaurant, is at first enchanted then ruined by an insistent gypsy violinist, who refuses to leave the couple alone. When Andreas asks if he can take accompany her inside the building where she is lodging, she politely declines, citing the Christian environment of the place, at which time he gives her his address in the small town where hell be spending the summer. She says shell write. Once he arrives in Hdmezvsrhelykutasipuszt a, Andreas quickly forgets Greta and falls instead for a 17-year-old school girl named Piro schka, the daughter of the local train station manager (Gustav Knuth), who gladly and flirtati ously gives him lessons in Hungarian language, dance, folk customs, and love. When a postcard from Greta arrives, though, Andreass passion is quickly rekindled and he hurries down to Lake Balaton to visit her, unknowingly accompanied by Piroschka, who wants to bring him back to the country. As the three spend a day and night together, Greta realizes that A ndreas really belongs with Piro schka, and heroically sends him back to her. Back home, the love-sick Piroschka avoids cont act with Andreas, and is only reunited with him on the day before his return to Germany, on the occasion of the corn harvest and the accompanying community celebration. He declares his love for her and then proceeds to inform her that he will be leaving the next da y. Since she has to take her drunken father home, they are unable to meet that night. The following day he leaves, but due to traffic patterns he actually has to pass by Hdmez vsrhelykutasipuszta one more time, although without 49


stopping. However, Piroschka activates the stop signal as Andreass train is about to pass by and pulls her Andi from the train in order to spend an amorous night in the gr ass next to the tracks. As the sun rises, Andi catches the next train out of town, never to return. Piroschka as Colonial Film Inasmuch as we are dealing on one level with the interaction of a privileged German man with relatively impoverished Eastern European Others, it makes sense to ignore temporarily the Heimat claims of the film and focus instead on the social relationships which seem to resemble very closely those in the colonialist setting. In doing so, it seems clear that Piroschka owes a certain debt to the Germ an colonial film of the early twentieth century, which included non-fiction films such as travelogues and ethnographi c film. The colonial film sought to inform the German public about the newly acquired colonies in Africa, principally German East Africa (hereafter GEA) and German Southwest Africa (h ereafter GSWA) and East Asia, with a focus on the African colonies. To this end, the films em phasized the cordial, mutually beneficial relationship between the colonial masters and their subject popul ations, who are depicted as helpless children eager to emulate and please th eir European parents. As Wolfgang Fuhrmann has noted, the DKG ( Deutsche Koloniegesellschaft ) worked closely with independent film makers such as Carl Mller to shore up suppor t of the colonial movement, which was suffering from bad publicity after accusations of German atrocities dur ing the Herero war in Namibia and the Maji-Maji rebellion in GEA. Wilhelm Liebknecht picked up on popular concern with the possible moral decay of colonial Germans when he defined the fruits of colonial politics and culture as murder, robbery, homicide, syphilis and schnapps (quot ed in Furhmann, 294). Not surprisingly, Hoffmanns depiction of th e happy aboriginals of Hungary is quite similar to the aesthetic of the colonial film, particularly in its representation of the exaggerated friendship and cooperation between those in power positions and the na tives, the child-like 50


nature of the locals, and the perceived intelligence gap between the two groups. Hoffmanns natives often demonstrate a childlike, endear ing lack of sophistication. Only nominally concerned with those signs of cultural maturity that mark the German economically (punctuality, hard work) intellectually (unive rsity education), and morally (the bourgeois virtues embodied by Greta), the Magyar natives are unco ncerned with time, easily distract ed from work, quick to skip school or drink on the job. Indicatio n of their intellectua l simplicity is evidenced most notably in the figure of Sandor, the mailman and station assistan t. In his first appearan ce at the train station he tries to both impress and entertain the newly arrived German Herr Student by reciting his repertoire of German greetings, suggesting that he doesnt know much more than that. In later scenes the ridiculous string of greetings is rep eated several times, word for word and with the same enthusiasm, suggesting a childlike compulsi on to repetition. In another scene, when Sandor is sent to ring the station be ll, an act which he undoubtedly perf orms every day, his inexplicably large smile and bobbing head call to mind the behavi or of a mentally challenged child. Finally, Sandor shows his puppy-like excitement when he thinks he is going to get some food from a set dinner table, only to have his childish hopes dashed as he is sent away from the meal as an uninvited guest, but not before grabbing a saus age or two from the table and conspicuously hiding them in his pockets. The relationship between physical and mental immaturity and the colonial ascription of these qualities to the subject peopl e in general, and to their women in particular, is made clear in both explicit statements within the film and in its symbolism. For instance, when Andreas first runs into Piroschka while attempting to take photos, he calls her a dumme kleine Zicke (dumb 51


little she-goat), no t knowing that she understands German.12 Later, as he is trying to explain Piroschkas sudden appearance at Lake Bala ton to Greta, he refers to her as a Schulkind (school child) who happens to be very anhnglich (clingy). The ubiquity of geese in Hoffmanns imagined Hungarian landscape likewise lends itse lf to symbolic interpre tation: in Germany the goose is associated both with Hungary (Hungarian goos e is highly coveted for its meat as well as its feathers and down) and with stupidity: hence the saying dumme Gans or dumb goose to refer to a stupid woman.13 The alienation of the native from bourgeois German values (and prudishness) is evident not only in the astounding sexual aggressiveness of the seventeen-year-old Piroschka (and more shockingly in adult obliviousness to it), but also in the carefree and jovial manner in which the townsfolk discuss the bodily functions of both humans and animals. For example, during Andreass first train ride in Hungarian territo ry, an old man sharing the crowded compartment continually pronounces the word scheulich (hideous) as scheilich thereby calling to mind not only the strong local dialects of the countryside, but also excrement (Scheie) which covers it. Later, the jovial Hungarian men preparing a co mmunity-size barrel of goul ash joke that, properly prepared, the national dish should burn twice: on the way in and on the way out. Even the beautiful Piroschka is not immune to the course scatological hu mor: on two occasions she refers jokingly to the Gnsedreck (goose droppings) caked to her bare feet. In a further assault on bourgeois values, both Piroschkas father and Sandor are prone to loud and excessive drinking, yet their lack of self-control seems to bother no one except Andreas himself, who is robbed of 12 In Imagining Eastern Europe in East German Litera ture Thomas Fox argues that the German insistence on equating East Europe to pure nature, and its Slavic inhabitants to animals, was also a feature of GDR representations of Poland and the Poles. 13 One popular illustrated childrens book in Germany is called Blde Ziege, Dumme Gans (Silly Goat, Dumb Goose), which is about two daft barnyard animals who get in a fight with each other over a silly misunderstanding. Zicke (Andreas word for Piroschka) is th e gendered (female) form of Ziege. 52


Piroschkas company on what is supposed to be his last night in town. Piroschkas immoderate drinking likewise seems to be designed to indu ce embarrassment in the German audience: devoid of any sense of (adult) bourgeois respectability, she drinks her wine straight from the jar in long, suggestive, full swallows. Her excess at Lake Balaton proves an annoyance and embarrassment for both Andreas and Greta, as she clumsily breaks her glass in an attempt to offer a toast and bursts into uncontrollable laughing. Perhaps most shockingly reminiscent of coloni al film is Hoffmanns startling depiction of the family of gypsies on the road. The scene is comprised of short cu ts and close-ups of individual, dark and utterly alien faces, while th e narrator reports, with some uneasiness, that strange faces stared at me. This scene re calls not only those ethnographic films designed to educate Germans as to the physical makeup of th e colonial natives, but also those Nazi films attempting to chart the physiognomies of both racial inferiors and the mentally ill. It is important, however, to keep in mind that the goal of the Germ an colonial film was not to arouse its viewers antipathy toward the childlike alien culture, but to inspire them with it so they would continue to support the colonial economic mode l, and perhaps even consider settling in the territories (Fuhrmann). Although Hoffmanns stated goal with this film, as he describe d in interviews, was simply to provide light-hearted entertainment w ithout making any political statement, the film itself seems to fight the director s intention, for who could watch this film in 1955 and not have been reminded of the diagrams of racial diffe rence (with a concentra tion on typical facial features of different races) which were not only standard sc hool book material during the Third Reich, but also in the years after?14 14 The Duden-Lexikon from 1962 still had a entry called Menschenrassen (races of men) which showed typical faces from several national and racial groups. 53


Piroschka as Colonial Fantasy Whereas German political imperialism outside of Europe had a relatively short and unfruitful lifespan between the founding of the German Reich in 1871 and the loss of the first World War, the same cannot be said of German cu ltural expansion within Eu rope, particularly in Eastern European countries such as Poland, Czec hoslovakia, Hungary and Romania, which, as I have mentioned, hosted millions of ethnic Germans, as well as large numbers of Germanspeaking Jews. Susanne Zantop has traced the deve lopment of the German colonial imagination even further back than the foundi ng of the Reich and the establishm ent of actual colonies, to a time when Germans, locked in the political disunity of the Holy Roman EmpireGerman Nation stood by and watched from the global sidelines as other European powers conquered and colonized vast regions of the Earth. Zantop argues that the desire to venture forth, to conquer and appropriate foreign territories, and to (re)generate the self in th e process formed in subtle and indirect ways. Ironically, this desire often appear ed under the guise of an anti-colonialist stance (2). According to Zantops analys is, virgin territory is conquered in colonial fantasy within the literary trope of the love affair between the (mal e) native and the virgin female native, which always occurs on colonial territory. Zantop highlights the purely imaginary, wish-fulfilling nature of these stories as well as their uncons cious subtext, which links sexual desire for the other with desire for power and control (3). Just as with colonial film in representations of colonial fantasy both women and colonized subjec ts are defined as immature children (6). Although Zantop refers to a period of cultural and literary production which long precedes both the production and the setting of Ich denke oft an Piroschka, as well as to a geopolitical situation which has changed significantly, a su rprising number of elements in the film invite its reading as 54


another iteration of the German colonial fantasy.15 The German desire to venture forth, a longcelebrated and romanticized wanderlust, is depi cted most stereotypically in the figures of Andreas and his fellow students. Whereas his comrades boisterousness and insistent singing of German folk songs is clearly coded as a negative aspect of German tourism, Andreass flirtations with foreign languages (and women) is meant to convey a sympathetic image of a innocent, young, imaginative German who is genuinely interested in other cultureswhich, not surprisingly, is completely consistent with the post-Nazi image that Germ any sought to project to its own population and the rest of the world. Ye t in some ways Andreass adventure is less innocent even than that of his fe llow students, as the colonialist project inherent in his endeavor (i.e., the conquering of the native female and subs equent uncompromised retu rn to civilized life) remains obscured behind good intentions and abundant humor. The Self and Other in Piroschka Although German colonial film positively (although inauthentically) im agined the exotic Other and its culture for economic reasons, a nd German colonial fantasy emphasized the romantic and sexual relationship between German master and native female as wish-fulfillment, this highlighting actually served to separate German from non-German in the mind of the public, promoting segregated and unequal, yet ostensibly friendly and cooperative relations between the two. The German Heimatfilm on the other hand, had always fictionalized and idolized a specifically German landscape and culture, to th e exclusion of any other, taking its cast of characters from various parts of the former Reic h and uniting them in an imagined small-town or 15 It is also important to acknowledge not only the role played by political-military colonization in the realization of Germany colonial fantasy, but also that played by German cultural-economic colonialism. At the end of the nineteenth century there were more than two m illion ethnic Germans in Hungary, most of whom had been attracted from rural farms in Swabia by the ruling Hapsburgs. This economic base was fortified culturally (not only in Hungary but worldwide) by the Goethe Institute, Alexander von Humboldt foundation, and the DAAD. For further information on Germans in H ungary or Danube Swabians, see h ttp://www.banaters.co m/banat/intro.html. 55


village community, characterized by an organic union between the Volk and the rural landscape that is commonly understood as an invocation of the ideals of Gemeinschaft One of the goals of National Socialist ideology ha d been to (re)infuse this Gemeinschaft with a sense of the heroic. A newly reestablished Teutonic mythology, replacing pacifist Christianity, was to elevate the relationship between Volk and land to a quasi-religious leve l. This Teutonic order, called Volksgemeinschaft, found its reification in the politics of Blut und Boden blood and soil. Hester Baer has ar gued that that the Heimatfilm became obsolete because the tensions that it thematized (and minimized) had been reduced by the economic miracle (189). Additionally, it could be argued that idea of Gemeinschaft itself, as it was associated with National Socialism in the form of Volksgemeinschaft, began losing credibility as th e historical amnesia of the immediate post-war years began to wear off. Yet the empowerment that membership in the Volksgemeinschaft offered the individuala strong, stable sense of self-worth based on genetics instead of accomplishmentcould not simp ly be abandoned. Instead, I would argue, Volksgemeinschaft was projected onto and relived vicariously through an Ot her, in the case of Ich denke an Piroschka onto the Gemeinschaft of the Hungarian countryside. Yet, in order for this transfer to remain a projec tionin order for the German public to be able to identify with the subject, thereby sharing in th e cultural bounty, and at the same time pass the historical burden of Gemeinschaft onto an Othera dual sy stem of codes had to be employed by which the German audience could be both participant and sp ectator. Within this system, individual groups and figures in the narrative are coded in one of three ways. The first is what I will call an unambiguous Same, a subject coded for unambiguous (German) viewer identification.16 In this 16 In the breakdown that follows, I will classify characters based on their identity position in a national, that is German, sense. I am not pretending to offer a model of gender identification, which would be interesting and important, but ultimately beyond the scope of this paper. One question that such an inquiry into gender-based identification might ask is how a female viewer might find in Piroschka a figure with whom she can more easily 56


category I would place the figures of both Andrea s and his fellow German exchange students, as well as his German love interest, Greta. None of these characters is identifiable as alien in any wayfor even when they are portrayed as stereot ypically German (i.e., their standoffish attitude toward foreigners, their aversion to the Hungari an custom of kissing, or their loud singing of German folk songs), this is pres ented as self-criticism, a playful making fun of the peculiarities of their own culture. Greta is merely passing th rough Hungary as tourist, never really showing interest in the native la nguage or people. She is on her wa y to Istanbul to take a job, and the phrase book she is studying is Turkish rather than Hungarian. Her positive identification as part of modern German Gesellschaft is confirmed not only by her impeccable manners, her enlightened decision to take a j ob in a foreign country, her financ ial independence (she pays for Andreass first meal), but also by her physical presence, as a prototyp e of blond German purity. Although Andreas is ostensibly more interested in experiencing the for eign culture by learning the Hungarian language and customs, he is never able to identify with it fully. For him, the trip is about experiencing the exotic, and the German audience/spectator experiences the exotic vicariously. Yet in the end, A ndreas never learns to think like a Hungarian. In his last conversation with Piroschka, she asks him if he can hear the old Hungarian Mikls playing his woodwind trogat. When he says that he cannot, she chides him for only being able to hear that which is real. Here the audience is reminded of Andreass (as we ll as its own) separation from the child figure who lives in the imaginary. His separation from the foreign culture is finalized in his departure. The voice-over is superfluous at this point: it is obvious that Andreas can never identify than with Greta, particularly at a time when open identification with Germanness was at least as likely to cause shame as pride. It makes sense to keep in mind here that the effect (if not the goal) of Heimatfilm is forgetfulness and the return to an imaginary and pristine past, that is, back to a time before Germanys national shame. 57


go back to Hdmezvsrhelykutasipuszta, as his role as tourist and the audiences role as voyeur are fulfilled. On the other extreme of the scales of iden tification that I am proposing are the gypsies, who fall into the second mode of character identit y, which I will refer to as absolute Other. From the annoying fiddler in the Budapest wine tavern to the mosaic of alien(ated) gypsy faces, and even to the more entertaining mariachi-like band s of musicians, the figure of the gypsy invites both disdain and wonder, but never identification. Most interesting are the figures of the Hunga rians themselves, who appear on the stage in the guise of native children. The film sets thes e figures as both subjec t and object, both same and other. This feat is most notably acco mplished through the use of language. The German which is spoken by the majority of the Hungarians is a delightful invention, seemingly derived from the Swabian dialect, but not consiste ntly employedPiroschka sometimes says schn, sometimes scheen This makes sense historically, because of the heavy concentration of German settlers from that region. In Hungary, as in Germany, there is a difference of dialect between the educated classes, represented by the doctor with whom Andreas lives, and that of the common folk, which in such a small town is just about everyone else. The invocation of this dialect is a clear reference to typical Heimat representation, as the use of strong local dialects can be interpreted as a sign of auth enticity, if not sophistication. At the same time, there is an otherness in the dialect, called forth by the acc ent, grammar, and word choice, which add humor and sexual innuendo, but which impede identifica tion with the speaker. Three examples will suffice to demonstrate how a grammar mistake accents the otherness of the speaker. When Piroschka is sitting in the restaurant on Lake Balaton with Greta and Andreas, she insists on clinking the wine classes in a toast. Instead of using the verb anstoen she says aufstoen which 58


means to burpanother reference to bodily functions which serves to establish contrast between the civilized German and the more natural childlike native. In another scene, Piroschka fantasizes about telling her father that Andreas has kidnapped her. But instead of using the verb entfhren she uses verfhren which means to seduce. Here, the blatant sexuality of a Hungarian school girl stands in stark contrast to the prope r behavior of Greta, who has earlier refused to allow Andreas to accompany her to her room in the Budapest hotel. Finally, in the scene where Andreas attempts to photograph the two girls, Pi roschka tries to tell Greta that Andreas is bringing them into focus, saying Er macht uns scharf However, the audience understands that her words actually mean Hes making us hot. The simultaneous identification and othering occurs in the music of the film as well, although in this matter the need for projection seems to outweigh the one for identification. German folk music is presented twice, but only related to events which are annoying for Andreas: the signing of his fellow students on th e boat (which interrupts his conversation with Greta) and the fiddling gypsy which has the same effect later in the film. The Hungarian folk music is not only light and merry, but also somber and melancholic, recalling the great deeds of Prince Arpad, a historical figure living around AD 820 who is considered the greatest of the old Helden (heroes), the mythical father of the Hunga rian nation. Within the German imagination, the idea of mythical heroes recalls not only Siegfried of the Nibelungenlied but also the entire Nordic pantheon. But the historical burden of the mythological Nordic tradition was too besmirched by its Nazi (mis)appropriation to be a comfortable object for veneration, even in a Heimatfilm In its stead we are offered the suppose dly more innocent mythology of the Magyars. Andreas alludes to this German dilemma when Pi roschka asks him if old German heroes also ride their horses across the Mil ky Way. Answering in the negative, he says that they want their 59


rest. This is formulation is ripe with interpretive possibility, since in German alte Helden can also refer to the war dead. The silence of the German Heimatfilm in regard to the most recent historical past is one of its better-known characteristics. Yet the amnesia of Piroschka seems equally pervasive, if not more so, even though the film is set in another country. Perhaps this was unavoidable, since the magic of being able to identify with an other wh ile still maintaining his otherness requires that this other not be so different after all. Hungari ans have a long history of contact with Germanspeakers and German culture thro ugh immigration as well as its political union with Austria during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Additionally, Hungarians are able to claim a non-Slavic ethnicity, which made them particularly valuab le allies to Nazi Germany in World War II ( Slaven sind Sklaven ), thus giving Hungary its own historical burden to deal with in the postwar period. Another silence high lighted by the film is that concerning the fate of the gypsies so crudely documented in the film. Since th e film is set in 1925, an audience watching in 1955 might well ask itself what had happened to those n ever-I figures in the mean time. Were this a just another Heimatfilm the question itself would be pointless, as the Heimatfilm paints an harmonious picture of an imaginary world, whic h through its depiction becomes an eternalized nostalgic fantasy, against which th e harsh realities of modern life can be unfavorably compared. Yet the opening scene of Ich denke oft an Piroschka precludes the establ ishment of a static understanding of the charactersthe reby challenging the assumptions of Heimatfilm as the narrator, now middle-aged and no lo nger physically attractive, reminds us that thirty years have passed since that summer, that Piroschka proba bly has her own children now, and that she probably makes a much better memory than a rea lity. Yet this reminder that Piroschka has since grown old simultaneously invites speculation about the fates of all the characters in the story. 60


While no answer is offered directly, one can be derived by reading the symbolism of the film itself. As Ralph Blumenthal of the New York Times pointed out in his review of a German film series at Lincoln Center in April of 2002 (which included Ich denke an Piroschka ), an inordinate number of trains seem to course thro ugh the films, which he r eads as a torrent of bad conscience seeping through (1). Finally, there is the obvious sile nce about Piroschka herself. The middle-aged Andreas tells us that it is better that he never returned to Piroschka, since now he can always remember her as a beautiful 17-year-old. There is not a th ought as to whether his sexual encounter with her, which seems to be the goal not only of that summer, but of the film itself, has resulted in anything more than just a fond memory of youth, although there is a hint in his refusal to learn more about her that he is afraid of what he might learn.17 Changes from the Book Since the film is based upon a book of the same name (published just a year before) and was co-written by the author of the book, Hugo Ha rtung, it seems appropriate to mention a few major differences in the two storie s and to speculate as to the reasons for the changes. One of the major changes in storyline is that, in the book, Greta is not on her way to Istanbul to work, but rather on her way to Athens to marry a rich business associate of her father. Although the original version may have made a better Heimatfilm, Hoffmanns version seems much more palatable to a modern audience, where respecta ble women seek out thei r own careers and do not need to be married off by their fathers. In th e book version, Andreas ne ver actually gives up on the German Greta (even though at first her Germanness ruins his exotische Trumereien (exotic daydreaming) and until the end continue s to confuse both women in his head, although it 17 Ironically, the same forgetfulness that defines Gunnar Mllers character (and indeed the film as a whole) revisited the actor later in life. In 1979 Mller was charged with manslaughter in the death of his wife and served 26 months in prison. According to Hilmar Bahr of the Deutsche Presseagentur (DPA, 6/25/03), the actor was able to seamlessly carry on with his acting car eer following his release. Furthermore, he refuses to discuss the incident publicly. 61


seems clear he feels his best chances are with Gret a. However, in the film this would have been difficult, as Liselotte Pulver, a darling of the German screen, would have been seen by the public as a much better win for Andreas than Greta. In the book, Andreass win is somehow even more bountiful, though. As they stand under the stars and contemplate the heroes, they reveal to each other their zodiac signs: both are Jungfrau (virgin or Virgo), which a Zantopian analysis might well have predicted. In the film, the scene is tamed: both are Steinbock (Capricorn). Another element absent in the film versi on is the recurring re ference by the friendly (though drunk) Hungarians to the treaty of Trianon, which ended Wo rld War I and left Hungary stripped of two thirds of its former territory.18 Andreas understands the tr eaty as the Hungarian version of Versailles, but in reality it more cl osely resembles Germanys unconditional surrender at the end of World War II, when Germany lost huge territories to Poland and Russia. Yet in 1955, public mourning of either of these historical losses would ha ve been uncomfortable, if at all possible. Furthermore, the Hungarian charact ers in the book, particularly the old men, often refer to the Germans as Kriegskameraden (comrades-in-arms), another uncomfortable subject not broached in the film. It seems that the need to silence refere nce to Germanys (and Hungarys) immediate past outweighs any desire there may have been to stay true to the source material. Conclusion The continuing popularity of Ich denke oft an Piroschka in Germany deserves some mention, particularly in light of the fact that there is very little academic writing which makes 18 Interestingly, it Andreas host mother, the only other native German speaker in the village, who explains that Trianon is denounced by the Hungarians with the ch ant No! No! Never! a reference to the triple negation suggested by the word Trianon. 62


63 more than a passing mention of the film.19 Certainly the films function in heterosexual male wish fulfillment contributes significantly to its success. During the Cold War years, the airing of the film in West Germany also served an id eological function, as the idyllic images precommunist Hungary of 1925 could be actively comp ared in the publics mind to the desperate images of the Hungarian revolution against So viet domination, which began and was crushed just a year after the release of the film in West Germany. Furthermore, the films images contrasted the officially sanctioned images of communist Eastern Europe, which tended to focus on urban decay, artless utilitarian architecture, and eco logical devastation. According to Zantop, the continual recycling of seduc tive master fantasies of the late 1700s and early 1800s led to their acceptance in German collective imagination as factual reality (3). The same could be said of the colonial fantasy of Ich denke oft an Piroschka two centuries later, as Piroschka has become as fixed in the German iconogr aphy of Hungary as paprika and the puszta itself. 19 The film continues to be shown regularly on German television. In 2003 the story was even brought to the theatrical stage with Gunnar Mller, at age 75, in the role of Sandor.


CHAPTER 3 IMAGINING THE EXOTIC FROM GERMANY Introduction In this chapter, I will analyze works which deal with questions of Germanness from the perspective of German writers and filmmakers who choose exotic landscapes and peoples as a backdrop against which notions of German identi ty are contrasted. My focus will be on the Amazonian films of Werner Herzog a nd Uwe Timms Argentinean jungle novel, Der Schlangenbaum (The Snake Tree; 1986). These works, I will argue, follow the path first laid by Ich Denke Oft an Piroschka in which models of Germanness are portrayed not in Germany proper, but in less industria lly developed foreign landscap es. Yet Herzog and Timm take Hartungs and Hoffmanns dislocation of Heimat even farther, into th e deepest and remotest jungles where the colonial imagination is free to do its work. At the same time, these works actively challenge the romantic notion of Heimat and thus seek to radi cally alter the conception of one of the basic notions of German geographical belonging. The two films for which Herzog is most well-known in the United States, Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982), are both primarily concerned with the obsessive colonial pursuits, and colossal failu res, of European men in their attempts to master the South American jungle. The story underlying each of the film s, as I will show, is that of the inadequacy of European technology when superimposed on ot her landscapes and cultures. A year after the release of Fitzcarraldo Timm started writing Der Schlangenbaum a novel portraying the obsessive enthusiasm, frustration, and ultimate failu re of a German engineer to revive a failing project to build a modern paper factory in the Argentinean jungle. Timms novel, while sharing many of Herzogs concerns, observations, and fantas ies, goes further than Herzog in specifically tying colonial endeavors to a German past, ra ther than a generalized history of European 64


imperialism. Because of this progression, I will first deal with Herzog and then move on to Timms response to him. Filming Germanness in Amazonia and Beyond: Werner Herzogs Jungle Films In the last 35 years, Werner Herzog has consis tently made films whic h deal with questions of the relationship between human civilization and the natural worl d in which they operate. Of particular interest to me are Aguirre, the Wrath of God Fitzcarraldo Cobra Verde (1987), Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997), The White Diamond (2004), and Grizzly Man (2005). All of these films, as I will argue, map out a certain notion of German self-understanding while dramatizing the obsessions of usually non-German colonial heroes, to use Lutz Koepniks (1993) formulation, as they are played out in exotic fore ign landscapes. Of particular interest to me here is how Herzog infuses his geogra phically non-German films with sp ecifically German notions of Heimat and Grenwahn, elements of Romanticism, and a critical engagement with the concept of the noble savage. Of course, th ere are particular risks involved in pursuing a line of inquiry that seeks to engage such mammoth concepts as national identity. First of all, I must state emphatically that I am not proposing that He rzogs understanding of Germanness or its projection in his films is in a ny way representative of the dom inant modes of conceptualizing Germanness, inside or outside Germany. In certain ways, Herzogs reenactments of Germanness are at odds both with the prevai ling discourse in Germany and with American (mis)perceptions of German sensibilities. However, I believe that certain current, public debates about post-war German values, including issues of the environment, commercialism, and Germanys (and the Wests) proper role in dealing with developing countries and i ndigenous cultures, are informed on some level by the logic put forth in Herzogs films. In undertaking this argument, I actively and intentionally avoid any regre ssion into essentialism, where membership in a certain national community is understood as a guarantor of the presence, conscious or not, of idiosyncratic 65


national character traits. I am also aware of th e danger of trying to read the nation into the text or film simply because it should, by essentialist logic, be there. My understanding of culture and nationality assumes that a number of competing discourses, with varying degrees of official sanction, compete, interact, and converge to create highly nuanced and individualized understandings of what it means to be part of the national community. However, this does not mean that to speak of Germanness is fruitless simply because it must encompass the wildly varying experiences of 80 million Germans. The do minance of official discourses (and official language) still ensures that the everyday experiences of Germ ans are to a large extent filtered through the narratives that are handed down in sc hool, in the military, and in the (still largely government-financed) media, and that certain patterns of self-understanding, while neither universal nor binding, are bound to emerge. Thus, im ages (and words) which appear benign to an American or French audience can be charged w ith meaning to a German one. An example of this, which I will discuss in detail below, is Herz ogs attraction to and use of images of bears. Since divergent histories ensure that the b ear occupies an unique space in the German imagination quite different from that of the Ameri can tradition (I will argue that this is a location of loss and mourning), it is therefore reasonabl e to understand Herzogs manipulation of this symbol as an act with a specifi c relationship to Germanness, even though the symbol is bartered in relationship to characters who are not Germ an (although often the actor s playing them are). Finally, I would like to poi nt out that looking for das Deutsche in Herzogs films (as in many other post-war German cultural prod uctions) is complicated by the f act that Germanness is often, consciously or unconsciously, hi dden from direct view. German self-consciousness in giving expression to anything specifically (or proudly) German is a cultural fact of life, although this is slowly changing. The result presents a logical problem, in that sometimes the absence of 66


expression actually becomes a form of expressio n. Obviously, this type of reading, where a lack of evidence is used to prove an assertion, can easily lead to highly questionable conclusions. However, the problems associated with readings of absence can be dealt with in a comparative sense. For example, the lack of German characters in Herzogs geograp hically non-German films can be contrasted to Wim Wenderss abundant us e of German characters in films such as Until the End of the World (1991), Paris, Texas (1984), Kings of the Road (1976), and Alice in the Cities (1974). Herzogs Inverted Heimat of the Tropics South America has served in the German imag ination as a refuge and asylum for victims of political and racist persecuti on throughout the nineteenth and tw entieth centuries (Sharman, 96). Because of its status as a refuge from the demands of modernity and its image as a prehistoric, natural utopia, one is tempted read the pure, virgin ra in forest as a projection of the German Heimat landscape. Without doubt, Wern er Herzog is well-aware of the potential of the Amazonian rain forest, with all its natural beauty and the simplicity of its inhabitants, to become yet another staging ground for German Heimat fantasies, and to a certain extent he lures the audience of his Amazonian films, along with some critics, with an initial promise of satisfaction of those desires. Thomas Elsaesser writes of Fitzcarraldo : Herzog himself seems to think of it [Fitzcarraldo] as a Heimat film transposed into the junglea film about Bavaria in other words, with a figure not unlike Mad King Ludwig who had built fantasy castles a nd had funded lavishly extravagant productions of Wagners operas. (Sharman 106) Yet unlike the traditional Heimat landscape, the harsh and unforg iving jungle serves as more than just a setting in Herzogs films, more than just a backdrop for the playing out of naive, sentimentalist, anti-modernist fantas ies of wholeness: it is a site of resistance, not only that of native peoples trying to thwart the advance of Western exploiters, but that of nature itself, which, 67


unlike in a traditional Heimatfilm, violently refuses its appropriati on and political demarcation by human beings. Yet Elsaessers equation of the Black Forest and the Amazon on the one hand and of King Ludwig II and Herzog (posin g as Fitzcarraldo) on the other, fails to take into account the fact that hiding beneath the breathtaking beauty of Herzogs jungle is no t a Romantic symbiosis between man and his environment, but the life an d death struggle between them that offers no chance for mans redemption. To read Fitzcarraldo (or Aguirre or Little Dieter) as a re-located Heimatfilm is either to ignore the Herzogs intentional othering of the jungle landscape or to infuse the landscape of the traditional Heimatfilm with a diabolical nature that it mostly lacks. The traditional Heimatfilm as I showed in Chapter 2, is typically inundated with images of harmonious nature, where humans and animals liv e simple and peaceful lives in the edge of the forest or in the shadows of scenic mountain ranges. Herzog, like many cr itics, is aware of the risk of seduction that unc ritical identification with sentimental images of nature engenders. His warning comes in the form of an inversion of Heimat symbolism which morphs the Germanic mythology of a sometimes sinister, yet life-giving forest into a deadly and ruthless jungle. In Aguirre, the Wrath of God Fitzcarraldo and Little Dieter Herzog presents the jungle and its undifferentiated inhabitants, both human and animal, as the absolute Other of Western civilization. In his final interview in Burden of Dreams Les Blanks simultaneously filmed documentary of the filming of Fitzcarraldo Herzog makes clear that nature in its rawest form is not something he wishes to celebrate, but rather something to be avoided: Taking a close look at whats around usthere is some sort of a harmony: it is the harmony of overwhelming and collective murder. And we, in comparison to the articulate vileness and baseness and obscenity of all this jungle, in comparison to that enormous articulation, we only sound and look like badly pronounced and ha lf-finished sentences out of a stupid suburban novel: a ch eap novel. We have to become humble in front of this overwhelming misery and overwhelming fornication, overwhelming growth and overwhelming lack of order. 68


In his jungle films, Herzog puts th eory to praxis, as he portrays th e tropical rain forest as a place of death for the European, the native Indian, and the animal kingdom alike. Elements of Romanticism Although Herzog flatly denies th at he owes any debt to th e German Romantic movement, the close affinity of his landscape aesthetic with that of German Romantic painters is striking. Particularly noteworthy in this respect is th e German painter Caspar David Friedrich (17741840), many of whose paintings bare an uncanny resemblance to Herzogs landscapes. Friedrichs Der Wanderer ber dem Nebelmeer (Illustration 3) is an excelle nt example. In this painting, a well-dressed wanderer with a walking stick stands high on a rocky cliff, peering down upon an untouched, rocky, misty landscape, as if to ad mire the enormous beauty of nature or to survey his property. A nearly identical scene is depicted in Fitzcarraldo as the Irish entrepreneur stands upon a makeshift platform high the canopy of the rain forest in order to map out the abstraction of the seemingly solitary nature below. To film the opening scene of Aguirre, in which Pizarros men descend a mountain to an ee rie fog below, Herzog waited for days in order to capture a misty and mysterious image that Friedrich delivers in such famous works as Der Morgen (1820), Morgennebel im Gebirge (1808) Flussufer im Morgennebel (1820-1825). Friedrichs Eismeer: die gescheiterte Hoffnung depicts a scene in the arctic, where a ship has crashed into the frozen blanket of the sea. The ship has nearly sunk, and the only visible remains are the broken mast and a tiny part of the stern, while the disrupted ice is piled upon itself like so much jagged rubble after a building collapse. Th is is the same beautiful and treacherous landscape that Herzog films from the air in Grizzly Man The similarities in the images produced by Herzog and Friedrich are explained in part by the remarkably similar philosophies of images that the artists share. Herzog writes: 69


The kinds of landscape I try to fi nd in my films. exist only in our dreams. For me a true landscape is not just a representa tion of a desert or a forest. It shows an inner state of mind, literally inner landscapes, and it is the human soul that is visible through the landscapes presented in my films. Friedrich likewise believed that the physical re-presentation of landscapes in art are subordinate to the true images, the inner images that produce them: Schliee dein leibliches Auge, damit du mit dem geistigen Auge zuerst siehest dein Bild (Close your bodily eye, that you may see your picture first with the eye of the spirit; Kuzn iar 370). Nonetheless, however similar Herzogs landscape images may be aesthetically to those of the most famous of the German Romantic painters, he differentiates hims elf by allowing beautiful images of wild nature to reveal themselves as masks of a sinister and deadly environment which is presented as the absolute other of Western civilization. Othering the Jungle and its Inhabitants As I mentioned in Chapter 1, othering is a process by which difference is recognized, established, enunciated, inscribed, or simply manufactured in the body of the individual, community, nation, or even species, resulting in th e conceptualization of a self/same/one and an other. In this section I look at the many ways th at Herzog marks otherness in his images in order to establish and communicate his particular world views vis--vi s art, images, civilization, and human potential. The othered landscape By casting the jungle as a source of death rather than of life, of disorder rather than of harmony, Herzog presents this land scape as the absolute other of Western civilization. In doing so, he is following in the steps of Alexander von Humboldt, who in his writings about the Amazon described the rain forest as an autopoe tic system which absorbed everything around it (Koepnick, 139). Koepnick points out that this l eaves no room for the representation of the 70


native peoples, who are almost invariably equated w ith the jungle itself, as a manifestation of life without civilization. Many scholars have pointed out the Herzog endo ws his landscapes with the qualities of an actor, and Herzog himself seems to agree with this assessment (Herzog 81). I would argue that it is precisely this particul ar staging of nature which allows Herzog to other the jungle at all. The representation of the Other, just as the representation of the s ame, relies on a notion of humanness. Thus, as mere inanimate setting, the e nvironment has no otherness: it is simply there as backdrop and its bounties and di fficulties are natural and objective, neither warmly welcoming nor intentionally hostile. In S ylvan Politics, Koepnick argues that Herzogs promotion of landscape to actor results to some degree from the expressionistic heritage evident in Herzogs mise-en-scne, to the extent that natural imag ery assumes signifying functions (135). While I recognize that Herzogs does i ndeed elevate the jungle to au tonomous character and agree completely with Koepnicks reading of Herz ogs jungle as the absolute other of Western civilization, my argument is much more limited in scope than his: for me, the expressionistic reading of Herzogs natural settings as s ymbolic expression, a metaphorical comment, a leitmotif, or even as a metonymical extension of th e characters inner situati on does not in itself justify the equation of environment and actor, becau se it diminishes the extent to which Herzog anthropomorphizes his landscapes and embeds in them an autonomous and antagonistic agency with respect to his protagonist s. The capacity to actively confound and frustrate the plans of Herzogs colonial heroes, which the jungle seems to enjoy, is absent in other symbolically important elements of Herzogs films, such as the canons and horses in Aguirre and Fitzcarraldos ship, the Molly Ai da. The example of the ship is extremely instructive here: despite the fact that it carries a personal name and is referred to as she, the Molly Aida is 71


nothing more than a symbol of Western technology disastrously dislocated into an environment incompatible with Western rationalism. It is a pow erful symbol yet it is s till a prop, in that it has no ability to act autonomously as Herzogs jungle seems to. Closer to my own argument is that put forth by Gundula Sharman, who has argued that underlying Herzogs promotion of landscape from setti ng to character in its own right (99) is the violent resistance that the jungl e offers to the Western imperia list agents who attempt to tame it. For Sharman, it is the autonomy and omnipotence of the virgin jungle which secures its role as agent and Other, in relationship to whic h Herzog defines his human characters. Although autonomy is clearly an indispensable component of Herzogs treatment of the environment, it is not the critical attribute that en ables this othering, because autonomy in itself lacks an organic, human connection. Herzogs environment is more than simply autonomous, more than a mere self-governing systemlike, for example, the w eatherthat functions w ithout input from or regard to what the real act ors in the films are doing. Rather Herzogs landscapes themselves are embedded with treacherous human characteristic s which enables them to be portrayed as the active enemy of West ern man: in both Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo the jungle seduc es the colonial hero with promises of satisfact ion of his lust and greed, only to violently dash his hopes with a vengeance. In the opening scene of Fitzcarraldo in which a camera mounted in an airplane pans the canopy of the forest, Herzog superimposes the following text on the screen: Cayahuari Yacu nennen die Waldindianer di eses Land, das Land, in dem Gott mit der Schpfung nicht fertig wurde. Erst nach de m Verschwinden der Menschen, glauben sie, werde er wiederkehren, um sein Werk zu vo llenden. (The forest Indians call this land Cayahuari Yacu, or, the land in which God ne ver finished his crea tion. Only after the humans disappear, they believe, will he return to complete his work). 72


In a cunning move, Herzog uses native lore to other the jungle as no t only as primordial, but unredeemed, forgotten, and neglected.1 The function of this othe ring is clearly two-fold: firstly, it sets up the jungles otherness as spiritual and almost existential, which in the course of the movie proves to be less surmountable than the mere physical otherness of a landscape, which could eventually be overcome with the help of technology. This spiritual othering thus has sense of permanence about it that mere physical di fficulty (which can be overcome with human perseverance) does not have, since it is pre-or dained by the gods that the place will never be whole. Thus, even when engine technology does finally help Fitzcarraldo get the Molly Aida over the mountain, the gods inte rvene through their In dian agents to send the ship down the treacherous rapids, leaving the la nd that Fitzcarraldo wants to conque r in its unfinished natural state. Secondly, and more importantly, Herz ogs formulation, in drawing upon a (possibly invented, and certainly embellished) native lore, se rves to give his argument credibility, while at the same time pointing out the natives own otherness vis--vis the jungle This second point I will address in more detail in the next section, but it must be noted that Herzog is specifically denying native oneness with the jungle, which is a direct attack on the Romantic ideas of the noble savage. Likewise in Aguirre, it is not only the inhabitants of the jungl e, human and animal, that are othered, but also the landscape itself. In the opening sequence, Pizarro and his crew are climbing down a mountain into the jungle below. Im mediately, the Indian slaves start dying off, not at the hands of rival tribes or from their chained slavery, but from the oppressive heat of the jungle environment, to which they are unaccust omed. Later, the danger to Aguirres mutinous 1 The authenticity of Herzogs text is highly questionable. I have thus far been unable to corroborate his use of the term Cayahuari Yacu or its supposed meaning. However, it would not be unheard of for Herzog to simply make up a quote or attribute his own words to another (presumably more credible) author. For his film Lessons of Darkness (1992), Herzog admitted to having invented the high-brow opening quote, which he falsely attributes to Blaise Pascal in order to have the audience step into th e film at a high [intellectual] level. See Rice News: The Faculty & Staff Newspaper of Rice University (6:1) (Oct 31, 1996). http://www.media.rice.edu/media/News Bot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=5907&SnID=2 73


crew is not just the arrows co ming from the jungle, but also th e inorganic physical environment itself. As one of the rafts becomes stuck near th e rocky bank, the violently stirring waters of the river become deadly. As the camera focuses on the beauty of the white water for several seconds, it becomes clear that underlying this beauty is a lethal menace. In Little Dieter, the protagonist goes to great lengths to show how inhosp itable the jungle environment is for the German/American: the heat is nearly unbearable, th e thorns cut his feet, a nd despite the diversity of jungle life forms he can find little to eat. Herzogs othering of that demonic and nightma rish character named Jungle has met with hefty criticism. Obviously, environmentalists are angered that Herzog would build a boat high in the trees of the forest for the filming of Aguirre, only to leave the monstr osity as a scar in the canopy when filming was completed.2 And one hardly needs to be an eco-warrior to be appalled that Herzog would clear-cut a 50-foot wide swath of primeval rain fo rest in the interest of profit at a time when it was clear that this endange red biosphere was already disappearing at an alarming rate. Indeed, it seems that in Herzogs logic there is nothing which is essentially or independently valuable in the character that app ears in his films in the role of Jungle. For him, landscape only seems to have an existential wort h to the extent that humans are able to be moved, affected, challenged, or perhaps even aw estruck by it. Its contours are only meaningful or symbolic to the degree that this meaning is inscribed into it by the filmmaker and read by the viewer. Although Herzog has repeated ly claimed to be concerned about the destruction of the environment, he is able to jus tify his own limited effacement of the landscape by appeal to what he considers to be the most noble human achievement and the key to human survival: selfarticulation through art, or in terms of cinema, the quest for new and adequate images: 2 In his interviews with Paul Cronin in 2002, Herzog seemed proud to claim that the boat was probably still in the trees to this day, although he could not verify it. 74


As a race, we have become aware of certain dangers that surround us. We have understood that the destruction of the envir onment ins another enormous danger. But I truly believe that the lack of adequate imagery is a danger of the same magnitude. I have said this before and will repeat it agai n as long as I am able to talk: if we do not develop adequate images we will die out like dinosaurs. (Herzog 66) In a certain sense, time has vindicated Herzog s scarring of the landscape, at least in the case of Fitzcarraldo When he returned to the site wher e the Molly Aida had been dragged over the mountain for the filming of Mein bester Feind in 1999, the previously clear-cut path was no longer detectable as new growth has apparently merged seamlessly with old growth. In effect, Herzogs incision into the forest created a tempor ary injury, but left no la sting scarat least not on the landscape. John Davidson has leveled the charge that Herzogs appropriati on and exploitation of Indian lands is nothing less than a form of neo-co lonialism, even as the film itself seems to claim an anti-colonialist stance. Davidsons argument is supported by the fact that even Herzog has acknowledged that it would have be en much more practical to build a model ship and create the entire spectacle of the film through studio effect s. Yet Herzog wanted to impress his audience with an authentic image so that the underlying truth of the story would be immediately accessible to the spectator, and thus he chose to re -enact a clearly colonialist gesture in order to give us an adequate image. Inasmuch as th e jungle is treated as its own autonomous and clearly othered character in Herzogs oeuvre, a nd to the extent that th is other is willfully subjected to the power of Herz ogs colonialist hero, it seems fruitful to understand the landscape itself (as an entity separate from its inhabita nts) as subaltern in the sense that Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak employs the term. Spivak, in responding to the premises of Subaltern Studies, criticizes the idea th at, given the opportunity, subaltern groups can find their own voice or express and define their own collective identitie s, partly because the id ea of a subaltern itself already assumes an essentialist saming of the heterogeneous multiplicity within every 75


marginalized group, and partly because the subalte rn articulations of be ing that are extracted from Subaltern Studies are always already filte red through the language a nd culture of power. In the case of Amazonian jungle, Koe pnick has demonstrated that the efforts of Herzogs colonial heroes are thwarted by their inability to view the multiplicity of the jungle outside of their Western rationalism: in other words, they attempt to impose an imperial language of Enlightenment upon an other that simply doe snt act according to logic of the imposed grammar. Herzog seems to want to grant a voice to the jungle by focusing endlessly on what we might interpret as autonomous sylv an articulations of being, from the deafening rage of a furious river to the uncanny silen ce of a forest waiting to swallow up an explorer in an unnavigable maze of thorns and quicksand. Yet we as Western viewers seem doomed to understand even these articulations through the filters of our cultures an d counter-cultures. Despite Herzogs efforts to the contrary, whether we are repulsed, like von Hu mboldt, by the radical otherness of the hostile landscape, awestruck by its seemi ngly infinite intensity, or prep ared to adopt (appropriated) native notions of belonging to the earth rather than the other wa y around, we are still left in Herzogs films with nothing more than a thor oughly Western gaze at an unknowable Other whose language we are simply unable to understand. It is apparent that Herzogs intent ional treatment of landscape as individual actor/character rather than as mere setting serves a particular purpose in regards to the Romantic dreamer: to successfully overcome the constraints of the environment itself, a mere set of factual circumstances, requires little more than suffi cient technology. But to challenge an active adversary, a living and breathing opp onent with its own agendaeven if the effort failsis to 76


assert the mysterious power of human desire.3 Yet Herzogs effort to personify and other the landscape in order to create a new mythology of unlimited individual pot ential fails because it relies on a poetic anthropomorphi sm that leads to an epistemological quagmire. On the one hand, he wants us to understand the absolute othe rness of the jungle thr ough knowledge gained by witnessing and feeling its self -expression. On the other hand, th e jungles subaltern status, established in the othering process, already di ctates that we cannot really know the landscape at all, since we, just like Herzogs heroes, are unable to es cape our Western perspective. Herzogs portrayal of the victor y of the jungle over the West ern pioneer is not only to be understood as a rebuttal to thos e naive Romantic understandings of the natural world that imagine a sort of cosmic harmony in the unive rse which is only disturbed by the unnatural, rational acts of mankind. As we will see in the next section, Herzogs jungle films radically reject the idea of universal harmony, positing in its place a theory of universal suffering. However, this is not to say that Herzog pr oposes a rationalist re sponse to the New Age sentimentalism that he finds so revolting.4 The overly rationalist Germ an impulse is also is criticized in Herzogs Amazonian films. As Koepnick has shown, German forestry, far from being a celebration of untouched na ture, is intimately tied to Cart esian rationalism and geometric reason, as the confusion of the forest is tame d with careful planning, circular routes are straightened out, and challenge s to human domination are syst ematically removed. Thus, the symbiosis of the German and his forest is orga nized in such a way that the rational human is 3 On his own website The Sticking Place, Paul Cronin, editor of Herz og on Herzog posts several quotes from his interviews with Herzog which did not appear in the book. Regarding the power of human desire, Herzog says It wasnt money that pulled the boat over the mountain, is was faith (Cronin 2007). 4 For Herzogs comments on New Age spiritualism, a typical example can be found in his interview with the San Francisco Bay Guardian in which his claims that upon hearing the words new age his response is to immediately lower my head and ch arge. I charge instantly (SFBG). In Mein bester Feind Herzog expresses his contempt for Kinskis staged gestures toward New Age sp iritualism as the latter arranged for a cameraman to follow him 50 feet into the jungle and to film him pretending to copulate with a tree. 77


always in control of that which is untamed onl y on the surface. Thus, in his Amazonian films, Herzog shows the incompatibility between this type of ordered thinking and the infinite variation offered by the rain forest: his heroes fail not b ecause of the inner rot of Western civilization (Sharman 101) or the inadequ acy of their instruments of domination (the canon, the map, the steamship), or even the nature of their typically German Grenwahn, but because of the infinite nature of the jungle itself. The othered animal The cosmic incompatibility between European and jungle that Herzog pos its in his films is further strengthened by his negativ e portrayal of the w ildlife that makes the jungle its home. In most respects, the animals of the Herzogs jung les are nearly indistinguishable from their environment, inasmuch as they are the vict ims and agents of its lust for death. In Burden of Dreams Herzog expresses his distaste for the envir onment and particularly for the claims made by certain people (including Kinski ) that the jungle is life gi ving in an erotic sense: I dont see it so much erotic. I see it more full of obscenity. Nature here is vile and base. I wouldnt see anything erotic here. I would see fornicati on and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and growing and just rotting away. Of course, there is a lot of misery. But it is the same misery that is all around us. The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I dont think they si ng; I think they just screech in pain. It is noteworthy that the shared suffering of the birds, trees, and humans does not function to unite them against the greater Other, the landscape: here, the enemys enemy is not necessarily ones friend and the animal that is itself a victim can just as easily be an aggressor. As the Indians, who have offered Fitzcarraldo their as sistance in getting the ship over the mountain, happily clear cut a path through their own territory in the hopes of ridding the land of the curse to which it has been subjected, they detect one of the jungles most dangerous snakes and immediately kill it with their spears. In doing so, they effectively shatter the Romantic European fantasy that so-called primitive peoples have a pr ivileged relationship with nature or respect all 78


life forms. The realism in this scene, which for Westerners is shocking in its seeming brutality, is hardly disputable, and the killing of the snake de picted in the film was not staged, but rather a lucky break for Herzog which occurred during the filming of the destruction of the forest (DVD Commentary). Not so lucky for Herzog was the fact that during the same filming a member of the local crew who was bitten by a poisonous snake was forced to make the quick and nearly incomprehensible decision to amputate his own foot with his machete in orde r to save his life. In Grizzly Man Herzog takes aim at those who woul d romanticize the grizzly bear. And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a se cret world of the bears. And this blank stare speaks only of a half-bored interest in food. (Grizzly Man ) As irrefutable proof that the bears are not only life-threatening to humans, but also savagely aggressive toward each other, He rzog shows us the footage in which Treadwell stumbles upon the perfectly clean, white skull of a juvenile bear, which has been killed by an adult male. The horror of the site, together with the knowledge that this juvenile has been almost completely cannibalized by member s of its own species, serves as a guarantor of the grizzlys otherness. In Little Dieter, Herzog has the protagonist, Dieter Dengler, tell the audience how he avoided a death by skirting the advances of a hungry bear. In Wings of Hope (1999), Herzogs documentary about Juliane Kpcke, we learn how the 17-year-old Ge rman used her uncanny knowledge of the jungle to survive both crocodiles and stingrays after the plane she was riding in crashed into the jungle, not fa r from where Herzog was shooting Aguirre The monkeys that raid Aguirres raft at the end of the film appear to be sent from the jungle itself to pick the last ves tiges of food from doomed vessel, only to return to their sylvan master with the booty theyve co llected. Aguirres brutal treatm ent of the one he manages to catch highlights the fact that, ju st like the two native Indians that Aguirres men have previously 79


captured and subsequently murdered, the monk eys are individually powerless, yet in their numbers are able to wreak the jungles coll ective havoc on the radical ly subjectivized and isolated European. In other instances, Herzog uses animals to make metaphorical comments on his actors, his audience, or West ern society in general. While Aguirres horse epitomizes the irrevocable displacement of th e Westerner in Amazonia, the champagne-drinking horse in the opening scene of Fitzcarraldo is clearly an indictment of th e gross social injustice created by colonialism. As Fitzcarraldo lies in his j ungle cabin impressing na tive children with his phonograph machine, he is accompanied by a pig which he has befriended. He understands the pig not only as a friend, but also as a fan, as he has already to ld Molly: The children are my publicand a pig. The children get to listen to the cracking music from the phonograph, but the pig is promised something even better: When I build my opera house, I will see to it that you have your own box, and a velvet chair. In this scene, Herzog uses the image of a domesticated pig not only to point out and (a nd make fun of) the dreamers na ive connection to children and animals, but also to highlight the incompatibility of Western and indigenous cultures: the pig in a velvet seat at the opera house is no more out of place than is that same opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. Pigs and horses are not the only domes ticated animals that Herzog employs metaphorically. His animosity toward chickens was already documented in Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), during the filming of which Herzog captures scenes in which chickens brutally attack and cannibalize each other.5 Although Herzog portrays the chicke n as infinitely stupid and senselessly violent and malignant, it does not become the agent of a diabolical landscape in the 5 One of Herzogs most famous quotes relates back to this incident: Look into the eyes of a chicken and you will see real stupidity. It is a kind of bottomless stupidity, a fiendish stupidity. They are the most horrifying, cannibalistic and nightmarish creatur es in this world (Herzog 99). 80


way that the grizzly bear or the snake does. In the final scenes of Stroszek, as the protagonist Bruno is fleeing from the chaos of his attempted life in America, he makes a final stop in Cherokee, North Carolina. Before shooting himself on a sky ride, he drops co ins into a series of arcade amusements featuring, among other things, a chicken that performs a dance for a grain of corn. Herzogs insistence on includ ing this scene in the film (which his film crew was against) is explained by the fact that he sees in this ridiculous freak show a great metaphor, although he refuses to say what it might be (Herzog 99). The answ er to that inquiry likely lies in the fact that Herzog had the chicken do its barnyard shuffle fo r much longer than it normally would for the single grain of corna feat whic h required that the bird be in tensively retrained for several weeks. As we watch this almost embarrassi ngly senseless spectacle go on and on, we become aware that what we are watching is not so much a reflection on the stupid ity of the chicken as a comment on the artificiality and emptiness that becomes the mainstay of our daily lives. Thus, the chicken becomes not the other of Western civi lization, but the catalyst in a process by which we become other to ourselves. The othered native Many scholars have passionately attacked Herzog for his treatment of native peoples, both in terms of their portrayals in his films and in the proces s of production. In terms of the filmic depictions, criticism has centered around Herzogs alleged failure to fully condemn European imperialism within the narrative of the film or to rec ognize the portray the Indians in a way that humanizes them and ma rks a distinction between them and their environment. Sharman, for example, criticizes the fact that Herzog fails to present his na tives as individual characters with individual biographies (99). This cr iticism is accurate to a certain point. In Aguirre the Indians are either depicted as a horde of slaves to Pizarros ex pedition, invisible organs of the forest shooting arrows at the intruding Europeans, or anonymous i ndividuals captured and 81


subsequently executed for disrespecting the Bible. In Fitzcarraldo, the natives of the jungle are likewise shown to be an extensi on of the landscape: as they fe ll huge trees into the river to prevent the retreat of the Molly Aida, it seems as though it is the forest itself which is closing in on the interlopers, moving in perfect harmony with the natives in their canoes. However, as the Indians board Fitzcarraldos vesse l, one of their leaders appear s and attempts to communicate with the crew. As he continues to speak, neithe r Fitzcarraldo nor the audi ence has any idea what is being said and the look in the eyes of the ma n gives no clue as to what we are to understand. Here we understand that it is th e inability of the Europeans to understand the language of the natives that prevents us from understanding their story or recognizing their individuality. For us, the natives indeed remain inaccessible and totally othered, but only because of our own linguistic ignorance. Koepnick points out that it is to Herzogs credit that he re fuses to pretend to be able to portray the Indians from outside of the imperial perspective or to show images of peaceful native village life, because to do so would be to give in to the illusion that we could ever gaze at the native without being seen in return (Colonial Forestry 158). Adopting an argument from Bill Niven, Sharman sees in portrayals of undeveloped South American jungle and its natives a form of spi ritual exploitation, whereby the weary Western soul colonizes, either in his imagination or by fact of migration, a virginal territory still unscathed by the devastation that has been wreaked upon European landscapes and organic communities by technological advance and rampant indi vidualism. In the act of fantasizing itself, according to this argument, the European directly appropriates spiritual themes that Sharman sees as typical of native spirituality, such as the union between the individual and something greater than oneself (97). Sharmans attempt to pr otect native cultural capital from the parasitic Westerner is flawed, however, in that it essentializes cultures and treats them as unitary and 82


static individuals. Ideas do not belong to cult ures: they do and should belong to humanity. If Europeans are weary of the results of rationali sm, industrialism, consum erism, and modernist isolation, then they must be allo wed to adopt what Sharman consider s to be healthier ideas rather than be admonished to stick to the ideologies th at led to the inner rot of European civilization in the first place. I would argue th at the converse is also true: because the essentializing of native culture posits a primitive utopia that lives in aesthetic harmony with nature, it wrongly precludes the possibility that native cultures can and do benefit from ideas arriving from the outside (Rollins 193, Herzog 11). Unfortunately, Sh armans argument is largely misplaced with regards to Herzogs portrayals of Amazonia, for unlike in more naive, romanticized representations of the virgin rain forest, Herzogs jungle is in no way suited for European spiritual convalescence from the ills of rationalis m or the industrial revolution, no retreat from those malignancies that, according her Sharman, defi ne European culture: the thirst for power and riches, corruption in all spheres of human interaction, and visions of racial superiority (101). If anything, Herzogs portrayal of the jungle breaks with a long tradition of romanticizing the jungle and its inhabitants by crea ting and highlighting its otherness. Criticism could, however, be leveled at Herzogs spiritual exploitatio ns, but not in the sense that Sharman describes it. Herzogs approp riation of native spiritualism life comes in the form of simply borrowing, alteri ng, and re-presenting native mythol ogies in order to further his own, thoroughly Western point of vi ew vis--vis the nature of tr uth. One of the most obvious examples is to be seen in the soundtracks to Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo, and Cobra Verde all of which feature the music of Popol Vuh, a Germ an electronica band head ed by Herzogs friend Florian Flicke and named after th e religious writings of the Maya Indians of Central America. Not surprisingly, the music has precious little to do with na tive sounds or indigenous ideas, 83


despite the pretense of the bands name. And although these s oundtracks are deeply moving and suggestive of the great mysteries of human emo tion, the synthesis that produces these haunting electronic sounds is clearly a Western phenomenon. Another example can be found in Where the Green Ants Dream (1984), a feature film dealing with the ongoing land conflicts between aboriginal Australians and development companies that serve the interest of white Australians. For this film, Herzog appropriate d a Mayan creation story from th e Popol Vuh and reformulated it as a myth of the Aborigines in what appears to be an explicit attempt to show the fundamental incompatibility between Western and native appr oaches to land use (Herzog 206), while at the same time implicitly claiming that, at least as far as revealing an ecsta tic truth to a Western audience is concerned, one native culture is interchangeable with the next. Ive already mentioned the example of the text that Herzog superimposes on the opening scene of Fitzcarraldo in which a mythological account of the creation of the world, allegedly taken from the native Indians them selves, is re-told to the audience. This re-telling is clearly problematic in the sense that presenting the j ungle as unfinished creation (in native eyes) indirectly de-legitimizes native attempts to improve and develop the land and casts doubt upon their claim to it as their exclusive space.6 Thus, if the Westerner is goi ng to fail in his attempts to improve this land, it is not because his claims to it conflict with native claims (as they have none), or because their lore precludes its developm ent (since, from a Wester n perspective, Indian 6 In no way am I attempting to argue that Herzog intends to delegitimize native claims to custodianship (if not ownership in the Western sense) of the land that they inhabit. In fact, Herzog has successfully intervened in politics in Peru in order to secure the property rights of native Indians who were involved in his film projects. What I am arguing is that his appropriation of native mythology serves directly to legitimize his own attempts to complete creation by conquering the ch aos of the jungle in order to complete the film. Thus, while Fitzcarraldos ultimate failure to conquer nature reaffirms the incomp atibility of the Westerner and the jungle, Herzogs own success in actually getting the ship over the mountain and in completing the film reaffirms the immunity that the auteur filmmaker enjoys vis--vis the rules that th e rest of us, including Fitzcarraldo, must follow. 84


lore only applies to Indians). If he fails, it is because the lands cape itself, as separate from the natives, autonomously resists appropriation. In his attempt to other native peoples, Herz og does not shy away from reference to the less-than-noble savagery of the Indians, partic ularly the Jbaro, toward fellow human beings.7 Thus, when Fitzcarraldos captain warns I fear that we four will soon end up as shrunken heads, he is referring to the well-known pr actice among the Jbaro tribes of decapitating and subsequently shrinking the heads of their captur ed enemies, which are obtained during what anthropologist Bengt Danielsson refers to as the Jbaros w ars of extermination (86).8 For German audiences, the reference to shrunken heads is likely to be particularly unnerving, as it evokes images of the infamous shrunken head of Buchenwald which was to become one of the most notorious pieces of evidence of Nazi sava gery introduced at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.9 Just as Herzog uses the highly charged symbol of the shiny, white s kull to establish the otherness of the wild animal (e.g. in Grizzly Man ), he also employs human skulls to establish the otherness of natives. In Cobra Verde the African king, a corrupt lo cal monarch who sells black slaves to white traders, uses human skulls by the hundreds to advertise his absolute power and 7 The connection between severed heads and native savagery is also alluded to in Little Dieter Needs to Fly as Dieter Dengler vividly describes how angry Laotian villagers beheaded his unarmed friend Duane with a machete. 8 Herzogs characterization of (some) native tribes as mortally dangerous is not limited to their presentation in the films themselves. In Burden of Dreams Herzog recounts how two of his Indian workers were shot with arrows and seriously injured by Indians of another tribe further upstream, members of which had paddled downstream looking for turtle eggs. Allegedly, the Indians of Herzogs camp convinced him to lend them firearms so that they could travel upstream and make a show of force in order to prevent any further incursio ns. From his interview, it is clear that Herzog wants to convince the audience of the constant danger of violence posed by aggressive tribes not only to Westerners, but also to the South American crew and the indigenous cast, and he is clearly uncomfortable with the fact th at Western-style negotiations seem as out-of-place in the jungle as Herzog himself. 9 See Douglas Lawrence, The Shrunken Head of Buchenwald: Icons of Atrocity at Nuremberg. Representations 63 (Summer 1988) 39-64. 85


adorn his home. In this case the skulls announce the kings arbitrary brutality, establishing his absolute otherness vis--vis the Westerner, w hose violence is rationa l and calculated. Thus, although the white trader may be forgiven for faili ng to see a real human being beneath the black skin and barbarity of of his Other, the king is depicted as essentially evil, selling his fellow Africans into the slow smothering death of slaver y and celebrating death by collecting skulls as prizes.10 In Aguirre, the mutineers raid an Indian village only to discov er the dangling skeletal remains of their former comrades, as well as a shiny white skull at the bottom of a water-filled clay pot. Assuming that the skull is proof that the natives are actually cannibals, the party of conquistadors immediately retreats to the river. The reference to can nibalism here is particularly noteworthy. While it may be true that, at the time of the Spanish conquest, exo-cannibalism (i.e., eating the flesh of captured human enemies) wa s practiced by a limited number of Amazonian tribes such as the Wari (Instituto Ambiental; Conklin), it seems that Herzog may himself be over-generalizing its prevalence in an attempt to establish difference between the particular barbarity of the Europeans with an equally ghastly native barbarity. In doing so, he contributes to a long literary tradition in which the sign of the cannibal has served as an effective trope of the signifier of the other/Othe r (Sewlall 159). Although it ma y be argued that Herzogs conquistadors are simply expressi ng the ignorance and prejudices of their time, it must be considered highly suspect that there is no indica tion whatsoever in the film that would cast doubt upon the accuracy of their assessment. In other wo rds, Herzogs failure to gesture toward the 10 It is worth noting that in the DVD commentary to the film, Herzog states explicitly that one of the things he was trying to convey was the extent to which Africans themselves were implicated in the slave trade. That a wellrespected German filmmaker would attempt to diminish Euro-American guilt for the institution of slavery by citing the complicity of a small number of African leaders is tantamount to blaming the victims. His reasoning is no different than that of the former CDU politician Martin Hohmann, who claimed that Jews could be considered a Ttervolk (perpetrating people) because of the involvement of several individual Jews in the crimes of Bolshevism and Stalinism. 86


inaccuracy of the accusation of cannibalism mi sleads uninformed viewers and perpetuates a negative stereotype of pre-Columbian indigenous cultures. Herzogs preoccupation with skulls as symbols of otherness is inte resting, as the skull seems to have a special place in recent German history. The pseudo-science of phrenology which sought to prove a correlation between s kull shape and personality, intelligence, and criminality, was founded by German physicia n Franz Joseph Gall around 1800, and became an important component of s cientific racism well in to the twentieth centur y. The Nazi fascination with skulls, and particularly with the compar ison between Aryan and inferior skulls, is demonstrated clearly in the case of University of Strasbourg anatomy pr ofessor August Hirt, who in 1943 organized the killing of 86 Jews at the nearby concentration camp Strufhof-Nazweiler in order to make a collection of Jewish skulls for public display.11 Those familiar with German colonial history will remember that it took Ge rmany fifty years to return the skull of the rebellious Sultan Mkvava of the colony of German East Africa, which had been removed, cleaned, and sent to Germany for public display af ter the chieftain killed himself in lieu of falling into colonial German hands. That Herzog pulls from this history in his films of the exotic is telling, because its function in establishing and symbolizing otherness is the common thread in all these stories. However, it is important to keep in mind that Herzogs ot hering of the Jbaro, or of the African king, or of the grizzly, through ma nipulation of the symbol of the skull, is anything but a call for destruction of the native. Rather, it is a call for the retreat of the Westerner from hostile terrain. Herzogs Indians, like the forest they inhabit, are presented as radical alterity, impenetrable to the gaze of the Westerner, who sees in the eyes of this ultimate Other not his 11 See Hans-Joachim Lang. Die Namen der Nummern. Wie es gelang, die 86 Opfer eines NS-Verbechens zu identifizieren. Frankfurt: Fischer Verlag, 2007. 87


soul, but an empty blank stare which reveals nothing of his human ity. The viewer might expect Fitzcarraldos captain, whose uncanny ability to pinpoint his location by th e taste of the rivers water at any given point, to have some understand ing of the native Indian s, who we assume to have the same ability. Yet it is precisely this ch aracter who insists that even a common language (through an interpreter) cannot br idge the gap in understanding, sa ying you cant tell what they really think. Herzogs intentional othering of the Amazonian Indian through the symbolism of the empty stare is all the more convincing when considered together with his commentary in Grizzly Man where he derides Timothy Treadwells be lief that he can understand grizzly bears by looking thoughtfully into their ey es at their souls, which aren t so different from his own. Herzog, on the other hand, tells the viewer that he sees nothing but a blank stare in the grizzlys eye, a testament to the unbridgeable gap between wild animal and the human being. In the end, Herzog allows himself to be proven correct, as the story ends with Treadwell and his girlfriend being mauled to death by a hungry bear. Herzogs othering of the native is not lim ited to attempts to portray them as incomprehensible or exceptionally violent. In The White Diamond (2004), Herzogs documentary about the efforts of British aerospa ce engineering professor Graham Dorrington to develop an airship to study the rain forest ca nopy in Guyana, Herzog uses a native Rastafarian, Marc Anthony Yhap, as a local guide. On th e surface, Herzog seems to respect Yhaps knowledge of the local geography and value him as a trusted friend, even going so far as to attempt to help locate Yhaps long lost mother in Spain. However, an intertextual reading of the film reveals a disturbing cynicism in Herzogs portrayal. At one point, Yhap leads Herzog and the camera crew to the top of a hill in order to view the Kaieteur falls. As the camera focuses in on a single drop of water, revealing an inverted image of the entire falls within the water drop, 88


Herzog asks Yhap whether he sees in this one dr op of water the whole universe. Yhap turns to Herzog and, after a studied pause, says I canno t hear what you say for the thunder that you are. Initially, this seems to be a ve ry lofty answer, indicating the in herent wisdom of the native and its superiority to the condescending, pseudo-philo sophical babble of the We sterner. Yet Herzogs audience will likely recognize th e line as an exact quote from Cobra Verde uttered by Francisco Manoel da Silva (Klaus Kinski) as he writhes on the ground in front of the brutal African king, Nana Agyefi Kwame II. Thus Yhap, far from bei ng the wise native, appears as a copycat and his wisdom is revealed as a staged farce. Furthe rmore, audiences familiar with Herzogs animosity toward the devilish stupidity of the chicken will take note that Herzog focuses particular attention on Yhaps unyielding devo tion to his best friend, a roos ter with five wives. Here, Yhap unwittingly becomes the butt of a long-running Herzogian joke. Perhaps Herzogs most respectful presentati on of native knowledge takes place in Grizzly Man In order to demonstrate the folly of Ti mothy Treadwells hands-on approach to the grizzly, Herzog interviews Sven Haakanson Jr., executive director of the Alutiiq Museum in Kondiak, Alaska, who claims that his people (Alaska natives) have co-existed with grizzlies for seven thousand years precisely because they al ways maintain a respectful distance between themselves and the dangerous bears. What is inte resting here is that Haakanson is a completely Westernized native, having earned his doctorate in Anthropology from Harvard. The only hint of authentic natives in the museum where the interv iew takes place is a glo ssy plastic model of a male native in traditional dress. It may be argued, as Koepnick has, that Herzog spares his viewer the illusion of authenticity by refraining from depicting natives in an idealized natural environment. But inasmuch as the highly educated, Westernized native serves as an unquestioned source of legitimate knowledge, and the glaringly artificial model of the native 89


serves to accentuate not only th e illegitimacy of our Western cons tructions of native bodies, but also the incompatibility of native modes of liv ing in a modern world, Herzogs juxtaposition of these two poles serves to legitimize Western rati onalism (even if flavored by leftover tidbits of native knowledge) while othering the real na tive by casting him as a relic of the past. One might well wonder what purpose Herzogs othering of the jungle landscape and its human and animal inhabitants serves. Indeed, He rzogs often hostile treatment of these topics seems at first counterintuitive, given Germany s historically impressi ve engagement with ecological preservation in the form of Naturschutz and Herzogs own oft-repeated warnings about the destruction of the environment (Herzog 66) and his efforts to pr event the pollutingof Indian culture by segregating the Indian actors from the European and mestizo actors (and filming crew) during the filming of Fitzcarraldo ( Burden of Dreams ).12 Thus, Herzogs is not an argument for a rationalist taming of the rain fo rest or for a modernization of native Indian cultures. On the contrary, it is a call for disenga gement, yet another articulation of what has now become a universal slogan agains t neo-colonialism: Yankee Go Home! The fact that Herzog himself refused to go home speaks less to the impo ssibility of the call than to Herzogs sense of entitlement, a self-declared artistic immunity from the rules that are binding only for the nonartists of the world. This seem ing double-standard, discussed more thoroughly in a later section, is brought into relief in one of Herzogs interviews in Burden of Dreams in which he explains 12 It is to his credit that Herzog, unlike many of his critics, manages to portray the complexity of issues of ethnic identity and power relations in his Amazonian film s. Particularly in Fitzcarraldo, the multiplicity of identifications frustrates attempts to delineate a binary system of colonizer vs. colonized and powerful vs. powerless. Although Fitzcarraldo with his conspicuously blond hair an d snow white suit epitomizes the power of the colonizer, this power becomes meaningless as the na tive Jbaro board the ship and his life (and that of the crew) is put in their hands. Yet instead of exercisi ng their power to kill Fitzcarraldo and his cr ew (as they have so many other invaders White and Indian), the Jbaro decide to use it to rid themselves of the curse that has been ravaging their land. The successful haul of the ship over the mountain is credited not to Fitzcarraldos genius, but to that of the mestizo cook Huerequeque. And it is not the white God Fitzcarraldo wh o wants to teach the hostile Indians along the riverbank a lesson by way of gunfire, but the Westernized Indian mechanic, Cholo (Miguel ngel Fuentes). 90


how production of the film was nearly shut down by a group of German agitators who had come to the set location and passed out photos of mass graves from Nazi concentration camps, telling them that this would also happen to them if they cooperated with Herzogs production. The implication, of course, is that those German agitators have no right to be there, while Herzog, as artist, clearly does. The Last Amazonian Virgin In the language of critical literature dea ling with European imperialism it is common practice to employ a gendered vocab ulary which explicitly equate s the violence of colonization with the act of rape, where the European is cast as a masculine rapist, and the jungle and its inhabitants are staged as femini zed characters to be penetrat ed and exploited. Within this grammar, the jungle is often semantically equate d with the virgin, and references to virgin territory and virgin forest abound.13 This understanding is supe rficially furthered by stereotyped notions of the symbio sis of the continental German and his beloved German forest as well as Herzogs own alleged promotion of la ndscape from setting to character. Yet Herzog undermines both the Heimat and the Enlightenment notion of a vi rgin forest by casting the exotic jungle instead as both femme fatale and prostitu te. Aguirre and Fitzcarra ldo are both drawn into the heretofore unseen parts of the seemingly virgin forest by the promise of satisfaction of their lust for riches and power, only to be struck dow n when the true nature of that seductress is revealed. In Aguirre, the presentation of the deadly forest stands in direct c ontrast to that of Aguirres daughter, whose youth, reticence, and co mpliance to her fathers will is strongly suggestive of virginity. Indeed, the uncanniness of the scenes involving the interaction of the 13 I do not claim that anti-colonialists invented the metaphor of virgin forest, but rather that many unwittingly adopt a problematic vocabulary which was dissem inated by Romantic narratives of the noble savage and incorporated into colonial fantasy. 91


boat between Aguirre and his daughter derives not so much from their implicit incest, but from the juxtaposition of the loyal and virginal daugh ter in the boat and her treacherous sylvan double at the shore. It seems that Aguirres daughter is, fo r Herzog, the last Amazonian virgin. In Fitzcarraldo which was released ten years after Aguirre, the figure of the virgin has transformed into that of the prostitute, albeit a sympathetic one. Here, the obvious comparison is that between the colonial prostitute, who as Fitzcarraldos mistress becomes the financier and the facilitator of his many failed colonial projec ts, and the femme fatale in the form of the jungle and its inhabitants, who lure and then deceive Fitzcarraldo by assisting hi m to haul his ship over the mountain, only to later send it crashing into the rocks downstream in fulfillment of their own desire to rid the land of a suspected curse. It is easy to read this curse as the yoke of colonialism itself, and the association of the colonial projec t with prostitution and mo ral decay is indicative of Herzogs condemnation of the colonialist enterprise.14 Art ber Alles Although Herzogs jungle films ar e often understood to be critical of colonialism, this is clearly not their main, or even their intended function. While Aguirre most directly criticized colonialism by depicting the barbarism of the Sp anish conquest of the Am ericas, Herzogs later films are much more ambiguous in their relationship to the results of im perialism. Fitzcarraldo, for example, is depicted as a wholly sympathetic character in spite of the fact that he is essentially trying to rob native Indians of thei r land and resources. More striking is Herzogs treatment of Francisco Manoel da Silva in Cobra Verde : although the whit e slave trader 14 It is interesting to note that during the filming of Fitzcarraldo, prostitutes were brought to the remote set (under the advice of a Catholic priest!) in order to ensure that the European, Brazilian, and Peruvian actors and crew would not be tempted to initiate sexual relations with I ndian women, which presumably would have had disastrous results. Thus, the intersection of native and European cultures during production yielded precisely the same social consequences which Herzog, in the film, shows to be the result of colonialism ( Burden of Dreams ). 92


epitomizes the extreme inhumanity of colonialism, his death is depicted not so much as a direct effect of his moral bankruptcy or even as retribution for the way he has treated other human beings, but rather from the almost regrettable fact that the world has moved forward while he has hedged his bets on the ideologies of the past. In Little Dieter Herzog declines to directly criticize American imperialist warmongering in Vietnam, opting instead to focus on the heroism of the German-American fighter pilot shot down on a bombing mission over Laos, while sidestepping questions as to the morality of his active, even ecstatic participation in the bombing of civilians, or the the fact that he killed several guards during his escape. Herzogs refusal to seriously engage the mora l questions of colonia lism, despite the fact that he seems well aware of its ev ils, is a direct result of his unfettered Romantic veneration of the single-minded obsessiveness of th e artist, the poet, the adventurer who by virtue of his gift is given an artistic license which seems to exempt him from the rules that everyday people are expected to follow. Thus, while Herzog can be sa id to have inverted certain paradigms of the Romantic world view, particularly its naive sentimentalism via--vis nature and primitive cultures, he wholeheartedly embraces a view of the artist as prophet, as someone whose duty it is to give the masses the truth they long for, even if it mean s crossing boundaries that should otherwise be respected. To that end, Herzog imbues his protagonists with a particularly German brand of idealism and an obsessive zeal fo r achieving impossible dreams. To use a more archetypically German constellation, both A guirre and Fitzcarraldo continue the age-old Romantic quest for Heinrich von Ofterdingens imagined Blue Flower (Petzke). Whereas Aguirres obsession and later dementia are clearl y indicative of the darker side of the late Romantic period, Fitzcarraldos nominal quests fo r riches in one failed capitalist venture after another are driven at their core by his presumab ly more lofty dream of bringing high art (in the 93


form of an opera house) to the jungles of Sout h America, a goal which Herzog portrays as noble, although misguided. Indeed, in Burden of Dreams Herzog claims in one interview to be articulating through the figure of F itzcarraldo the dreams of all his viewers, which clearly is not meant to include the Indians of Peru. Its not only my dreams, its my belief that they are yours as well, and the only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate. and that is what poetry or literature or filmmaking is all about. its as simple as that. I make films because I have not learned anything else. and I know I can do it to a certain degree. and it is my duty, because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are, and we have to articulate our selves, otherwise we would be cows in the field. Yet Herzogs self-imposed, almost messianic missi on to bring expression to the greatest hopes and fears of Western (and German) culture is reveal ed in another interview to be an extension of his own melodramatic understanding of the importan ce of his own will to achieve his own nearly impossible dreams: If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams, and I dont want to live like that. I live my life or I end my life with this project. The sense of entitlement which accompanies the Romantic elevation of the dreamer to the status of prophet is articulated in Fitzcarraldo by the protagonists mistress Molly: wh en after a 1,200 mile journey down the river the couple arrives without tickets at an opera house in Mana us (Brazil) where they hope to see a performance by Enrico Carus o, they are stopped by an usher w ho refuses to let them enter. Molly convinces the usher, who also would love to see the performance but is likewise barred entry, to allow the two to enter without tickets, sayi ng He has no ticket, but he has a right! Thus, while Fitzcarraldos right to exploit the ju ngle for rubber is clearly problematic in the narrative of the film, his proclaimed right to free entry at the opera, bestowed by the Romantic logic of his boundless love for th e universal language of opera is never called into question.15 15 Here the entitlement of the dreamer Fitzcarraldo bear s a striking resemblance to Herzogs own sense of entitlement, not only to be the articulator of all of our dreams, but also to seize whatever means he needs in order to make his films. In the voice commentary to the DVD rel ease of Aguirre, Herzog relates how he stole the movie 94


It may seem inappropriate to read the fic tional characters of A guirre, Fitzcarraldo, or Francisco Manoel da Silva as artists or the r eal-life characters of Dieter Dengler, Graham Dorrington, or Timothy Treadwell as poets, yet Herzog unquestionably endows these these characters with a kind of madness and creative spirit that embody the Romantic ideals of intuition, imagination, and extrem e feeling. In other words, these characters perform the same function in Herzogs films as the poet plays in the Romantic tradition. He rzog likewise tries to imbue his protagonists with the kind of indivi duality, originality, uniqueness, and a hint of madness and flirtation with demonic forces that are the mainstays of Romantic (and still quite prevalent) conceptualizations of the artist as creative geni us. Fitzcarraldos plan seems preposterous and impossible. Both Denglers and Kpckes unbelievable escapes from the deadly rain forest are portrayed as resulting from their unique and uncanny knowledge of the secrets of the jungle.16 Dorrington claims to have developed th e first working aircraft capable of close-up observation of the forest canopy, while Tr eadwell claims to be the only person on Earth to have lived among grizzlies for su ch an extended period of time. Herzogs exaggerated emphasis on the unique ness of his characters seems to invite comparison between his characters and his own person. Indeed, Brad Pragers suggestion that Kinski in the role of Fitzcarra ldo is to be understood as a sta nd-in for Herzog himself could be taken one step further: Herzog valu es in his protagonists (and in the case of Kinski, his actors) camera that he used to make that film (and several others) from a school that he attended, explaining that as an artist he had a right to the tools of his art. The monkeys of the last scene of that movie were also obtained by way of deception: after the trappers whom He rzog had only partially paid for th e capture of 400 monkeys sold those monkeys to someone in the U.S. for animal experiments, Herzog showed up at the airport, and, pretending to be a veterinarian, demanded (successfully) that the animals be turned over for proper vaccination. After using them for the scene, he released them into the jungle (Herzog 86). 16 The German Romantic roots of Herzogs re-telling of the story of Dieter Dengler has less to do with Denglers journey overseas in order to pursue his inexp licable dream of flying than with the circumstances which landed him in the cockpit in the first pl ace: his own Faustian pact with the U.S. military in which his pilots license was obtained at the moral cost of bombing civilians in Southeast Asia. 95


the same characteristics that he values in himself. And while their feats are matched (and sometimes surpassed) by his own feats, their fa ilures are contrasted to Herzogs own cinematic success. Thus, the originality of Fitzcarraldos fi ctional endeavor to carry a ship over a mountain parallels the uniqueness of the actual movement of a ship over the mountain for the making of the film, as Herzog intentionally avoided a Hollywood-style (and presumably easier) studio effect in favor of authentic action. The uniqueness of Graham Do rringtons airship in The White Diamond is overshadowed in the film by Herzogs dubious claim that his film crew was the first ever to film the mysterious cave ar ea behind the Kaieteur waterfall. Furthermore, Herzogs successful flight in Dorringtons airship, during whic h he manages to shoot some footage of the forest canopy stands in uneasy c ontrast to Dorringtons unsuccessful attempt to do the same thing ten years prior, an attempt whic h ended in the tragic death of another German filmmaker, Dieter Plage. Thus Herzog ag ain prevails where others have failed. Herzogs relationship to Ti mothy Treadwell is likewise one of admiration, uncanny similarity, and subtle one-upmanship. He seems to celebrate the fact th at Treadwell has broken out of a life that, althoug h full of the intrigue as sociated with excessive drug use, is nonetheless unremarkable, in order to fashion for himself a persona where fact and fiction blend into something unique and interesting, and ultimately, marketable. To a certain extent, Treadwells myth-building is comparable to Herzogs. Both changed their last names in order to be more theatrical: Herzog preferred the noble sound of He rzog (Duke in German) to his legal, more Slavic-sounding surname, Stipeti and both insist upon the uniqueness and life-or-death importance of their work. Yet Herzog consciously attempts to differentiate Treadwells work from his own, often in the guise of compliment. In the film voice-over, Herzog repeatedly praises what he sees as Treadwells ability to capture moments of unbelievable beauty. Yet he subtly 96


establishes his own superiority by pointing out those quiet, seemingly empty moments when, in his opinion, the film seems to ta ke on a life of its own, although he is sure that Treadwell himself is unaware of this. Thus Herzog takes upon hims elf the paradoxical ta sk of explaining the inexplicable magic of Treadwe lls cinematography to the audience. Yet Herzog necessarily subordinates Treadwells images to his own edi ting process, during which Herzog establishes his own authorship of Grizzly Man by selecting only about one hour of a total of over one hundred hours of Treadwells footage for inclusion in the final product. Perhaps the most solid evidence for Herzogs Romantic privileging of the artist is the power that his grants to hims elf and other artists in the form of knowledge. Although it is generally taken for granted that narrators know more than they actually passes on to their readers, viewers, and listeners, the differen tial between the known and the expressed normally remains concealed, as the recipient of knowledge assumes that he or she is being given all relevant information. Authorship is most overtly established and propr ietary knowledge most blatantly flaunted when narrators intentionally excise certain critical information from their narratives. In most cases, their elis ion has the purpose of keeping the reader or listener interested in the story. In Herzogs case, however, his ap propriation of knowledge is open and adverse, presented to the listener as privileged informa tion that he or she is not allowed, as a mere consumer of art, to access. Herzogs treatment of the Kaieteur falls in The White Diamond serves as an example. During the shooting, one of the crew managed to film the area behind the falls, normally accessible only to the millions of swifts th at nest there. Herzog is quick to claim that this has never been done, and that the area has ne ver been seen by human eyes. However, instead of showing us the image, he decides to keep it for himself, supposedly in deference to local Indian custom, which forbids the vi ewing of the mysterious area. In Grizzly Man Herzog 97


continues to tease the audien ce with knowledge that it cannot possess. At one point, Herzog attempts to exposes Treadwells dependence on other people (in contradiction to Treadwells self-propagated mythology of extreme self-relian ce) by noting that, at several points in time, Treadwell had been accompanied in the wilder ness by various women who here shall remain nameless. The climax of the story, Timothy and Amies violent death, which is announced at the beginning of the film and which serves to ke ep the voyeuristic audience tuned in, is captured on audio tape. Jewel, the owner of the tape, has supposedly never heard it. Herzog, with his back to the camera, listens to the short tape while looking toward Jewel, who is visibly upset by Herzogs facial expressions. He rzog then takes off his headphones and, assuming a serious and fatherly tone, admonishes Jewel never to listen to the tape, suggesting instead that she destroy it. Of course, the audience is never privy to the information on the audio tape, ostensibly out of respect for the dead. Thus, the arti st revels in his right to acce ss the knowledge that an audience, seduced by his play on their morbid voyeurism to watc h the film in the first place, is forbidden to view. Certainly, it could be argued th at Herzogs refusal to air the audio tape serves ultimately to shame the voyeuristic viewer, who only endures the re al, ecstatic moments of Treadwells life in order to be able to witness his death. In th e end, however, Herzogs own aural voyeurism goes unpunished, establishing yet again th e immunity of the artist. Herzogs Ecstatic Truth Perhaps one of Herzogs clearest departur es from Enlightenment rationalism, most obviously visible in his documentary films, is his oft-repeated disdain for cold scientific fact, his distrust of objectivity and the grand universal harmony which these concepts seem to imply. Herzogs skepticism seems to reflect a modern aversion to the dehumanization to which the cold, raw calculations of industrialism subject the indi vidual, and reflects his well-known contempt for a physical universe that he sees as being at best utte rly indifferent to, and at worst, 98


actively engaged in creating, human suffering. Yet it is important to keep in mind that Herzog is not critically interrogating the existence of scien tific fact or challeng ing objectivity as an inherently ideological means of oppression. Instead, he attempts to divorce the concept of fact from that of truth, relegating the former to the knowable, mappable realm of the hostile outside universe (and to such lifeless and mundane human endeavors as accounting) and the latter to the mysterious realm of the human mind,17 a formulation which he formally organized in his Minnesota Declaration in 1999.18 Thus, rather than deny the po ssibility of objective fact, Herzog simply dismisses the concept as irrelevant and largely usel ess in the quest for the deep inner truths of hu man existence. As he makes clear in his Minnesota Declaration (see Appendix) and in endless interviews on the subject, Herzog doesnt question the existence of absolute truth or attempt to show it as culturally relative. For him, the d eeper levels of truth, those that go beyond the accountants truth of raw facts, are mysterious and elusive and can only be revealed through fabrication and imagination. At the same time, these truths are supposed to be immediate and obvious to the viewer, like th e truth of a great poem ( Incident at Loch Ness). In other words, there is no need, according to Herzog, for academ ic analysis of cinema, because the meaning the deep, universal truth of th e filmis always immediately av ailable for the viewer, as if through direct perception. Here, Herzog seems to fashion himself as a modern day Martin Luther, who seeks to undermine the authority of cinema professionals, (critics who lambaste 17 Even thethe stars up here in thein the sky look like a mess. There is no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted to this idea that there is no r eal harmony as we have conceived it. But when I say this, I say this all full of admiration for the jungle. It is not that I hate it, I love it. I love it very much. But I love it against my better judgment ( Burden of Dreams). In Grizzly Man he refers to the overwhelming indifference of nature. 18 In 1999, Herzog formulated his Minnesota Declaration in a Minneapolis hotel room and presented it the following day at the Walker Art Center. He subsequently passed out photocopies of the manifesto at the Cannes Film Festival. The full text of the declaration is shown in the Appendix. 99

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his work and film schools that fo cus on technique) in order to take his message straight to the his public. The ecstatic truth that Herzog wa nts to reveal (or from a criti cal perspective, construct), which is much more intimately connected to the sublime than to the beautiful (to use the Kantian dualism), is inseparably tied to visual images, and to a lesser extent to the soundtrack or the story itself. In his DVD commentaries, He rzog is quick to point out scenes in which he claims that ecstatic truth is being revealed. Within his feat ure films the moment perhaps most consistent with his theory occurs in Even Dwarfs Stated Small (1970), when the inmates of a mental asylum on a remote volcanic island, all of whom are midgets, revolt against the administration (also represented by an insane midget). Undoubtedl y, a certain Dionysian ecstasy is at work in various sequences, as the child-lik e inmates not only set fire to th e flowerpots trash a car which they have set loose to run itself in circles, and laugh and scream hyste rically as the imposing Apollonian order all around them is turned, at least temporarily, on its head. Important here is that the viewer is not a detach ed spectator, looking down from some fixed angle upon the chaos below: instead, the camera pulls the audience into the midst of the pandemonium, mostly at eye level with the marauding little people, moving frene tically from one location of orgiastic reverie to the next. Yet ecstatic freedom has its costs, and Herzog seems to find it quite affordable that the price of this fantastic orgy includes the bl udgeoning to death of a nursing sow, the mock crucifixion of a terrif ied monkey, the shocking abuse of chic kens, and ultimately, the revelers violent turning on their own fellow inmates Azcar and Chicklets, who happen to also be blind. That the allegorical midget revolu tion apparently fails to succ eed, a fact which landed Herzog heavy criticism from the local Ge rman academic community still r eeling it its own revolutionary 100

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failure two years prior, is utte rly irrelevant in Herzogs logic, as the sublime images of destruction and temporary redemption seem to be an end in themselves. In his Amazonian feature films Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo the element of ecstatic truth of his images is indeed mysteri ous and elusive. When discussing Herzogs mise-en-scne, critics often focus on Herzogs preference for linge ring landscape shots, such his seemingly interminable focus in Aguirre on the awesome and seemingly in surmountable river rapids, the effect of which far outlasts the mere fifteen seco nds he dedicates to it. In the opening scene of Aguirre, the camera futilely attempts to frame a sense of awe-inspiring totality of jagged earth, threatening sky, and a mysterious fog. In Fitzcarraldo, Herzog likewise opens with breathtaking aerial shots of vast swaths of Amazonian ve getation. Yet although these shots have a certain aesthetic quality which evoke a sense of the awesomeness of a natural world which resists Western representation, they fail to fulfill Herz ogs poetic promise of immediate and direct, transcendent meaning. But if ind eed landscapes are to be consid ered as semi-autonomous actors in Herzogs oeuvre, then the ultimat e truth of his images must lie in the interaction between these natural characters and human be ings. With this in mind, the sear ch for the ecstatic truth in Herzogs Amazonian feature films leads us away from the mere landscape shots to those scenes where the human and the natural world collide in a way that might evoke human emotion that in its sheer voluminousness resists Herzogs frame. One of these moments occurs when Fitzcarraldos captain responds to the blank stare of the native chie f aboard the Molly Aida with the line You cant tell what th ey really think. The narrative pos its an infinite divide between the white man and the native, a kind of stubbor n unknowability that exceeds limits of the word and the intellect, and seeks to prove it by focusing on a radica lly othered native who simply stares into the camera and insis ting that we cannot know him. Thus, in the same way that Herzog 101

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in his Minneapolis hotel room a nnuls the truth claims of the Cinema Verit by the sheer power of his own declaration, he attempts to enforce a poetic and sublime ecstatic truth in the unknowability of the native by proclamation alone. If there is an ecstatic tr uth to be found in the images of Fitzcarraldo it is evoked in the sequence where the conflict between the recalcitrant and rebellious forest finally give s in to the awesome power of Western technology, as the Molly Aida slowly scal es the mountain under her own raw power, the meager technology of the natives having proven itself insufficient for th e task. In this scene, the literal and figurative high point in the film, the audience may be as cl ose to the sublime as at any point in Herzogs cinema: the seeming totality of Fitzcarraldos (and Herzogs) vi ctory over what was thought to be invincible verifies Mollys earlier contention and Herzogs belief that Romantic dreams really are all it takes to move from the finite to the infinite, and that the cost of this ecstasy, the destruction that it necessarily unleashes, is a small price to pay. In Herzogs later documentary films, the pr ice paid for temporary entrance into the sublime is even more steep, as protagonists de eply enveloped in both Romantic and Weimar Classicist struggles seem to want to push the boundaries of the describable. In Little Dieter Herzog uses various methods to try to invoke th e unspeakable. As in other films, his primary mode is to insert silence in order to effect a displacement between text and feeling. The best example of this is when Dengler is sitting at the edge of the Mekong River trying to describe the bond he felt with his companion and fellow es capee from the prisoner-of-war camp, Duane. After beginning to describe how his relationship with Duane had developed into something even more important than his love for his family, Dengler breaks off into silence, barely holding back the tears. Herzog, in typical fashion, holds the frame, forcing the viewer to share in the moment when words fail to suffice. At other times, the indescribability of a moment of feeling is simply 102

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(and, I would argue, insufficiently) invoked by declar ation, as when Dengler asserts that words cannot describe how he felt as thousands of his fellow sailors greeted him upon his return to his aircraft carrier. In addition to his crude re-enact ments of various stages of Denglers capture and subsequent torture, Herzog also focuses in on several pencil sketch espresumably made by American POWs or perhaps Dengler himself as Dengler narrates his harrowing escape. Not unlike the abstract drawings of Auschwitz and other concentration camps made by inmates, the crude sketches of the POW camp have the eff ect of liberating the ex treme emotion of the moment from the Medusas eye of a cameraactual or stagedwhich would only rob the moment of its universal applicab ility by fixing its temporal and geographic specificity. This is not to say that Herzog does not re ly on actual images or footage of the time to recreate and the moment. Indeed, he makes extensive use of archival footage of the bombing of Vietnamese villages, Denglers post-rescue statements to the media, and even a U.S. Navy film about surviving in the jungle, in order to both establ ish authenticity and comment on the folly of the American effort (although Dengler himself neve r seems to doubt the ultimate rightness of his mission). Yet true to his ideal that real truth is on ly revealed in fiction, He rzog also stages certain aspects of the documentary in order to manufacture emotion. Havi ng been denied access to the Laotian jungle by local authori ties, Herzog stages his reenactme nts of Denglers successive captures, escapes in the jungles of Thailand, with hired Thai guards standing in for Laotian and Vietcong captors. As in the Amazonian films, the price paid by the jungle natives so that the German dreamer might reach the heights is exceedingly hi gh, a fact that Herzog mentions only briefly. As he portends to describe to the viewer the way that Dengler viewed the firebombed landscape below his bomber, Herzog once again draws upon the vocabulary of the dream, of the surreal. 103

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Dengler himself claims that he never really knew how the people below were suffering until he was shot down and captured. Thus, the suffering of the colonized other is backgrounded while the heroic/tragic plight of the fi ghter pilot (and that of his frie nd Duane, who is beheaded by an angry villager) is brought to the foreground. Herzogs German Vision Although Herzog has been associated historic ally with the New German Cinema, the question as to the extent to wh ich his visions can be considered German visions and his films German films is one which has no unambiguous an swer. If considered in relation to reception in Germany, one may be tempted to dismiss Herzog as unrepresentative, as his later films hardly ever have regular German distri bution, and one can assume that his films dont really speak to German mass markets.19 As an example, Grizzly Man by far Herzogs greatest success in many years, only appeared in German cinemas two years after its release in the US, and even then in very limited distribution. However, the relative l ack of interest in Germany does not mean that Germans are loath to claim Herzog as one of their own. The USA-Correspondent for the conservative but widely distributed daily Die Welt Uwe Schmitt, makes this clear in a recent article about the belated screening of Grizzly Man in Germany: Es ist sensationell und nur billig, da Amerik a seinem [sic] bayrischen Wahlbrger in Los Angeles nach 62 Lebensjahren und ber 50 Spielund Dokumentarfilmen fr seinen Grizzly Man feiert wie einen der ihren.20 (23) Schmitts annoyance with American appropriation of German artistry is likely an articulation of a wide-spread fear of a seemingly unstoppable Amer icanization of German culture. Yet his ire is 19 See Christina Nord. Fetisch Tons pur;Nur indirekt setzt Werner Herz og die entscheide nde Aufnahme in seinem Dokumentarfilm Grizzlyman ein. TAZ, 07. April 2007, p. 29. 20 It is sensational and cheap that, after 62 years of life and over 50 feature and documentary films, America celebrates its Los Ange les citizen-by-choice for his Grizzly Man as if he were one of their own [my translation]. 104

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misplaced, for no matter how Americanized Herzog may seem to be supe rficially, no matter how much he admires and to some extent incorporat es American ingenuity and pioneering spirit, or how long he has lived in California, Herzog rema ins German. In fact, it is precisely Herzogs Germanness that seems to secure his relative pop ularity in the art-film circuit. Cinema-goers weary of Hollywoods programmatic entertainment films are attracted not only to Herzogs cinematic simplicity, but to his quirky, insistent, argumentative German personality as well. Thus, when in the making of his documentaries Herzog chooses to forgo trained voices and instead to insert his own strongly accented Engl ish voice for the narration, he is not only asserting a stronger claim of authorship of the material, but is also esta blishing his otherness vis-vis both the Hollywood establishmen t and his largely American public. Some critics, most notably Da vidson, have reacted critically to what they see as an intentional false othering of Germans within New German Cinema, whereby the slight disadvantages of Germans relative to other Europeans in various enterprises are highlighted in order to confer a marginalized status upon the German, while downplaying the great similarities between European cultures that woul d challenge the claim to German otherness (33). Certainly, Herzogs endless tirades against th e tyranny of television and Hollywood and his implicit claim to be delivering new images to an aesthetically stale world lend credence to Davidsons argument. Herzogs description of th e magic of Timothy Treadwells footage in Grizzly Man serves as a fine example. As Treadwell is unexpectedly approached by one of his favorite foxes while filming a grizzly, he decide s to film the foxs playful antics by running backwards through a field while filming the fox as it chases him. As mi ght be expected, the technical quality of the images is poor: si nce Treadwell is holding the camera and running backwards, the image is extremely unstable and the noise of the wind, Treadwells heavy 105

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breathing and strained voiced call ing to the fox all combine to make the scene seem extremely amateur. But Herzog, whose own rustic filming t echniques have been criticized as amateurish, sees in this moment, which he describes as embodying inexp licable magic of cinema, a moment which the studio directors and with their union crews could never dream of ( Grizzly Man ). Since Herzog knows that his audience will iden tify Treadwells artistic genius with his own, his othering of Treadwell is little more than an attempt to paint himself as the absolute antithesis of the dominant industry, a heroic l oner ignored by his own c ountry. In fact, many of Herzogs biographical documentaries serve this same othering function. Diet er Dengler is a hero whose story has been ignored by mainstream docum entarians. Dorringtons airship projects are full of promise, yet underfunded by the establishment. By painting himself as the maverick filmmaker who tells the untold stories of margi nalized artists, dreamers, and heroes, Herzog paints himself as equally marginalized, a latter day prophet speaking the ec static truth that the powers-that-be want us to forget. That his mar ginalized protagonists are, like himself, white, Anglo-Saxon males of considerable privilege se ems to escape Herzog altogether, and certainly opens him up to the type of criticism arti culated by Davidson. However, I believe that Davidsons analysis of the fetishi zed German other in New German Cinema is less applicable to Herzogs films that it may be to other NGC filmmakers: for unlike many of his colleagues, Herzog is not primarily interested in the question of the Germans place in the post-war period. It must be kept in mind that the films for whic h Davidson reserves his harshest criticism, Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo, cannot be simply categorized at atte mpts to other the German Nazi or relativize German atrocities of WWII by comparis on to the Spanish conquest of the Americas ( Aguirre ) or to assert the otherness of postwar German artists within the colonized space of American cultural imperialism ( Fitzcarraldo ). Certainly, parallels between Herzogs non106

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German characters and landscapes and their German counterparts, real and imagined, are easy to draw. Thus, although Herzog denies that he had H itler in mind when he wrote the script for Aguirre, I find this not only irrelevant to my ow n reading but also impo ssible to believe: the parallels between the two leaders who murder thei r ways to the top only to bring themselves and everyone around them to ruin are too simply too obvious to ignore. And while Fitzcarraldo doubtlessly and intentionally is a strong proponent of certain aspects of Romantic German longing, I believe it is going to fa r to write him off as a mere st and-in for the marginalized and under-appreciated German in post-WWII Europe. And although Fitzcarraldos Irishness could be read as analogous to Germanness in the sense th at both of these identit ies were to varying degrees subject to intra-Eur opean colonialism (although I, li ke Davidson, find the idea of colonized Germany problematic), the fact of th e matter is that Fitzcarraldos Irishness is simply a matter of historical fa ct and cannot be cited as proof of Herzogs intention to create othered Germans.21 Herzogs well-known lack of audience in his own country is not necessarily a sign that his work doesnt speak to a certain subset of contemporary German values or represent a particularly German world view. I would argue, on the contrary, that it is precisely Herzogs connections to the more unsavory parts of Germ an self-awareness that has prevented him from achieving the same kind of fame at home as he has abroad. In other words, it is Herzogs unrefined Germanness, that many Germans find un settling. Thus, Herzogs depictions of grossly deformed Africans (final scene of Cobra Verde ), German Midgets (Even Dwarfs Started Small ), the mentally ill ( Stroszek ), enslaved and abused Indians and Africans, and aborig inal Australians 21 I do not intend to argue that Fitzcarraldos Irishness cannot be read symbolically, because I believe that everything can be interpreted symbolically and that to do so is to enrich the reading. However, Davidsons argument is based on his belief in Herz ogs intention to create othered Germans as a political statement, and thus he falls into the intentional fallacy. 107

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jumping wildly in front of a bulldozer ( Where the Green Ants Dream ), as well as his mockethnographic sequences in which the camera interrogates the physi ognomies of dangerous indigenous men and bare-breasted native women, ar e all liable to evoke uncanny revulsion in the post-WWII German mind, as remnants of a suppr essed pre-war German aesthetic establishing Aryan perfection through ac tive dis-identification with non-Aryan degeneration. Although Dieter Dengler wears an American uni form and is portrayed as personifying an American pioneering spirit that Herzog seems to admire, his is a German story and his struggle has its roots in German literary history. In an e ffort to overcome the limits of daily realities, Dengler makes a Faustian bargain with the impe rial Mephistopheles in order to reaches new levels of being that are otherwise unreachable. And like Goethes Faust, Denglers self-created suffering is eventually overcome as redemption is granted not by his own efforts, but through grace alone. The resulting losses may indeed be trag ic, but the sequence of events is presented as somehow necessary, as if the protagonists actions had been divinely preordained in order to teach us a tragic lesson about th e nature of man, and the crimes of the protagonists are justified by the mere intensity of his desire. It could be claimed that in many of Herzogs films, the Germanness that he articulates is an ever-present tension between the rationalis m, organization, and industry of the Teutonic Prussian and those hard-drinking, hard-fighting Baroque people with an exuberant fantasy life with whom Herzog most strongly identifiesthe Bavarians (SFBG Interview Bavarian cream: Herzog blogged). This dualism may seem anachr onistic in todays Germany, where mobility is often an economic necessity. However, a number of current debates indicate that a certain tension between the competing sensibilities of Germanness that Herzog enumerates is still playing itself out on a national stage. For example, in May of 2006 a brown bear from Italy, 108

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nicknamed Bruno, crossed into Germ any, making him the first wild bear to be seen in Germany since 1835. As one might expect, his arrival was hailed by envir onmentalists as well as the public, which was doubtlessly enthralled that th e inspiration for both the gummi and the teddy (as well as for the common names Benno and Bjrn) had returned to a country from which it had been hunted into extinction. Yet this brief Ge rman fairy tale was soon to come to a tragic end: as soon as he began to kill and eat sheep and raid beehives, Bruno was promptly declared Staatsfeind and subsequently tracked down and shot d ead in Herzogs home state of Bavaria. The ensuing reaction sheds light on the centrality of the relationship between human being and uncontrollable nature which informs various m odes of German self-understanding. While the Steiff company was busy preparing its commem orative Bruno-Br for market, mourners gathered next to a six-foot stuffed replica of Bru no in Munich to stage a mock funeral. In a move ripe with still more stand-in German identity symbolism, some of the protesters carried a sign reading We mourn Bruno! Never Again Bear-Murder in Bavaria! Defenders of the killing of th e bear, a clear minority of the general public, tended to stress the physical danger to human beings and livestock that the bear presented and mock the naivety of those who would anthropom orphize the wild animal.22 Their argument, the cold, rational calculation of the Teutonic German, is pitted ag ainst an alleged Romantic identification with nature that is the hallmark of Heimat sentimentalism. The debate about Bruno had hardly cooled down when the Berlin Zoo announced the birth of a polar bear cub named Knut, who quick ly became the darling of the German public and an international media celebrity. However, the story of Bruno is not forgotten: instead, Knut has 22 According to an n-TV poll, 69% of Germans supported capturing the bear alive and moving it to a protected area. 19% felt the bear should be left alone completely, while only 12% supported the decision to shoot the bear. 109

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allowed the competing notions of German Ti erschutz to become once again reduced to a geographical polarity, where Bavaria is characteri zed as populated with dumb German hillbillies with rifles, and Berliners are presented as civ ilized animal lovers. Parliamentarian Petra Pau, reacting to suggestions that th e cub be allowed to die sinc e its mother had abandoned it, remarked coldly: Berlin ist nicht Bayer n. Ergo wird es Knut besser gehen als Bruno (Berlin is not Bavaria. Therefore, thi ngs will go better for Knut than [they did] for Bruno; Clauss 2007). Obviously, these public discussi ons have a direct bearing on my discussion of Herzog. Although Herzog clearly proposes an alternative type of Ge rmanness, one that challenges the stereotype of the German as overly rational, serious, industrio us and cold, and offers in its place a dreamy and playful Bavarian mensch, an idealized German ness worthy of King Ludwig and his exuberant castles. Yet in the present debates, it is Herzog s argument about the bear that appear cold and calculated, leaving no room for an emotional bond between wild na ture and mankind. In light of the publics obsession with the playful white ted dy bear named Knut, it seems that Herzog is a marginalized German after all; not in relations hip to other Europeans or even to Third-World natives, but to the majority of Germans w ith whom his message fails to resonate. Writing Germanness in the Jungle: Uwe Timms Der Schlangenbaum As I mentioned in the introducto ry section of this chapter, Der Schlangenbaum is Timms 1986 novel about European economic intervention in South America. As a critical anticolonialist work, it shares many of the concerns that are raised in Herzogs jungle films: the seeming incompatibility of Western technology w ith Latin American cultures and landscapes, the limited possibilities and enormous challenges of in tercultural communication, and the tension between mankind and the environment. At the sa me time, Timms novel goes further in tying the colossal failures of various economic policies in the so-called Third World and the murderous policies of dictatorial political systems to a specif ic German history and hi storical responsibility. 110

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In the following sections, I will first show how Ti mms novel is in dialo gue with Herzogs jungle films and then show how the novel marks th e development of a new and more mature understanding of the relationship between German culture and its Latin American counterparts. Native Fantasies When the German engineer Wagners company offers him the chance to spend six months in Argentina in order to turn around the falteri ng construction of a paper factory, he agrees immediately. What drives him to this hasty decision is neither the tedium of his wholly uninspiring marriage nor the frustr ations of fatherhood. Rather, it is the potential to fulfill his boyhood dream of travelling to the South American jungle, the excitement about coming face to face with real, authentic Indians. It is a typically German fant asy, which Wagner shares with his son, who begs his daddy to bring back some Indi an arrow heads when he returns. Yet Wagners fantasies about the Indians are qui ckly shattered after he is conf ronted with a largely Indian workforce at the project. These natives, he finds to his chagrin, conti nually steal supplies and equipment, leaving him unable to meet his deadlines. Furthermore, their utter disregard for fixed work schedules offends Wagners sense of or der and duty. His relatio ns with them sour significantly after he ina dvertently runs over an Acaray snake in the road on his first day at the construction site: according to Indian tradition, anyone who kills th e snake is cursed to die by drowning. Wagners utter inability to comprehe nd why anyone would take such a superstition seriously serves as the first sign of what comes to be a principle theme of Timms novel; namely, the incompatibility of European and Native Ameri can cultures, the same anti-romantic notion so prevalent in Herzogs jungle films. The attitude of Westerners to ward the natives is summed up by Wagners incompetent and usually drunk colleague, Steinhorst Like the captain of Fitzca rraldos ship, Steinhorsts many years of experience dealing with the Indians have only taught him th at they are utterly immune to 111

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logic and therefore unpredictable (190). Yet Wagner refuses to adjust his methods to the culture in which he is literally immersed: in response to the stealing he atte mpts to institute a system that would require all bags to be searched upon leaving the siteone of ma ny changes that poison the relationship between him and the Indians. Even when he is trying to help them he only causes trouble. After one of the workers sustains a life-threat ening injury, Wagner insists on calling an ambulance, even though all his colleagues tell him not to meddle in the workers issues and the Indians themselves insist that there is nothing wrong. Wagners intr ansigence results in the arrest and deportation of some of the workers, thus deeply offending the remaining ones. Furthermore, Wagner orders that the workers build a latrin e for better sanitation, unintentionally provoking bad feelings among those who do not want to perfor m that work or resent being forced to use these new and unfamiliar facilities. In a final faux pas, Wagner sticks his finger into a bowl of food that is being prepared by one of the Indian s, who is deeply offended and throws the bowl on the ground. All of these misundersta ndings lead to a worker strike, which, as required by the martial law of the dictatorship, is immediat ely reported and quashed by the military, thus devastating Wagners prospects of completing the project on time. The only Indian with whom Wagner has any cont act is his assistant and translator Juan, who as a boy was raised in an area populated by German-speaking Mennonites who employed the local Indians and eventually sent Juan to a missionary school in Europe. In addition to standard High German, Juan also speaks the nort hern German dialect known as Plattdeutsch (which Wagner also speaks), and therefore become s a trusted advisor. However, since he is only a local worker and not a German, Juan is often shut out of vi tal conversations about serious issues because of suspicions rega rding his loyalties. Thus, Juan pl ays a role very similar to that 112

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of Cholo in Fitzcarraldo : an indispensible native who nonetheless is marked as an outsider, an other. The otherness of the Indian workers at the construction site is marked by physical and geographical boundaries as well as so cial ones. The workers live in rancid barracks, with several men to each unit, and they neither eat nor soci alize with the Europeans. They generally only speak through spokesmen, whom they choose to represent them in important work-related matters. Remarkably, this is a nearly identical arrangement to that which Herzog engineered between the European team filming Fitzcarraldo and the natives they hire d to play the part of Indians in the film, as documented in Burden of Dreams Indeed, it seems that Timm has gone overboard in his adoption of the European concerns voiced in Herzogs narrative: when Fitzcarraldos captain warns him that the crew c ould end up as shrunken heads, at least he is referring to a custom actually practicedhowev er infrequentlyby the natives in the area. However, when Wagners colleague Steinhorst says jokingly that the European crew had been worried that Wagners repeated offenses to the Indians might result in his becoming a shrunken head, this can only be an indication of Eur opean ignorance, as headhunting had never been practiced in Argentina or Bolivia, but only furt her north in Ecuador and Peru. Thus, whereas Fitzcarraldos early twentiethcentury Captain has grown wise enough through his experience with natives to understand the limits of his ab ility to know them, Steinhorsts wisdom vis--vis the natives is seriousl y called into question. The Native as Victim of Nature and Colonialism In much the same way that Herzog does, Timm goes to lengths to disrupt the romantic image of the native Indian living in harmony with nature, insisting instead on the precariousness of native existence. Timms Indians are threaten ed on two fronts: by the nature in which they live and by the effects of half a millennium of colonization and subjugation. One of the main 113

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spokesmen for the Indians in Der Schlangenbaum is a man known simply as the jaguar man, so named after he killed an attacking jaguar with hi s bare hands. The huge scar on his face, the last physical trace of the attack, becomes a focal point of an entire local folklore in which the tale of his heroic deed is recounted ev en to those who dont know him. In another apparent reference to Herzogs experiences filming Fitzcarraldo Timm has Wagner witnes s the bravery of a local man who without so much as flinching faces th e excruciating pain of having his finger chopped off after having been bitten by a poisonous snak e. Indeed, the nature that Timm depicts is dangerous to the point that it becomes unna tural. Instead of s upporting the factory, the treacherous ground swallows it up like a piece of food. Animals take on gigantic form: there are locusts the size of a hand, rats the size of a dachshund. Nature even begins to take on the aggressive and merciless characteristics of the ruling military junta, as huge water droplets smash into the ground like grenades. Although both Herzog and Timm are determined to show that the raw power of nature, particularly in the jungle, is ha rsh on Europeans and natives alike, they take different approaches to the portrayal of the effects of colonialism, which in turn reflect slightly different attitudes toward the possible role that Europeans can play in this environment. Herzogs portrayal (and apparent condemnation) of the inhuman treatment of the Indians by the Spanish Conquistadors in Aguirre is balanced against an almost open admi ration for the single-minded determination of the brutal colonial hero. In Fitzcarraldo the portrayal of the subser vience of both Indians and blacks seems to invite criticism of colonialism, but again the overwhelmingly positive portrayal of the colonial hero serves, perhaps unintentionally, to mitigate the negative aspects of European conquest and cultura l imperialism. 114

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Uwe Timm, on the other hand, is unequivocally ne gative in his portrayal of the effects of colonialism on native peoples. The suffering of th e Indian workers at the factory, their daily humiliations as well as the physical deprivati on made obvious in the descriptions of their crowded, smelly barracks are depict ed without reference to anything positive. Even the fact that they earn more money here than they could anywhe re else (a fact Herzog uses to justify his mass employment of Indians at pay rates the European s find appalling) only serves to highlight the poverty and desperation of these pe ople. It is telling that Timm has Wagner reading Conrads Heart of Darkness and Outpost of Progress. What Wagner apparently doesnt realize until the novels end is that he is part of a similar conquest as that described in Heart of Darkness where the old orderguns backed by moneyhas been re placed with a new yet equally deadly one: money backed by guns.23 The attempted industrialization of the country also has other, le ss obvious effects on the native people as well. As Wagner eats with his yo ung mistress at a restau rant, he is confounded by the availability of a certain type of fish that is ordinarily foreign to the region. His waiter then explains that, since the construc tion of a huge dam on the Paran ri ver, several species of fish have inexplicably ended up in local waters. The suggestion here is clear: the damage caused by forced development is often unsee n, and worse yet, unpredictable. The difference in Herzogs and Timms portray als of the dangers of colonialism can be explained through an examination of the role of the colonial hero in their work. Most instructive for the case of Herzog is the emotional weight tie d to Fitzcarraldos endeavor to drag his ship over the mountain. In the narrative of Fitzcarraldo the protagonists obs ession with achieving 23 Another indication that Timm is attempting to draw parallels between the horrors of military colonization as depicted in Heart of Darkness and those inherent in economic neocolonialism is that, just as Conrad does, Timm refuses to actually name the coun try in which the story takes place, a lthough abundant references make the setting both obvious and unequivocal. 115

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his dream at all costs is depicted positively. To quote Molly: It is onl y the dreamers who move mountains! Yet for Timm, the dream has evolved into a nightmare. When Wagner tells his colleague Hartmann that he is dreaming more frequently since his arrival in the jungle, Hartmann replies that what he is actual ly experiencing is the earth atte mpting to assert itself in the conscience as a raped, barren landscape. Thus, in Der Schlangenbaum there are no European heroes, only dislocated Europeans whose disp lacement is rendered either less or more uncomfortable depending on their ab ility to adapt, as much as po ssible, to the local cultural milieu. Yet even assimilation to local norms is no guarantee of moral high ground, even if it reduces difficulties. Steinhorst, for example, conti nually berates Wagner for his refusal to give in to local inevitabilities, such as the poor quality of the cement, the need to bribe local officials to keep things running smoothly, and the maintenan ce of inefficient busine ss relationships based on cronyism. Yet Steinhorst is hardly a voice for cult ural understanding; rather he is someone who merely follows the path of least resistance, a l azy drunkard willing to put peoples safety at risk in order to avoid difficulties. Wagner on the othe r hand, fights to maintain high standards at the expense of alienating local work ers and suppliers. His struggle is, of course, in vain, and confronted with the impossibili ty of continuing in his present manner, Wagner decides to cave in, accepting a load of cement even though he knows the it will eventually fail, causing the factory to sink into the tropical mud. Yet it is with regret and a deep sense of his own otherness in this place that Wagner gives upwhen Steinhorst becomes too fr iendly in his invitation to a celebratory drink, Wagner rebuffs him with a wave of his hand and a verbal response that shows that his acceptance of the terms of engagement in Argentina is involuntary at best: Wir duzen uns nicht (288). Thus, Wagners resignation in th e face of issues involving his own integrity 116

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mark a significant internal change, a realization of his own displacement and of the fact that he can only save himself by allowing the project to fail and himself to be sent back to Europe. The Dislocated European As I have shown, the locations of displacement in Herzog are approached not only as places of colonial and natural brutality. More importantly, they are also places of curiosity, adventure, and unfette red imagination. In Fitzcarraldo, the institution of the opera is not so much questioned as it is magnified and glorified by its juxtaposition to native spaces. The opera house in Manaus, where Molly argues fo r Fitzcarraldos right to view a performance, is a place of wonder and even magic, even for the locals who w ould give anything to be allowed inside. This is clearly the case in other Herzog films as well: In Wings of Hope the protagonist Juliana is celebrated as a hero as she uses her hard-won academic knowledge of the jungle to escape its deadly clutches. At the same time, her dislocat edness is accentuated by the fact that she has landed in the jungle after falling from what is one of the most striking symbols of twentiethcentury Western technology: the airplane The story of Dieter Dengler in Little Dieter is nearly identical: Denglers displacement as a German-A merican in a Viet Cong prisoner-of-war camp becomes the necessary springboard for the action of the film. In Grizzly Man it is Timothy Treadwells unsanctioned physical presence in the Grizzly maze that drives the entire story, from his heart-warming, frolicsome adventures with his animal friends to his ev entual death. In all of these cases, Herzog deemphasizes issues of propr iety of place and the moral implications of these protagonists geographical and cultural intrusions while focusing on the supposed heroic aspects of these individuals, which seemingly only manifest themselves in situations of dislocation. For Uwe Timm, European dislocatedness is neither a wellspring of heroic daring nor an innocent adventure. Rather, it is the cause of enormous suffering while bringing the European 117

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financial gain at the expense of intercultural understanding. Signs of di slocation become, from the very beginning of the novel, symbols of the inju stice of colonialism, and to a certain extent, the impossibility of effectively dealing with its results. Even before leaving Germany for Argentina, the location of the construction site is revealed as an un-pla ce: try as they might, neither Wagner nor his wife can find the nearest town in their atlas. Upon arriving in Buenos Aires, Wagner is shocked and di sappointed that the Argentines look exactly like Europeans and not like Indians, as he had thought they would. When he arrives at the work site, the picture is quite different: the faces he sees are either thos e of poor Indians or of well-protected, curiously out-of-place Europeans. Thus Wagner is conf ronted, from the very beginning, with the perplexing multiplicities and shocking economic di sparities which characterize the country. Throughout the novel, it is the man-made stru ctures that appear most out-of-place and which symbolize the destruction brought on by col onialism. At first, th ese structures appear impressive and seem to indicate the successful in dustrialization of the so-called Third World. In Buenos Aires, the buildings are massive and opulent, representing the best in old-world magnificence. Yet Wagner soon learns that this apparent wealth ha s been purchased at the price of enormous public debt, corrupt government, and low-paid labor. When he arrives at the construction site, he is shocked to find that th e factory foundation has been built in the wrong spot. Thus, when the project fails at the end of the novel, when the building literally sinks into the mud, it becomes clear that d islocated civilization is doomed to failure. Even before this final failure, Wagner accidentally stumbles upon another failed construction site that foreshadows the fate of the paper factory. As Wagner tries to find his way back to the construction site after having his car dismantled by thieves, he lands on an enormous six-lane bridge spanning a wide canyon. As he marvels at th is gigantic symbol of technological progress, 118

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he realizes that both ends of the bridge are met w ith narrow dirt roads, each leading back into the jungle. Thus, like the unused yet rusty steam engine that sits on a few meters of unconnected track at the isolated jungle train station in Fitzcarraldo the opulent bridge in Der Schlangenbaum becomes a symbol not only of the co rruption, poor planning, and vanity of successive rulers, but also of the uselessness of Western technology when it is forced onto an alien culture and landscape. While the mismatch between dislocated Wester n structures and the harsh jungle landscape serve to highlight the costly results of Eurocentrism and the colonialism which it both powers and legitimizes, in Timms text it is the disloc ated European himself who provides the most powerful argument against Western intrusion. In deed, it is Wagners experiences with other Europeans in Argentina, in particular other Ger mans, which most effectively illustrate Timms understanding of what constitutes proper Germanness in the postwar era. The German Other In the Argentina that Wagner comes to know, people of European de scent live separately from the natives. The Otherness of these Indians, as I have pointed out, is marked physically by fences and barriers. But perhaps more interestin g for the current study is the relationship that Wagner, as a continental German on a temporar y assignment in an exotic foreign country, has with fellow Europeans in general and Germans speci fically. In other words, it is the process of saming and othering within the confines of Green Hill that are most instructional. Immediately upon arrival, Wagner is invited to several highsociety parties by other Germans who live on the Hill. It is at these parties where the reader is introduced to several Europeans representing various groups who have come to Argentina for any number of reasons. Among these people there are both perpetrators and victims: there is Durell, a Belgian who is rumored to have committed atrocities in the Congo. Then there is Bley, an Austrian who fled his native Vienna in 119

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1938 only to become both rich and famous in Arge ntina through a chocolate business he started from scratch. Although not explicitly stated, one can assume that Bley is a Jew, particularly because of his refusal to stand near a certain Br edow, who is known to be a former S.S. officer involved with the Einsatzgruppen (killing squads) in Russia. Bredow asks Wagner if he is related to the former general of the same name, which Wagner hastily denies. Wagners initial disbelief and then clear uneasiness at encountering a possible Nazi fugitiveBredow is apparently afraid that the Israelis are on his trai lis a clear result of the temporal othering of the Nazi in postwar German society which I di scussed in the introduction. Yet Wagners unease with Bredow is not the only case of temporal othering that is portrayed in Der Schlangenbaum The Coronel, a local military leader whose cooperation is vital to smooth operation of Wagners project and who frequently shows up at the parties on Green Hill, is the son of German immigrants to the country. Through this character Timm ties the military abuses of the dictatorship directly to the shameful tradition of German militarism which for the most part has been transformed in Germany itself, but which is apparently free to flourish in foreign environments. At the same time, the a buses of the military are tied to the unpredictable wrath of nature itself when Hartmann explains the disappeared as suddenly being einfach weg, wie vom Boden verschluckt (simply gone, as if swallowed up by the ground; 215). Thus, when the Colonel claims that, in the entire count ry, only the military functions according to (supposedly higher) European standards, it becomes clear that when German culture is imposed in foreign lands, only tyranny, which is synonymous with natures arbitrar y terror, can result. One final case of temporal othering in Der Schlangenbaum deserves attention, namely, Timms othering of the Russian-German a nd Mennonite-German minorities in Argentina. Wagner is taken by surprise when he finds th at his housekeeper Sophie is a member of a 120

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German-speaking minority which has been living in largely rural colonies for over a hundred years. His estrangement from her and her comm unity derives from her extreme religiosity: every time she speaks, she warns Wagner to beware of the whores of Babylon, and to prepare for the Day of Judgment which is soon to be at hand. In another scene, Wagner is lost and looking for a bus station to get him back to his construction site when he stumbles upon a village resembling something from the old-world Europe. A hoard of blond children run up to him asking in Low German dialect for candy, and soon he finds himself in the quaint little hous e of what appears to be an elder in the Russian-German community, w ho likewise recites Bible verses and beseeches Wagner to repent. After having a few beers, Wagne r begins to be unnerved by the mans bizarre rambling, an uncanny feeling which is intensified by his discovery th at several of the members of the family have six fingers. He promptly excuses himself and hurries from the village without looking back. In his encounter with these seemingly anachronistic Germans, which Steinhorst collectively refers to as a Kuriosittenkabinett (curio cabinet) with whom Diskussionen sind zwecklos (discussions are poi ntless; 25), Wagner is confronted with a German past which he adamantly rejects as both oppressive and visibl y degenerate. In this example, Timm not only contrasts the modern, rational, secular German wi th the pre-modern irra tionality of religious fanaticism, but he also follows Herzogs lead by turning German fantasies of Heimat on their head. Behind the familiarity of the Heimat imagerythe pre-modern, close-knit farming village of half-timbered houses and blond speakers of a supposedly more authentic ur-German dialectall of which are supposed to project samenessthere lies an unsettling Otherness which cannot be overcome. Timms anachronistic Germa n community is little more than a museum piece, a relic that for other nati ons would serve as proof of thei r historical continuity, becomes for the postwar German a temporal Other. Yet whereas the contemporary German is quick to 121

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recognize the need to reach out to his ethnic and geographical ot hers, the othered prior Self remains beyond any rapprochement. Conclusion In this chapter I have attempted to examine the ways in which two very well-known German storytellers weave their conceptions of Germanness into narrati ves set in exotic and dangerous places through both film and print medi a. The selection of these exotic settings disrupts the everyday relationships that Germans have with their Other s in Germany (Turks, Arabs, and Russian immigrants) by posing new sets of selves and others whose relationships are negotiated in imagined spaces where identity fantas ies are free to develop as the artist chooses. Despite the fact that ac tual Germans play no role in the narratives of his first jungle films ( Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo ), Herzog draws from a deep well of German cultural and literary history and imbues his protagonist s with sensibilities strongly id entified with elements of German Romanticism, particularly in the privil eging of the individual artist as a source of ultimate truth. Equally compelling is Herzogs st rong (late Romantic) preoccupation with notions of unknowability, mystery, the uncanny, and the darker sides of human life, complete with inner daemons that assure that the highest imaginable ecs tasy, the ecstasy of truth, is paid for with an almost existential agony and suffering. Other elemen ts of Romanticism are turned on their heads: the Heimat abroad is revealed as eternal death, as mountains, rivers, trees, and grassy plains become instruments of a malevolent universe be nt on destroying the illusions of harmony and safety. The cost of Herzogs veneration of the poet/artist/dreamer is high. As John Davidson has argued, although Herzog nominally cr iticizes the mechanics of co lonialism and the destruction this Western institution has wreaked on the so -called Third World, both the narrative and the production of his films recreate and re-inscribe the same colonial power differentials between Western heroes and native Others that they ostens ibly criticize. However, Davidson also insists 122

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that, like other New German Cinema filmmakers Herzog attempts to create falsely othered Germans by highlighting the marginalized or colonized status of Germans and/or the German film industry vis--vis other European powers, a move which masks the huge power differences between Firstand Third-World c ountries. However, I would argue that Herzog neither intends, attempts, nor manages to show Germans as marginalized; rather, he attempts to paint himself as a marginalized filmmaker by pointi ng to his own relative lack of reception in his home country and accentuating his heroic opposition to monolithic Hollywood aesthetics and practices. Uwe Timms Der Schlangenbaum serves in certain critical ways both as an answerand an updateto Herzogs Fitzcarraldo and to Davidsons view of othered Germans. Whereas Fitzcarraldo is set in the early part of the twentieth century ( i.e., beyond the memory of the vast majority of the viewing public), Timms novel is se t during the brutal military dictatorship in an unnamed South American country in the late seventies or early eighties, only a few years before Timm began to write it. Thus Der Schlangenbaum as a contemporary, highly critical portrayal of German (neo)colonialist endeavors and th e German-colored political oppression which facilitates them, attempts to critically addre ss Herzogs sugar-coated, apologetic portrayal of European colonialist intervention in the jungle. Timms direct appr opriation of specific motifs of Herzogs film (which was released the year before Timm began writing his novel) indicate his intention to establish a link between the two. The authors refusal to name the country (although other signs ensure positive identi fication) establishes a narrativ e link between his own story and that of one of the most celebrated literary portrayals of the madness of colonialism of the twentieth century, Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness Wagners own fascination with Conrads novel within the narrative of Timms novel makes th is connection irrefutable. 123

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124 Timms reference to Heart of Darkness is not only an attempt to show the historical connection between classical colonialism, neo-liberalism, a nd modern foreign aid programs, but it also relates directly to Herz ogs jungle filmmaking. Herzogs fi rst and perhaps most horrifying jungle film, Aguirre, is clearly inspired by Heart of Darkness and can be seen as a European precursor to Coppolas Apocalypse Now Yet in his second jungle film, Fitzcarraldo the filmmaker seems to deemphasize the horrors of co lonialism in order to highlight the obsessive zeal and dreaminess his colonial hero. Thus, whereas Aguirres greed and utter disregard for the welfare of the exotic landscapes or people he seeks to exploit leads to his agonizing doom, the consequences of Fitzcarraldos similar motives and actions are bittersw eet: although his project fails, Fitzcarraldo is rewarded in the end with the captains chair in a local riverboat showing of Bellinis opera I Puritani Timms novel attempts to re-establish the primacy of the colonial problem by placing reminders of Heart of Darkness (and hence Aguirre ) within a narrative which draws much of its actual content from Fitzcarraldo While Herzog uses the motifs of incomprehens ibility between cultures on the one hand and treacherous nature on the other in order to argue for a separati on between cultures and a general withdrawal of European influence in Latin Ameri ca, as I argued earlier in this chapter, Timm is assuming a much more politically aware and critical stance. For Ti mm, there is no colonial hero, no artist/dreamer (like Fitzcarraldo or even Herzog himself) who is granted immunity to the rules of disengagement simply because of his drive to achieve individual ecstasy by bringing the chaos of the jungle under his own control.

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CHAPTER 4 IMAGINING THE EXOTIC FROM WITHIN Introduction In the previous chapter I showed how two well-kn own producers of German Kulturgut weave messages about Germanness, both hidden a nd apparent, into narratives which take the jungle as their setting, but whos e authors write from a German perspective which sees the landscapes and people they describe are both foreign and exotic. These depictions and imaginings of Germanness correspond to a la rge degree to postwar political and social imperativesand reactions against themwhich which limit the portrayal of militant nationalism while attempting to develop a hea lthy version of national belonging. In these cases, national belonging relates to notions of Heimat the expression of which concomitantly reveals ambiguity regarding the degree to which Ge rman or European notions of homeland or country can be recreated in other spaces. I wi ll now turn my attention to two lesser-known German-born authors who inscribe notions of national and ethnic belong ing into texts while claiming an inside perspective with respect to South American landscapesthat is, outside the immediate sphere of influence of German so cial and political institutionsthrough their emigration to, and settlement in, Argentin a. For these authors, expressions of Heimat are, perhaps surprisingly, even more ti ghtly woven into the fabric of th eir narratives than is the case with either Herzog or Timm. The first author I will discuss is Annette Schenker, whose Was fr ein verrcktes Leben is currently one of the most popular examples of travel literature about Argentina.1 Schenker, a young and fiercely independent Germ an woman, originally travelle d to Argentina as a tourist 1 By travel literature, I am referring to both ficti onal and non-fictional personal narratives about travel experiences which are written in prose and have literary value. I am thus distinguishing between this type of writing and that which characterizes standard tr avel guides, which generally serve tourists as mere reference material for accommodations, restaurants, nightlif e, and sightseeing informati on for short-term vacations. 125

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more than a decade ago, but decided to settle in the country permanently after falling in love with the natural landscape. The second writer, whose work I will examine in greater detail, is Robert Schopflocher, a German-born Jew who, as a result of his familys fortunate escape from Nazi Germany in 1937, has lived the last seventy ye ars in Argentina. Despite their enormous differences in terms of personal biography, these tw o writers share striking similarities in their ability to construct identities which challe ngewith varying degrees of successthe easy binarisms of Firstand Third world, man and woman, colonizer and colo nized, through crossing borders, masquerade, and elective affinities. German Fantasies Inside Argentina: Annette Schenker as German Gaucha In many ways, Schenkers Was fr ein verrcktes Leben serves as a popular representation of the tropes of Germanness that I have examined up to this point. However, I will show that her privileged position as a self-p roclaimed Argentinean insider f acilitates a kind of cultural hybridity which manages to selectively combine European and (perceived) Argentinean customs and values to produce a figure that shares sameness and otherness with both cultures. This is not to say that Schenker portrays a figure who has seamlessly combined elements from obviously different cultures and folded them into a cente red, consistent, and uni fied self. Rather, her character is full of contradictions and discre pancies which, I will argue, are characteristic of immigrant writing.2 2 Although Schenkers account is intended to be re ad as a factual, autobiographical document, I am approaching it as a constructed, semi-fictional narrative which employs literary devices (such as hyperbole, extended dialog, personification) to create a character who is independent of the author. The books subtitle, Eine auergewhnliche Frau in einem auergewhlichem Land (an extraordinary woman in an extraordinary country), likewise suggests that what follows is a third-person description rather than a documentary autobiography, which would more likely carry a first-person title such as Mein Leben in Argentinien (my life in Argentina). Thus, when I refer to the figure in the book, I mean to differentia te between the literary construction and the person upon whom it is based. 126

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Romanticizing the Stone The most prominent aspect of Schenkers writing is its insistent use of exaggerated, romantic descriptions her adventures in Argentina, from the rugged and rocky highlands to the frozen southern tip of the country. Indeed, her Wander and Abenteuerlust are the driving forces behind the entire narrative. Forgoi ng any critical approach to Eu ropean appropriation of exotic foreign landscape and employing a highly mel odramatic vocabulary, Schenker describes the lonely Patagonian landscape as ein irdisches Paradies (earthly paradise; 38) The country itself is a Traumland, a place whose abundance is the stuff of dreams (15) and where everything is huge: Argentinien ist das Land der Superlative (14).3 Yet whereas Herzog and Timm find the overwhelming size of the exotic landscape to be uncanny, Schenker delights in its mystery. Like all the writers and filmmakers Ive di scussed already, Schenke r identifies the land with the animals that depend on it for sustenance. It thus comes as no surprise that, through her own strong identification with the landscape itself, Schenker often feels a camaraderie with these animals in a way that calls to mind Timothy Trea dwells devotion to the grizzly bears. Because the mountain-dwelling guanacos (relatives of the llama) prefer isolation, Schenker imagines that they must see her as a colleague (97). When the deer that she stumbles upon continue grazing undisturbed, she assumes that they see her as a friedliches Tier (friendly animal; 208). Schenkers love for the rural landscape and th e wildlife of Argentina is matched only by her fascination with the rural Argentineans them selves. For her, the typical Argentine is a romantic: he plays his guitar beautifully, sing s the about national heroes and legends, and sometimes even puts his own melancholy story to a beautiful tune (39). Schenker assumes this 3 Perhaps unwittingly, Schenker seems to be drawing on a long-standing European belief in the power of the New World to generate enormity, a myth which has its origins in the descriptions of Patagonian giants which began to circulate after Magellans encounter with the natives in the 1520s. 127

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storytelling role as well, recount ing the legend of how Jos de San Martin, the hero of Argentine independence, tricked a vastly superior Spanis h army into defeat by stretegically placing scarecrows. Schenkers warmest descriptions of the natives of Argentina, however, are reserved for the gaucho or Argentinean cowboy, whom she describes as the unumstrittene Knig dieser grenzenlosen Weit en und unerforschten Gebiete (undisputed king of these boundless and unstudied areas; 120). The gaucho is not only the mythol ogical foundation of the Argentinean nation, but also the personification of the mysterious ness of the vast and sparsely populated area which make up the largest part of the country. Only the gaucho knows the secret recipe for perfect Argentine b eef (13) and the best-tasting mate tea, which is considered the national drink (153). According to Schenker, the gaucho is one of the few who can manage to eke out a living in the Andean region. He is both strong and pr oud, a gentle giant who can be violent if provoked (76). Schenkers gushing praise for the virtues of the Argentinean (male) and his wilderness is more than just a tourguides tale-spinning. Her vivid desc riptions allow German readers living in a highly mode rnized society to experience a f eeling of premodern wholeness. Furthermore, she openly welcomes the German r eader to leave the monotony of civilized life to come discover a new geheimnisvolle, unbeka nnte Welt (mysterious, unknown world; 208). This world, not unlike the pre-mode rn Hungarian utopia depicted in Ich denke oft an Piroschka offers not only the wide open spaces that Germany lacks, but also access to a rich mythological, heroic, and unabashedly proud nati onal past which is denied to postwar Germans on their own territory. Natures Bad Side Schenkers invitation is not to be taken as a promise of a lif e without hurdles. Like Herzog and Treadwell, Schenker is also eager to es tablish her authority by pointing out the many unforeseen dangers that the landscape poses to th ose outside her privileged position: because of 128

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her excellent (self-developed) climbing skills, Schenker works on a team that rescues wayward climbers on Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the world outside of Asia. While describing the job, she mentions that there are many German s buried in the cemetery closest to the peak Germans who were unprepared or who had undere stimated the difficulties of living the rough life. Other natural objects, despite their beauty, can be dangerous for the amateur as well: with due reverence she describes a river that wartet auf seine Opfer (is waiting for its [next] victims; 82) and a volcano, designa ted inactive by Western science, which begins to erupt and almost kills her (79). Not only the mountains, but the are dangerous, but sometimes the wildlife as well: in a passage about one of her many br ushes with danger, Schenker describes the roving wild pigs on the plains as gefhrlicher als ein Jaguar, angriffs lustiger und mutiger als ein Tiger (more dangerous than a jaguar, quicker to attack and braver than a tiger; 204). Despite the similarity of Schenkers occasio nal comments on the danger of the exotic landscape to those made by the Herzog, Treadwe ll, and Timm, her overall message is quite different from theirs, as main focus of her obser vations is clearly on the beauty and mystery of the place. Unlike Herzog and Timm, Schenker do es not suggest any incompatibility between Western and Latin American cultures, nor does she imply that Europeans best stay at home and refrain from inserting themselves in a hostile, uncivilized environment. Indeed, for Schenker the natives are European decended Argentines and the local culture is a derivation from the best of the old European pioneering spirit. Thus, Arge ntina is portrayed as a last frontier where Europeans can rediscover their roots, wie einst in. .dem wilden Westen (like it once was in the wild west; 39). This frontier becomes for Schenker like a giant movie set, and she even describes the thrill of her many adventures as akin to the feeling one would have as a character in a great adventure film. I would argue that the frontier is indeed a giant movie set, though perhaps not in 129

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the way that Schenker imagines. For it is on this set, far away from the realities of her original Heimat where Schenker is best able to negotiate her own Germanness through the various roles that she plays. German Gaucha Schenker may be a dreamy romantic Germa n, but she is anything but a traditional Hausfrau. In fact, her main identifications in Was fr ein verrcktes Leben are not with female roles, but specifically with male roles. When a rural German s hop owner asks Schenker to don a dirndl and try to attract customers in return for a nights lodging, she refuses on the grounds that she has never worn either a skirt or a dress in her whole life and is not about to start now (37). Likewise, when she is pressured by friends to dance the zapateo (a dance based on a roosters pre-mating movements), she insists on dancing th e male role and getting her (male) dance partner to put on the skirt over his pants. For a self-aware a nd fiercely independent German woman, this is die einzige vernnftige Lsung (the only reasonable solu tion; 57). Later, when she happens upon a team filming a Marlboro commerci al in Patagonia which is in desperate need of several horses, Schenker promptly rounds up the required animals to earn some extra cash. When her friend Karl goes missing on the mountain, she sets off with a ma le friend to find him immediately. Schenker knows the danger, but her bravado wins the day, for nicht jeder wagt sich so weit vor in die groe Andenwelt wie wir (not everyone dares to venture as far into the world of the Andes as we do; 83). From her ow n descriptions, it seems that nothing can scare her, with two conspicuous excep tions: Nazis and city folk. The Nazi Other Given Argentinas notoriety as a safe haven for escaped Nazis after WWII, it is hardly surprising that Schenker (like Timms Wagner) is preoccupied with the possibility of coming face to face with what for contemporary Germans is the ultimate Other. Indeed, her encounter 130

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with Germans who she suspects of being Nazis is one of the first episode s that she describes: after the German shopkeeper hands her the dirndl and her initial annoyance wears off, Schenker begins to suspect that these Germ ans have something to hide and she decides to investigate. With her travel companion, she makes her way to the shopkeepers yogurt factory, which is supposedly the familys main source of income, only to find it locked behind a rusty gate. The situation doesnt make sense and Schenker begins to begins to suspect that these are in fact escaped Nazis. As Schenker explains to her readers, Bei diesem Gedanken kann es einem fast unheimlich werden (this thought can cause it to become nearly uncanny for a person; 35). Her word choice is significant, as das Unheimliche as explained by Freud, can be induced when one perceives something to be alive which is supposed to be dead, or when one runs into ones doppelganger. In Schenkers case, both of these situations converge. The appearance of the Nazi induces das Unheimliche, which is, semantically and etymologically, the opposite of Heimat Interestingly, it is not th e distance separating Schenker from her native country that causes the wholesomeness of Heimat to disappear; rather, it is precisely the presence of the othered self in a pl ace where (or better yet, in a time when) it is not supposed to be. Schenkers immediate effort to distance herself from the Nazi thus constitutes her own enactment of temporal othering. The phrase she utters right before running off Nichts wie weg!is likewise interesting from a linguistic point of view as it is the semantic opposite of the quintessential Heimat phrase in English: Theres no place like home! City-Country Dichotomies Given Schenkers overwhelmingly positive and ex citing descriptions of the Argentinean countryside, it is not surprising th at she constructs the city (and its inhabitants) as Other. Her advice to anyone travelling to Arge ntina is to get out of Buenos Aires immediately. For her, the capital city (which is home to 30% of the countrys population), although very European in style 131

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and ar chitecture, is filthy and dangerous. The air is polluted, making a mockery of the name Buenos Aires (good air). Those who inhabit the dirty city are likewise not to be trusted. Upon arriving in the country, Schenker is robbed of everything she has by a taxicab driver. Later, her quick wit helps her escape being gang-raped in a hotel by three men who, she can only assume, want her because of her blond hair and blue eyes The city is huge by co mparison to any German city, but Schenker treats it as a monolithic entity to be avoided at all costs. For her, the city and the country are separate, incompa tible spaces that cannot even be compared to one another (18). To some extent, Schenkers city-country dichotomy reflects traditionally German Heimat oriented attititudes that privilege the imagin ed harmony of local community over the equally imaginary chaos of the national metropolis. In the next section, I will show how another German-born writer in Argentina attempts to br eak down the city-country dichotomy in favor of a more balanced and multifaceted approach to writing Germanness within both rural and urban environments. German and Jewish in Argentina: Rob ert Schopflochers Elective Affinities In this section, I will examine depictions of German, Jewish, and other national identities from a perspective of another kind of German in Argentina: a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. Although Robert Schopfloch ers biography is very different from Schenkers, their writing shares a preoccupation with issues of sp ace and the relationship of space to identity. Thus, in this section I will focus more intensely on the interactive relationship between space and spatiality on the one hand and personal, commun al, and national identity on the other. In doing so, I follow the lead of Anthony Purdy in accepting the by now axiomatic truth that place plays a central role in migrant writing (17). 132

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The Centrality of Space The increasing academic focus on space as a primary interpretive mode, frequently referred to as the spatial turn in cultural studies, represents to a certain degree another attempt to view cultural production through a new critical le ns, and as such is not unlike a host of other periodical turns that the humanities have taken.4 Yet the spatial turn differentiates itself from its morphological cousins in its relative success in transforming our critical grammar to its goalseven when our referents have little to do with the issues of migration, exile, and transnationalism that have contributed so significantly to its development: we locate our arguments within certain critic al traditions a nd moments, we situate ourselves and our objects of inquiry in relation to social production, we align ourselves with certain groups in societys margins we frame and re-frame questions and histories, and we recognize that language is a site of power. Much of the development of this increa sing spatial awareness can be attributed to the pioneering efforts of geographers Henri Lefebvr e and Edward Soja, among others, to introduce new methods of spatial thinking to a critical tradition that has largely prioritized historical and social analysis. In my own study, I will build main ly on the ideas of Edwa rd Soja and some of the other theorists and literary figures to which he refers. In Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Ange les and Other Real-and-Imagined Places Soja challenges what he sees as the hegemony of a dyadic historico-so cial criticism which subsumes spatial analysis into its own methods and assu mptions. Following the lead of Lefebvre, Soja articulates an ontological trial ectics of being, which applie s at all levels of knowledge formation, from ontology to epistemology, theory building, empirical an alysis, and social 4 I am referring here to the psychological (Jacquette), psychoanalytical (Long), linguistic (Rudolph), postmodern (Hassan) the translation (Bassett) and cultural (Don Mitchell) turns. Within German studies specifically, there have been other turns as well, such as the Turkish turn in German literature (Adelson). 133

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practice (71). Borrowing more or less directly fr om Lefebvres concepts of perceived (real), conceived (imagined), and lived (s ocial) spaces, Soja posits his own second-level trialectics of spatiality, made up of the component fields of First-, Second-, and Thirdspace. For Soja, Firstspace perspectives involve a privileging of the raw materiality of space and of the attendant human attempts to process the spatial info rmation gleaned through sensory perception by mapping and measuring (10). This perspective, which Soja sees as the traditional geographical understanding of space, has traditionally be en set in binary opposition to Secondspace perspectives emphasizing ideas about and re-presentations of space. Thirdspace is proposed as an-Other alternative, not merely as a synthesis of the real and imagined in which elements of the opposing theses are selectively combined, but rather as a new way of conceptualizing space which liberates our thinking, theoretica lly, from the age-old dualisms, conveniently represented in the Firsta nd Secondspace perspectives, between materialism and idealism, objectivity and subjectivity, and, to take it one step further, be tween the center and the margins, self and Other.5 Soja thus conceives Thirdspace as tentative and flexible (2), real-and-imagined (6), and radically open to new constellati ons and contestations (13). It is a position which is not so much geographical as it is attitudinal, not so much assigned as it is chosen. It in volves a critical awareness of spatial concerns without becoming a dogmatic evangelical spatialism (Keeping Space Open 350). Given his meandering and esoteric descriptions, it should surprise no one that Soja has attracted considerable criticism, pa rticularlyand most vehementlyfrom his fellow geographers. Patricia Price, for example, is disturbed by Sojas steadfast refusal to 5 Indeed, Sojas very description of the process of positing alternative viewpoints, thirding-as-othering, lexically challenges the privileged status of the term Other (as the binary opposition to Self/Same) by rendering all alternatives or third ways, landscapes, and identities as equally othered. 134

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unambiguously define his concept of Thirdspace (Longing for Less of the Same). Rob Shields points out Sojas failure to effectively demonstrat e the originality of his trialectics of space (Harmony in Thirds Chora for Lefebve), while Andrew Merrifield faults what he sees as Sojas wholesale lack of unders tanding and flippant dismissal of the tenets of dialectical Marxism (The Extraordinary Voyages of Ed Soj a). Furthermore, Price criticizes Soja for relying too heavily upon white male authority in th e form of Lefebvre, Foucault, and Baudrillard while emphasizing chosen marginalities at the expense of those imposed by force upon subaltern groups in Western society (343). Considering the seriousness of these charges originating from scholar s in his own field, it may seem surprising that I would choose Sojas c oncept of Thirdspace as a starting point from which to approach the spatial narratives in th e literary work of German-Jewish-Argentinean author Robert Schopflocher. Yet the applicability of Thirdspace to Schopflochers texts derives to some extent precisely from the aspects of this approach which tend to draw the heaviest criticism. For example, the radical openness of the concept and its fluid definition make it possible to meaningfully read Schopflochers textual landscapes as Thirdspace articulations, even though the spatial configurations Schopflocher portrays are, as all literary constructs, essentially imagined, and thus superficially simila r to what Soja calls Secondspace. Furthermore, the fact that Sojas concept of Thirdspace doe s not privilege economic dispossession over other gauges of marginality, a circumstance which dr aws the vitriol of mo re strongly committed Marxists like Merrifield, renders his particular framing of otherness more suited to my reading of Schopflochers texts, in which issues of class ar e often subordinated to other markers of identity. Finally, particular attention mu st be paid to Prices provocative suggestion that, as an economically advantaged straight white male, Soja s own selective interfaci ngs with alterity in 135

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Thirdspace are little more than whimsical excursions into marginality, a longing for the marginalized speaking position (343). Although one could argue that Prices own status as a tenured, white faculty member at an American university significantly impacts her credibility in denouncing the perceived privilege enjoyed by sc holars like Soja and renders her own alliance with marginalized positions suspicious accordin g to her own formulation, her suggestion that heterosexual men of European descent can only experience alterity vicarious ly reflects precisely the kind of simplifying, exclusionary, binary thinking that both Soja and Schopflocher are attempting to challenge. Although he freely acknowl edges the deadly seriousness and urgency of confronting imposed marginalities created by gender and racial oppression, Soja suggests, following the lead of bell hooks, that to choose th e margin is to create a different kind of liminal existence, in which solidarity is cr eated through the subversive crossing of borders (Keeping Spaces Open 351). In my reading of Schopflocher, it is through these subversive border crossingsmade by both the author hi mself and his protagonistsand through assumption and performance that alternative identities and marginalized outsiders are constructed and portrayed. Indeed, it is Schopflochers obsession w ith borders and transgressions that makes Thirdspace, a concept principally in voked within the opening borders of field of geography, a useful frame through wh ich to read these narratives. Furthermore, the application of Thirdsp ace principles to the rural spaces that Schopflocher portrays entails a certain spatial in congruity with respect to Sojas Thirdspace adventures, which are based on the privileging in modern and postmodern geography of urban space; long associated with social and technol ogical progress on the one hand, and migration, marginalization, and exploitation on the other. Th e city has been celebrated by some as the ultimate creation of mans intellect and the fulf illment of his aesthetic needs (White 240) and 136

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derided by many as the ultimate achievement of capit alism. It is thus not surprising that urban spaces become a focal point in the work of both Lefebvre, who recognizes the city as the setting of struggle ( Production of Space 386), and Soja, whose idea of Thir dspace as infinite possibility is indebted to an understanding of the metropolis as a kind of Aleph, a place that contains all other places simultaneouslya metaphor he borrows explicitly from the Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, who in turn adopted the concept from Jewish mysticism. As the traditional destination of dispossessed immigrants arriving in the developed nations and the home of most of the critics who attempt to speak for themthe city also becomes a focal point in postcolonial and transnational studies. In Argentina, however, the pattern of immi gration, and hence the locations of crosscultural contact so crucial in Schopflochers wr iting, has at times vari ed significantly from patterns established in Europe and North America. From the late nineteenth century, official government policy sought to develop the Argentine economy through the establishment of agricultural colonies ( colonias) of European farmers in the country s rural yet fertil e areas. It was this policy that permitted the establishment not only of the rural colonies of the Russian-Germans or Wolgadeutsche who had come to the Americas in large numbers after the expiration of concessions which had been gran ted to them in Russia by Cather ine the Great in 1863, but also of de Hirschs Jewish colonies where Schopflocher worked and which served as the setting of many of his stories. Thus it comes as no surprise that within the authors spatial imagination the rural town, the village, and the isolated colony, as spaces of cultural and social intersection, take on the Thirdspace qualities that are normally associated with cosmopolitan existence. German and Jewish in Germany Robert Schopflocher was born in 1923 to a largely secular, middle-class Jewish family in the Bavarian town of Frth, whose sizable Jewish population had earned it the nickname 137

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Frankish Jerusalem.6 In his later autobiographical refl ections on his childhood in Germany, he claims to have been the product of what is ofte n considered the stereotype of pre-war GermanJewish culture. His father is described as a Freidenker (free thinker), a generally agnostic lover of the Enlightenment humanist tradition who is affiliated with both the Masonic lodge and the main liberal synagogue, which he atte nds mainly on the High Holy Days ( Spiegel der Welt 340). His mothers secular credentials are rendered anecdotally: when a Protestant dress maker knowledgeable of halachic prescriptions on fabric content asks her whether she has anything against the dress being made of Mischstoff (mixed materials), Frau Schopflocher, the assimilated Jew from the Palatinate, stares back at her puzzled and em barrassed, not knowing the how to respond (339). Schopflochers early childhood in F rth is (re)constructed as sta ndard fare. Like most other boys his age, he attends public schools, sits through boring classes in religion paid for by Kirchensteuern reads Karl May in his spare time, and maintains collections of stamps and Zigarettenbilder As a child, he enjoys a budding Jewish iden tity that in no wa y conflicts with or diminishes his sense of being a full-fledged Frther. But the fluidity of identities and the easy crossing of identity borders begins to change in the early 1930s as anti-Semitism begins to manifest at school, and by 1933 Schopflochers spaces are separated by force after the installment of the Nazi dictatorship.7 As is well known, the Nazi objective of disentangling German and Jewish identities was accomplis hed through the strate gy of separating and 6 In 1933 Frth had a Jewish popula tion of around 3,300 (4.2 % of total population). It is the birthplace of several other prominent German Jews, including Henry Kissinger. 7 This is not meant to suggest that anti-Semitism in Frth was minimal in the mid to late 1920s. Indeed, Julius Streichers rabidly anti-Semitic publication, Der Strmer was first published in nearby Nuremberg in commemoration of Adolf Hitlers birthday (20 April) in 1923, and Streicher himself owned property at Pleikershof in the administrative district of Frth. Schopflochers early immunity to this rising anti-Semitic tide can be attributed to his age, his schoolteachers insisten ce on maintaining tolerant, humanistic classrooms, and his fathers continued belief in the eventual victory of reason over irrationality. 138

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segregating spaces. Within a few short years, government offices, schools, parks, pools, and libraries became non-Jewish spaces, thereby elimin ating any possibility th at intertwined German and Jewish identities could be lived thr ough negotiations of overlapping spaces. In Spiegel der Welt Schopflocher describes how in late 1933, as a di rect result of the Aryan Paragraph he is forced to leave the Volksschule and move to the closed spac e of a local Jewish school, an experience which he finds highly degrading (348 ). Dissatisfied with these developments, his parents elect to send him to the Jewish boarding school at Herrlingen (near Ulm), at which Martin Buber occasionally lectures. For six difficu lt years this rural school attempts to pursue its own goal of reviving Jewish identity by bringi ng city children clos er to nature while simultaneously fulfilling its obligations to the new Nazi government by performing the threefold task of familiarizing the children with German a nd Jewish culture, linguistically preparing them for emigration, and preparing them for technical, horticultural, a nd domestic training in accordance with the goal of vocationa l re-stratification of the Jews.8 The increasing isolation of Jews in Germany is such that by 1937, Schopflo chers father determines, with the help of Aryan business acquaintances, to get an exit visa for Argentina. After several months of delays at the insistence of the Frth Chamber of Co mmercewhich urges the denial of their exit applicationsvisas are also give n to the rest of the family. 8 From an article in the Bayrische Israelitische Gemeindezeitung appearing on 1 November 1933; full text available at http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/herrlingen_synagoge.htm. Seine Aufgaben lassen sich in drei Punkte zusammenfassen: Heimischmachung der Kinder im deutschen und jdischen Kulturkreise, ihre sprachliche Vorbereitung auf die Auswanderung, Vorbereitung auf handwerkliche, grtnerische und hauswirtschaftliche Ausbildung im Rahmen der beruflichen Umschichtung der Juden. 139

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German and Jewish in Argentina After settling with his family in Buenos Aires, Schopflocher c ontinues his high school studies at the liberal, German -language Pestalozzi-Schule,9 He then goes on to study agriculture at university, after which he works as an administer of the rural Jewish colonias funded by the German-Jewish philanthropist Bar on Moritz von Hirsch (Maurice de Hirsch). In doing so, he is not only bowing to pressure from his father, who believes that the future of Argentina is tied to agriculture, but is also realizing the Herrlingen sc hools stated goal of re vitalizing Jewish living by re-connecting the Jew to the countryside.10 Yet, like so many of the Jewish settlers that he chronicles in his later writings, Schopflocher abandons the confines of the village and returns to the metropolis to make a better life for himself. After his return to the city, he begins his writing career in the Spanish language. His first books on Argentine agricultural history and bee keeping are followed by novels and short fiction depictin g the difficulties and rewards of life in the colonies, for which he was awarded the lite rary prize of the city of Buenos Aires.11 It is not until Schopflocher is 75 years old that he makes a turn to his native language. His first German text, Eine Kindheit (1998), is an autobiographical sketch published concurrently with his first collecti on of short stories, Wie Reb Froike die Welt Rettete These are followed by two more short story collections, Fernes Beben in 2003 and Spiegel der Welt in 2006). Although some of the stories are essentially re-worki ngs of previously published work sin Spanish, 9 The liberal-humanist Pestalozzi-S chule in Buenos Aires, founded by the Swiss publisher of the Argentinisches Tageblatt was one of only two German language schools in Argentina which were never brought into conformity with Nazi ideology or gleichgeschaltet 10 This focus on agriculture and rural life must be seen as a product of the growing Zionist movement (and later Kibbutz/Moshav movements), one of the main tenets of which is that Jews not only needed to return to the land, but also need to learn how to work it (Telushkin 288, Peretz 16). 11 In this dissertation, I only deal with Schopflochers German-language texts for reasons of space. In future work, however, I will be looking at how Schopflochers identities are shaped through his negotiation of his native and second languages. 140

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Schopflocher claims in Wie Reb Froike that all of his stories have a German Urtext which is laid open or freigelegt through his return to the German language (180). Yet the move back to German does more than open up stories to more authentic expression, it also enacts a linguistic claim, a re-territorialization of the language, and hence the Germ an identity with which it is bound, which was taken from him by National Socialism. And yet even now, after living more th an sixty years in what he calls die Sprachfremde or linguistic exile, Schopflochers wo rks show a remarkably German sensibility. He goes to great lengths to emphasize his own continued membership in German Bildungsbrgertum as both he and his German-Jewish characters perform their worldviews by quoting Friedrich Schiller, Goethe ( Edel sei der Mensch, hilfreich und gut / Nobel be mankind, helpful and good!), Eduard Mrike, Joseph von Eichendorff, and Klaus Mann ( Die Muttersprache ist der unverlierbare Besitz, die Heimat der Heimatlosen / The mother tongue is ones inalienable property, the homeland of the homeless), just as his own admittedly selective memory is explained through extensive reference to Sigmund Freud.12 Perhaps even more significant in this context is Schopflochers strong regional attachment to his Franconian Heimat and, in particular, the local Frth dialect that is so in timately tied to his childhood memories: Sobald seine Laute an mein Ohr dringen, wirds mir warm ums Herz (As soon as its sounds reach my ear, my heart begins to warm ( Spiegel der Welt 333). Yet for all its seeming sentimentalism, Schopflochers adoption of the trope of Heimat in both his non-fiction sketches as well as his short stories is marked by a cri tical interrogation of the term. Thus, although Schopflocher claims 12 Schopflochers insistence on explaining his own trauma by quoting Freud serves not only to highlight an intellectual, linguistic, and social bond he shares with a fellow German-speaking Jewish exile, it also serves to locate Schopflocher solidly within both intellectual and popular culture in Argentina. As Mariano Plotkin has shown, the language of psychoanalysis, as it is routinely invoked to make sense of the collective trauma of the Dirty War waged by the former military regime, has become perhaps more entrenched in Argentina than in any other country in the Western Hemisphere. 141

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to have left Germany searching for a new Heimat he uses the term with full consciousness of the emotional and historical baggage it carries. Heimat although still strongly a ssociated with local rather than national geographies, is neith er organic and unifying, nor homogeneous in Schopflochers writings. It is not necessarily a place of safety and security, but a place of physical and economic hardship. In other words, Schopflochers depictions of Heimat from the isolated mountain enclave to the rural Jewish colony, begin to take on the qualities of what Robert Blickle calls antiHeimat (142-45), expressed through his characters problematic, almost antagonistic relationship to their physical environment and the natural landscapes that are the hallmark of Heimat representation (142-145). In Seltsam vertraut the young Jankl is sent to the city after a plague of locusts destroys the years harvest and his beloved magical rosebush. Yet even before this calamity, he had watched hi s grandfather be attacked and killed by a swarm of bees, had nearly drown in quicksand, and barely escaped being bitten by a deadly snake. Yet unlike many anti-Heimat representations, rural life is not po rtrayed as depraved, nor is the rural family structure demonized as dysfunctional. Rather, Schopflocher shows the geographical complexity of rural spaces and the multiplicity of identities that these make possible. In other words, he depicts the vill age as nothing less than a Spiegel der Welt (mirror of the world), a setting of struggle just as compelling and representative as the geographers city. Other Spaces, Thirdspaces As an exile writer, it is hardly surprising that Schopflocher primarily chooses metaphors which are distinctly spatial in form. The title of the second collection of short stories, Fernes Beben (Distant Tremors) suggests spatial instabil ity through the trope of unruly geography. In moments of great emotion or personal change, wh ere the ecstatic and the horrible intersect, the earth underfoot begins to shift. For example, in Fernes Beben, when Juancho, a newly assigned manager of a remote mountain railway station begins to recognize the totality of his 142

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new isolation, a light shaking of the earth marks the moment of his understanding. Later, as he is forced through blackmail to allow a railroad inspect or to have intercourse with his wife, the earth beneath his feet begins to shake violently, threatening to swallow him alive. And whenever Janklwho now returns to the colonia as the urbanized and su ccessful Jackbegins to contemplate alternate realities that might have been had he not c hosen to spend his life chasing money, he gets the feeling that the floor beneath him is swinging. And it is not only the ground beneath the feet that fails to s upport in these stories, but often the feet as well. Juancho accepts the job in the remote Andes to escape pers ecution in the city due to his clubbed foot and resulting limp. Kathi, a German-Jew ish refugee who attempts to disembark in Buenos Aires to be united with her unknown fianc in Wie Reb Froike die Welt Rettete is nearly sent back to certain death in Nazi-occupied Europe when the fianc discovers that she walks with a limp. In both of these cases, the inability to master and negotiate ones space leads to extreme marginalization. In Schopflochers spatial narrat ives, borders and intersections take on vital importance: the car and its road, the train and its tracks, and the ship and its course, do not connect separated spaces so much as they overlay inextricably connected spaces. Belonging simultaneously and entirely to all the spaces they traverse, these symbols and spaces of transportation become the staging ground for the violent upheavals th at mark spatial convergences. In Die groe Keilerei (The Big Brawl), a road cutti ng through a small village becomes the site of a bloodbath after a seemingly innocuous fender bender develops into a full-scale riot between urban dwellers and local villagers. In Spte Rache (Belated Revenge) the city-dwelling Manfredo realizes that someone is plotting his murder as he barely av oids being shoved onto the tracks of a subway system that spans both the fashionable districts of Buenos Aires as well as its slums. After 143

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narrowly escaping a homicidal city bus, he ends up being murdered by a stranger he foolishly allows through the front door of his home. It is also in these other sp aces that the impossible becomes possible and both benevolent and demoni c powers flourish. In the customs house at the welcoming pier in Buenos Aire s, Reb Froike exercises mind c ontrol on the government official to persuade him to let Kathi disembark, even though her fianc has refused to accept her. Likewise, while driving his car through the co lony of his childhood, Jack holds a conversation with his dead father and catches fleeting, yet u ltimately fatal glimpses of himself, both as a young boy riding with a friend on a horse and as an old man in a horse-drawn carriage. Michel Foucault refers to many of these symbols and spaces of transportation as heterotopias, named for their function in c ontaining, representing, and/or contesting all the other sites within a given culture yet always maintaining their ab solute difference from all those other sites. These places, whose status as outside of all place s is often marked by physical enclosurea fence, door, or wallare nonetheless cap able of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in them selves incompatible (Of Other Spaces 25). Interestingly, Foucault credits the genesis of his concept of hetero topia to a story by Borges in which the author describes a certain Chinese encyclopedia supposedly translated by German sinologist Dr. Franz Kuhn in which animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a ve ry fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) th at from a long way off look like flies. ( The Order of Things XV) This juxtaposition of seemingly random elementswhich have no connection at all in Western culture save the nicely ordered letters which serve as their organizing principleevokes a decidedly eerie, haunting feeling in the reader which is rooted in the implied collapse of those organizing devicesboth neurolog ical and linguisticthat serv e the fundamental purpose of 144

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distinguishing the Same and the Other (XV). Although the genesis of Foucaults concept of heterotopia is derived from a fo rmulation which can exist only in the no place of language, the term nonetheless refers, unlike its utopian counterpa rt, to real, locatable, lived spaces in which the infinite profusion of existing things appear s in constellations which rupture the established cultural syntax. These spaces include not only the symbols and spaces of transportationthe car, train, bus, or shipbut also such wildly divergen t places as the cemeter y, the jail, the boarding school, the retirement home, the museum, the library, the colony, and the garden, among many other possibilities. Such is the diversity of F oucaults heterotopias, connected only by their own extreme interconnectedness with every other sp ace in a given society, that collection of heterotopias is it self heterotopic.13 Not surprisingly, Edward Soja claims Foucau lts heterogeneous and relational space of heterotopia as an articulation of Thirdspace, as a repudiation of both Firstspace focus on physical forms and Secondspace emphasis on abstra ction. For Soja, heterotopia is neither a substanceless void to be filled by cognitive intuition nor a repository of physical forms to be phenomenologically described in all its resplendent variability ( Postmodern Geographies 17). Although Soja does not mention it, there is a nother reason to accept the comparison. The idea that heterotopias bear a relations hip to all the other sites of a culture while always maintaining their absolute difference suggests that Foucaults heterotopias enjoy the same privileged status in relation to the sites that th ey represent that Thirdspace does toward the First and Secondspaces that it both contains and exceeds. 13 In both Of Other Spaces and in the preface to The Order of Things Foucault describes with a studied ambiguity many types of heterotopia, many of which are of little concern here. Of more interest, however, are the heterotopias he sees in Borgess spaces, inasmuch as they explode meaning, order, and language, and therefore the concept of difference itself. Heterotopic sites such as the library and museum, on the other hand, although they likewise attempt to contain and represent all the other sites in their respective culture, do not generally serve the disruptive function. On the contrary, if Benedict Anderson is to be believed, their function has been, at least historically, to document and conservatively reproduce the imaginary community of the nation. 145

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Yet as much as I (and Soja himself) might lik e to incorporate heterotopic spaces under the rubric of Thirdspace, any reading of spatial conve rgences in Schopflochers texts as heterotopias must be undertaken with an awareness of the limitations that this type of reading engenders. In particular, Foucaults assertion that heterotopias bear a relation to every other place in a given society or community seems to assume a certa in homogeneity of the population and a stable definition of society. In some cases the line is draw n rather easily: the jail bears a relationship to every other place within a given community inas much as the entire space of the community even private and secret spaceis covered by the jurisdiction of the court which owns the jail. Yet as the diversity of a community or so ciety increases, the ability of any single place to relate to all other spa ces or contain them diminishes. The example of the cemetery is quite instructive here. For Foucault, the town or vill age cemetery relates to every other space within the town it serves in that every family has re latives buried in that space. The cemetery, he seems to suggest, becomes the great equalizer, a site wher e everyone is entitled to her or his own little box for her or his own little person al decay (Of Other Spaces 25). But Schopflochers colonias are far from Foucaults homogene ous ideal, for even in these remote locations, religious restrictions provide for separate eternal housing for the Jewish and Christian dead, although this separation is not all-encompassing and opportunities for transgression and hybrid identities abound. The rural Jewish cemetery that Jack visits is a closed space only in appearance as the gate regulating entran ce is merely propped up against the posts that are supposed to secure it. The e uphemistically named good place itself is tended by the non-Jewish caretaker, Eleuterio Gonzlez. As Jack prepares to leav e the cemetery, it is the non-Jew who politely reminds him of the ritual washing of the hands, a custom which the 146

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assimilated Jew has forgotten.14 But Jack is no longer Jankl, and he refuses to indulge: he simply leaves the cemetery as abruptly and unceremoniously as he entered it.15 Furthermore, even the rural cemetery is not a place of e quality. Everyone is indeed entitle d to an individual box and an individual decay, but not an equal one. The grave sites of religious Jews in the back are covered with simple headstones in the traditional shape, while the graves of less observant Jews in the better plots up front sport square headstones with embossed pictures of the deceased, a conceit that is in keeping with (Christian) Argentine cu stom but ritually forbi dden to the orthodox. After Jankl unexpectedly dies during his visit to the colonia of his childhood, his funeral is celebrated as a gesellschaftliches Ereignis ersten Range s (first-rate societal event 67). Yet Schopflocher spares his unknowing German reader the knowledge th at all Argentines take for granted; namely, that despite the fortunes he might have amasse d, the gates to La Recoleta, the most famous cemetery in Buenos Aires, the gates which enclos e the most expensive and sought-after space in the capital, do not open for Jews. Yet desp iteor perhaps because ofthis radical inaccessibility, not just for Jews, but for all but th e tiniest percentage of Argentineans, the space is nothing if not heterotopic. For there is no single space in the entire country, enclosed or otherwise, that enchants and occupies the cons ciousness of the populous even as it represents even celebratingthe most blatant inequality. 14 This scene retells Schopflochers story of friendly German-Jewish coexistence in pre-Nazi Germany, in which his mother has to be reminded by a non-Jewish dressmaker about the halachic restrictions on garment materials. Yet the difference in the two situations is telli ng: whereas Schopflochers mother is portrayed as a fine example of integrated German Jewry and her ignorance of Jewish law comes across as a mildly embarrassing yet completely forgivable mistake, Jankls open hostility toward the tradition of hand washing is indicative of an outright rejection of his Jewish identity. It is precisely this inability live equally within his two identities that leads to his spiritual demise. 15 In this scene, Schopflocher inverts and retells Ka fkas Vor dem Gesetz. In both stories, a keeper watches over a gate which leads to the seemingly closed sp ace of the law, but which can easily be penetrated if the aspirant so chooses. But whereas Kafkas humble hero comes from the country to request entrance and misses his opportunity by never daring to challenge the system, Jankl returns to the country as a successful urban businessman and simply barges in, only to find that, once rejected, the law loses not only its power to coerce, but also its power to save. 147

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What is most valuable about the heterotopias that Foucault names, at least as far as the current study is concerned, is not so much th eir at times dubious rela tionship to every other space in a given society, but the fact that these are precisely the locations in Schopflochers texts where identities are negotia ted and performed, where the struggles for life and death take place, where the experience of the quotidian is most intense. For Manfredo, desperately fighting unknown forces that demand his death, the subway is an uncanny, terrifying place: lips move with no attendant voices, faces twitch in unnatural ways, fellow passengers hide behind newspapers. In Geschichtsunterricht (history lesson), the perfect microcosmic garden behind the retired professor Sarmientos apartment is as meticulously arranged as it is inaccessible. Yet its worth lies not so much in its heterotopic va lue as realized utopian perfectibility as in its Thirdspace value as a site of re sistance against the encr oaching concrete jungle. And it is during a visit to the senile professor in a retirement ho me that Fortunato Martin ia former student who now manufactures garden gnomesrealizes in horro r that his belatedness in keeping his halfhearted promise to maintain contact with the lone ly old man has forever shattered any chance of communication. Foucault ponders whether the colonies might not also be considered heterotopias of compensation, inasmuch as their original role was to create a space that is other, another real space, as perfect, as meticulous, as well arranged as ours is mess, ill-constructed, and jumbled (27). In this context, Foucault specifically refe rs to those extraordinary seventeenth-century Jesuit colonies in South America as marvelous, absolutely regulated colonies in which human perfection was effectively achieved (Of Other Spaces 27). Obviously, this heterotopia could only exist as an extremely problematic Eurocentric male fantasy of absolute domination and submission, and as such it is not so far remove d from the heterotopia of the concentration 148

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camp. What is of interests here is that the spaces that Foucault calls heterotopic are precisely the locations that appear in Schopflochers storie s as sites of convergen ce and conflict, as Thirdspaces of multiplicity. The colonia that Schopflocher portrays is just such a space. It is neither an easy series of accumulating othe rnesses in permanent opposing relation to the heterogeneous, multicultural, limitless metropolis, nor does it represent a romantic reenactment of a spiritually fulfilling, connected, organic shtetl life that never existed as such. It is neither pure nature nor pure suffering. It exists in a dynamic, complex rela tionship not just to the city, but to the suburbs, towns, v illages, and other colonies. Reclaiming and Rewriting the Remote In his portrayal of life in the colonias and other rural areas Schopflocher attempts to rescue these spaces from totalizing or simplifying te ndencies by showing their heterogeneity, thereby highlighting the unexpected similarities that thes e sites share with the metropolis. Juancho, for example, is marginalized within the concrete conf ines of the oppressive city because of his slow wit and a disability that hinders his mastery of sp ace. Yet the oppression of the city he escapes is more than matched by the utter humiliation he must suffer, year after year, at the hands of the inspector. At the same time, the massive materiality of the city is mirrored by that of the bare and lifeless sierra, an enormous heap of pure mineral ity that is oppressive in its magnificence (11). Rather than constituting the ope n space often associated with Heimat (Sclafani 4), mountains are experienced as closed space, as a place of exile, every bit as th reatening as the city he left behind. The heterogeneity of rural space corresponds to the remarkable diversity of its inhabitants. The majority of Jews in the colonies have roots in Russia and Poland, but the arrival and subsequent integration of Germ an Jewish expellees initiate a change and conflict. The Germans are orderly, materialistic, and religi ously unorthodox. They set up their own religious 149

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spaces, quote German poets and refuse to give up their language despite the fact that it is the language of the Nazis, leading at least one long-time resident to su spect that there might even be Nazis among them. The meticulous Germans look down upon the backward, unenlightened, superstitious Ostjuden Yet even these Ostjuden are not religiously uniform. Reb Froike represents Orthodox Judaism, while Reb Avraha m dabbles in Kabbalah and mysticism, an interest which leads to his family being s hunned by the Torah literalists. A good number of nonJewish Argentines work in the colonies as we ll, which over time has led to mixed cultural practices. Besides the adoption of Argentine burial customs noted earlier, the colonists also buy healing herbs from Don Soilo the local curandero (medicine man), take afternoon siestas and communally sip mate tea through a shared silver straw, as is the Argentinean custom.16 Thus, through the portrayal of geographi cal and social heterogeneity, as well as cultural mixing that occurs in rural spaces, Schopfloch er attempts to draw parallels between urban and rural spatial practice. Despite his attempt to compare village and city life, in his eagerness to portray the complexity of rural spaces Schopflocher occasionally gives in to the temptati on to cast the city as a monolithic generator of capitalist exploitation and sexual mischief. The rich and those who pretend to be, all of whom are tied to the ci ty, are proud of their achievements, unwilling to accept responsibility for their act ions, and often utterly corrupt. Jacks accumulated wealth is attributed to his willingness to pay bribes, lay off workers, an d cheat on his taxes, while his myriad justifications ring hollow. The namele ss, sole survivor of the street riot in Die groe Keilerei refuses to accept any blame for the deat h and destruction unleashed by the crash he 16 The custom of drinking mate was originally developed among the Guaran natives of northern Argentina and Paraguay. Thus, its status as the national drink reflect s the hybrid nature of Argentine culture. Furthermore, immigrants returning to the Middle East from Argentina took the practice back with them, such that Syria is now the top importer of Argentine mate 150

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caused, and his biggest worry is that his family will discover the he was driving in the company of his mistress. When masqueradi ng as a little guy fails to c onvince a police detective to let him go, he resorts to bribes and threats. Likewise, the railroad inspector in Fernes Beben goes to great lengths to show off his wealth thr ough his suit and tie, expensive watch and diamond ring. Yet even the most despicable figures in th ese stories are not always as one-dimensional as they at first appear. The blackmailing railroad inspector who torments Juancho has been unhappily married, childless, and sexually estrange d from his wife for several years, yet because of the power of the Catholic Church in Argentin a, he is legally prohibited from getting a divorce. Furthermore, his identity as a middle-class citi zenwhich is what he seems to value mostis shown to be mere performance, as the oversized st one in his conspicuous ri ng is revealed to be a fake. Other Othernesses in Thirdspace The complex heterogeneity of the rural areas th at Schopflocher depicts serves not only to rescue this space from the reductions and simplifi cations that urban orient ated spatial practices encourage; it also provides a background to understanding the many ways that people are othered or marginalized within all communities. In this context it is particularly interesting that Schopflocher engages in othering pr actices which differ from those of other writers that I discuss in other chapters. For example, Schopflocher engages in what Thomas Diez refers to as temporal othering not by depictin g previous incarnations of the se lf as othered identities to be kept at a distance, as is the case in the work of Timm and Schenker, but instead does the opposite. By portraying the few remain ing inhabitants of the Jewish colonias as heroic and casting those who have returned to the cities and positioned themselves within the capitalist system as unhappy and unfulfilled, Schopflocher eff ectively others the assimilated urban Jew of the present with respect to the increasingly an achronistic rural Jews. Thus it would seem that 151

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for Schopflocher, the current state of affairs in which Jews have abandoned the back to the land philosophy that brought them to the colonias of Argentina is unaccep table. Yet there is a strong sense of realism and quiet resignation in Schopflochers desc riptions of the move to the cities, such that those who abandon the colonias are not completely vilifie d. Jankl is haunted not so much by his move to the city as he is by the things he has been force d to do to accumulate power and wealth. Schopflochers othering practices within the colonia deserve some attention as well. In Wie Reb Froike die Welt Rettete for example, the portrayal of th e German Jews is particularly interesting. In the stories which deal with the arrival of the Germans in the colonies, the narrator is always someone from the Eastern European families who recounts in detail the difficulties that the arriving Germans face, but without actually identifying with them. The Germans are pure outsiders in the colony, and in certain respects are at the mercy of their Russian and Polish coreligionists, a situation best demonstrated as Reb Froike has to be called in to rescue the crippled German Kathi from certain death as she is about to be sent back to Europe. It is significant that Schopflocher does not tell the story of th e arriving Germans from their own point of view, even though this ex perience is likely the on e with which the author himself is most personally familiar. However, it would be entirely incorrect to conclude that Schopflocher is attempting through his literary expression to dist ance himself from his own Germanness. As I demonstrated above, Schopflocher goes out of hi s way in his autobiographical sketches to position himself squarely within the tradition of German Bildungsbrgertum His German characters are likewise proud of their civilized and rational Germanness, which makes their forced separation from Germany (and from non-Jew ish Germans) appear all the more tragic. 152

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Thus, rather than mark a separation from Ge rmanness, I would argue that Schopflochers assumption of points of view which diverge from his own history are indicat ions of his eagerness to explore all the facets of his various concurrent identities and the places where these identities are formed and performed: it is an attemp t to embrace the multiplicity and dynamics of individual existence. Generic Hybridity Schopflochers experimental mixing and matching of personalities that I have referred to above is accomplished through a narrative strate gy which likewise draws on multiple genres and which I refer to as generic hybridity. One exampl e of this strategy can see be seen in the narrative of Fernes Beben. Although the prota gonist, Juanchos identity as an Argentinean male is the only thing that connects him to hi s creator, the story is not a reworking of an Argentinean (or even German) stock character, but of an East European Jewish one; namely, the schlemiel, that well-meaning and morally uprig ht, yet hopelessly weak, cowardly, sexually dysfunctional, feminized and bumbling fool that long served in both the Jewish and non-Jewish imaginary as one of the archetype s of male Jewishness (Gonshak 9).17 Important for my analysis of Juancho is that the schlemiel is also a simple ton, he is unlucky, hes clumsy and gauche, hes a social misfit, hes nave and gullible, and he makes foolish bargains (Berger 93). This description fits Juancho perfectly. Mein Juancho ist unter ei nem Unglcksstern geboren, laments his poor old mother (My Juancho was born under an unlucky star; 7). His defective foot gives him a clumsy limp, which leads to hi s being socially awkward. Having been socially shunned his whole life, Juancho does not even kn ow how to court a woman, and he predictably 17 Besides the schlemiel, there are several other Yiddish words which describe foolish people, such as the colorful schlimazel, whose de signation derives linguistically from both Yiddish ( shlim or bad) and Hebrew (mazl or luck). My concern here is not to delineate the sub tle differences in these types, as many of their traits overlap. The schlemiel is the best known of these stock characters and the only one with a direct relationship to German literature through Chamissos Peter Schlemihl. 153

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ends up marrying the first girl whom, after some embarrassing coaching by the young lady in question, he manages to kiss. Finally, it is his ex aggerated naivet which leads him to accept his cousins job offer at that remote, nameless trai n station, despite glaring ev idence that the job is not legitimate. The European schlemiel, that generic charac ter that serves as a model for Juancho, has been rendered extinct, his native space, the shte tl, having been violently erased from the map. Subsequent attempts to breathe life back into this character type ha ve run up against strong resistance. For, as Ruth Wisse argues, many Je ws now consider the schlemiels slow wit and physical weakness an uncomfortable embarrassment in the post-Holocaust world, a reminder of the perceived inability of European Jews to effectively prevent their annihilation. The moral superiority of the schlemiel, the optimism that e ndeared him to Jewish readers was suddenly seen in the light of the historic failure of faith to redeem the world on its own. Thus, in more contemporary configurations, particularly in Ameri can literature, this image of the frail, unmanly Jew, once identified as one of the main Jewish ar chetypes, now competes with what Paul Breines has called Rambowitz characters, tough, heroic Jews who give life to novels like Leon Uriss Exodus (5).18 Yet even if the schlemiel as hero ha s lost a good deal of his appeal to a Jewish audience, there is no reason why a gentile version of him cannot still be compelling to a German reading public, which has long been fam iliar with the figure since the publication of Adelbert von Chamissos novel Peter Schlemihl a story in which a fool sells his shadow. Although Chamissos character is not Jewisheve n though his name is a Yiddish word derived from Hebrewhis foolish bargain with the devil results in his having to spend his life alone, 18 It should be pointed out that Breines is concerne d with competing images of Jewish masculinity, which explains his identification of Woody A llen as an American neoschlemiel (63). Thus, the American Schlemiel, while boasting an abundance of passivity, neurosis, and sexual dysfunction that passes as typically Jewish, has lost the intellectual simplicity, the abject navet that made him the object of pity. Juancho, on the other hand, retains this quality. 154

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roaming from place to place like the proverbial wandering Jew (Fuchs 177). Thus, the German reader is able to understand Juancho, cut off from civilization and doomed to spend the last years of his life in the vast loneliness of nature, as a an Argentinean in carnation of a German character with a strangely Jewish fate. Another example of apparent generic hybridity evidenced in Schopflochers stories also deserves mention, namely, his occasional depiction of seemingly magical events. The inclusion of such elements might lead German readers to assume that he is employing the techniques of magical realism, which is best known as a Latin American genre characterized by the insertion of apparently magical elements within otherwis e apparently realist narratives. But magical realism, particularly in its most important La tin American incarnations involves more than a mere inclusion of magic within otherwise rea list frames: crucially, it involves depicting the fantastical as completely ordinary and unexceptional, thereby calling in to question the Western division of experience into discreet (and implicitly hierarchic al) realms of real and magical. Gabriel Garca Mrquez, the Colombian author whose One Hundred Years of Solitude is heralded as the prototypical Latin American magical realist novel, explains his intent this way: My most pressing problem was to destroy the line of demarcation that separates that which seems real from that which seems fantastic, be cause in the world I was trying to evoke this barrier didnt exist (my transl ation, cited in Bradley vii). Therefore, it would appear to be a mistake to read Schopflochers depiction of ma gic as an appropriation of the Latin American magical realist tradition. This conclusion is co mpounded, however, by the fact that the already difficult task of defining and delim iting a genre is complicated in the present case by the fact that most scholars recognize at least tw o divergent strains of magical r ealism. Cuban wr iter and critic Alejo Carpentier, who is credited with inspir ing the magical realist writer Gabriel Garca 155

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Mrquez, differentiates between a truly Latin Am erican real maravilloso (marvelous real) and European influenced magical realism, which he links to an artificiality associated with surrealism.19 This rather sweeping understanding of a marvelous real that completely yet latently saturates Latin American culture is of course problematic in that it essentializes both the genre itself and the Latin American cultu re it is supposed to have comp letely penetrated. Applied to Schopflocher, Carpentiers formulation suggests that either Schopflochers writing is Latin American (and therefore automatically infused w ith the marvelous real) or he is simply a European residing in Argentina. Without doubt Schopflochers claim to a Latin American identity is slightly more tenuous than Carpen tiers, for although both writers were born in Europe20 to European parents, Carpen tier at least had the benefit of growing up in Cuba, even if his Spanish was spiced throughout his life with a French accent (Brennan 9), as Schopflochers is with a German one. Yet, given that Schopflochers first novels we re written in Spanish and that it was this Spanish work that earned him the literary prize of the city of Buenos Ai res, I see no reason to question his credentials as a truly Latin American writer. On the other hand, Schopflochers use of magical elements clearly does not correspond to what has come to be expected within magical realist texts, namely, that the s upernatural appear as a normal part of everyday life. When Reb Froike uses mind control on the immigration agent to save the life of Kathi, for example, the feat is celebrated as something special and otherworldly, a special God-given power that is anything but commonplace. And when Marcos, the grands on of Avraham the Kabbalist in Vom Baum 19 In The Baroque and the Marvelous Real Carpentier claims the mar velous real as authentic Latin American cultural property: The marvelous real that I defend and that is our own marvelous real is encountered in its raw state, latent and omnipresent, in all that is Latin American (104). 20 Carpentier claimed his entire life to have been born in Cuba, but Roberto Gonzlez Echevarra, Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literatures at Yale University, has shown that Carpentier was actually born in Lausanne (Switzerland) and moved to Havana as an infant. 156

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der Erkenntnis, discovers the magical circum stances of his birthnamely that he is the reincarnation of Avrahams first sonthis knowledge is imparted through Gematria, a system of numerology which derives meanings and relatio nships between words based on the numerical value of the words in the Hebrew numbering sy stem. Important here is that the secrets of Kabbalah and access to the magical knowledge that it imparts are extremely limited within the Kabbalistic tradition: specifically to men over th e age of forty who are deemed worthy of sharing the secret. In other words, when magical events o ccur in Schopflochers text s, they appear either as gateways to other worlds of infinite and magi cal dimensions or as reve aling the magical truths and relationships that, while secretly functi oning within everyday life, are invisible and inaccessible to ordinary people. Schopflocher and Borges To point out the incongruity between Schopflochers texts a nd the expectations of Latin American magical realism is not to claim that these works are not in dialog with Latin American fictionquite the contrary. For even if his fi ction does not fit well within the admittedly permeable generic boundaries of the marvelous real, Schopflochers depictions of the supernatural are very much in tune with thos e of his compatriot and contemporary, Jorge Luis Borges. One of the most celebrated Latin American authors of all time, Borges is known for having sown the early seeds of what grew to be the marvelous real. Yet many scholars have pointed out that his work bears a much str onger affinity to what Wendy Farisapparently accepting Carpentiers distinctionscalls the northerly spare (i.e., European) variety of the genre than to the exuberant tropical lush variation more commonly associated with Latin American fiction (165).21 21 Faris notes that distinctions between European an d Latin American varieties of magical realism have been theorized by many scholars. Jean Weissberger, for example, distinguishes between a scholarly variety in 157

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Schopflocher and Borges, however unequal their literary fame, share remarkable similarities in terms of their biographies, subj ect matter, and philosophical outlook. Borges was born in 1899 to a bilingual Spanish-English home in Buenos Aires. The English side derives from his paternal grandmother, a Protestant hail ing from Staffordshire, England, who lived with Borgess family and spoke English with little G eorgie. His father, having inherited the English language as well as a healthy intellectual appetite, was an agnostic, free-thinking lover of philosophy (Aizenberg 4). Borgess mother, on the other hand, wa s part of an old Creole family known for its strong nationalism and strict Cath olicism. Edna Aizenberg has argued that Borgess bilingual upbringing led him to a kind extr aterritoriality, even before his fathers failing eyesight led him to move the family to Switzerland when Borges was only fifteen (The Aleph Weaver 9). Thus, like Schopflocher, Borgess fo rmative high school years were spent trying to adapt to a new culture. In Geneva, Borg es learned French and Latin in school, and he taught himself German in order to access the works of the great philosophers. When his attempted reading of Kants impossibly dense prose failed, he became engaged instead in the study of Heines poetry, Bubers prose, and the novels of Gustav Meyrink, whose Der Golem was the first German-language book Borges managed to read in its entirety (15). His later work included Spanish translations of both Hermann Hesse and, more importantly, Franz Kafka, who is often cited as having exerted the greatest influence on Borgess depiction of the supernatural (Flores 111-13). Borgess attraction to the German language a nd his extensive reading of German literature lead him to a much larger overlap in cultural knowledge with Schopfloch er than their shared Europe which loses itself in art and conjecture and a mythic or folkloric type in Latin America. Roberto Gonzlez Echevarra sees European varieties as epistemological or stemming from vision while the Latin American variety is more ontological, in that the geograph ical milieu is, in itself, marvelous (Faris 165). While all these distinctions are necessarily qualita tive and cannot be accepted as rigid, the depictions of the supernatural in Borgess work that I will consider all show an affinity toward the more European. 158

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experience within Argentinean culture would, on its own, permitnot least because the older Borges belonged to the generation of Schopfloche rs father. Perhaps more importantly for the present study, the German language led Bo rges to what he refers to as lo hebreo (things Hebrew; Aizenberg 14). Of primary importance in Borgess interest in Judaism is not so much his dabbling in Kabbalah, which I will deal with in the next section, but rather his particular spatial interpretation of the Jewi sh condition. As Aizenberg has pointed out, Borgess interest in Jewishness stems from his recognition of what is perhaps the central problematic of Latin American identity vis--vis the so-called Weste rn world: it is part of that world yet still marked with a sense of otherness. The identifi cation with European cu ltural traditions is particularly strong in Argentina, which sees it self as the whitest and therefore the most Europeancountry in Latin America.22 Thus, the sense of otherne ss in relationship to the more dominant Western cultures is likely to be felt more keenly and exclusion from the power structure is likely to be felt more personally and painfully, not unlike th e exclusion of the Jew from the European culture with which he so strongly identified. Thus, for Borges, Judaism became a paradigm for being Latin American (Ai zenberg vii). Yet Borges, like Schopflocher, is aware of at least one strategic benefit of bei ng located at the margins of Western European culture, namely, that he not onl y has the right to everything Latin American, but also to everything worthwhile in the Western cultural tradition, including all its topoi, symbols, and archetypes (50). This assertion amou nts to a territorial claim to all cultural spaces to which the author has any access at all. It is a radical challenge to cultural hegemony of the West as well as a challenge to the concept of Western civiliza tion as a discreet, borde red entity, and as such 22 Andres Malamud (University of Buenos Aires/Europe an University Institute) claims that Argentina, because of its white physiognomy, high education levels, and Western cultural patterns has always looked to London and Paris as reference points rather than to Rio de Janeiro or Mexico City (3). 159

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serves as a validation of Leslie Adelsons rejec tion of the designation of the condition of cultural marginality as a state of being between two worl ds (116). Furthermore, this territorial claim exhibits a Thirdspace quality, particularly in its re jection of either/or alte rnatives in favor of a both/and option. It highlights the unique Thir dspace ability to be completely within two cultural spaces simultaneously. For both Sc hopflocher and Borges, this geographical simultaneity is materialized, magi cally, in the form of the Aleph. The Aleph The Aleph that Borges describes in his short story of the same namea place which contains all other placesserves Soja as a symb ol for the limitless possibilities of Thirdspace. Of particular interest to Soja, as noted above, is the way that the Aleph, as Thirdspace, is realized in the metropolis which within its geography cont ains all the intersecting geographies of all the people and cultures that are packed within its bo rders. Yet the Aleph might just as easily be understood as a symbol of heterotopia, and as such is in dialog with Foucault at least as much as it is with Soja. It is therefor e interesting that Scho pflocher also invokes the mysteries of the Aleph, yet in a slightly different way. It is through the comparis on of these invocations and their implications that not only the possibilities but al so the limits of the concepts of Thirdspace, heterotopia, and the Aleph as critical tools through which we express the budding awareness of space that is referred to as the spatial turn, are revealed. In Borgess story The Aleph, Carlos, the firs t cousin of the narrators deceased girlfriend Beatriz, invites the narrator (presumably one of Borgess myriad al ter egos) to his city apartment to see an Aleph, which he explains as one of th e points in space that contains all other points. Borges agrees and hurries over to have a look. Becau se of what he describes as the limited, serial nature of language, Borges claims that he can only with great difficulty and necessary distortion describe what he has witnessed in Carloss cellar. In a sphere no more than an inch across, he is 160

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able to view every detail of every conceiva ble earthly space from every possible angle, simultaneously, without overlap or confusion. He lists just a few of the infinite number of wondrous things hes seen: all th e ants on earth, all the grains of sand in a desert, a random woman in Invernes, a sunset in Quertaro painte d in the color of a rose in Bengalobjects as unrelated as the types of animals registered in the Chinese ency clopedia. But his wonder turns to horror as he realizes that he can also see such intimate and hidde n things as his own bowels, the cancer in the breast of the Invernes woman, his dead lovers dusty and decaying bones, and the heretofore unknown obscene letters she has writte n to Carlos and hidden in a desk drawer. Having once seen the monstrosity of infinite knowle dge, he tries to convin ce Carlos not to fight the planned demolition of the apartment building and to leave the pernicious metropolis once and for all (26-28). Schopflochers Aleph appears in Seltsam Vertraut as the rosebush that Jankl loved as a child. Standing next to the plant, the aging Jack is transported to one of the infinite number of alternate universes in which his life has not been lived in vain. Within a few minutes, Jack lives an entire lifetime as Jankl, a boy who is never sent to the city and who gr ows up anchored in the colonia marries Chawah, his childhood love, has child ren and grandchildren who love him, and who dies at peace with himself. Yet the alternat e universe is not a utopian dream and even this life is not without its difficultie s: successful harvests are follo wed by failed crops, cattle prices rise and fall, ants must be battled, droughts and floods afflict the land. Most of his children leave the colonia for the city, and his beloved Chawah dies af ter a short illness. After returning to the present universe in which Jankl is simply a man whose choices have left him lonely and his life meaningless, he dies of an apparent heart attack. 161

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Both Borges and Schopflocher portray their respective Ale phs (named after the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) as earthly manifestations of the infinite universe. In Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), the aleph is endowed with magical powers because of its numerical value of 1, which denotes both the oneness of God and th e unity of all creation. However, there are differences in the authors portrayal of the Aleph. Borgess Aleph is a small sphere through which infinite physical spaces can be viewed fr om all angles. It is a microcosm of the known universe in which, miraculously, no detail is diminished and every space is rendered without overlapping or transparency (26). Yet this Aleph does not actually contain all other spacesthe description in the text makes it clear that this tiny sphere merely mirrors or re-presents them, serving as little more than a convenient screen upon which images from the farthest reaches are projected. It is an inverted Foucauldian panopticon in which the unified eye of the observer, with infinitely multiplied lenses, looks inward from every direction upon a multiplicity of space reduced to a single, central point; it is a flys eyeball turned inside out. In order words, the Aleph that Soja finds so important as a symbol of Thirdspace represents not so much the density or complexity of the metropolis as it does the fantasy of a scholars crystal ball. Schopflochers rosebush, on the other hand, is the point where th e upper path, the unknown path of infinite possibilitie s, meets the lower path of earth ly history. What is contained in this Aleph is the infinite number of alternate universes which has, paradoxically, increased in number with every choice Jack has made, every turn that he has taken. Thus, unlike Borgess (and Sojas) Aleph, Schopflochers Aleph shows it s beholder not the simultaneity of spaces that are, but that of the spaces that mi ght have been. It is not so much the master of space as it is the master of time. 162

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163 Soja encourages us to choose Thirdspace as a position in, or allianc e with, marginalized space. At the same time, the radical openness of his concept encourages us to complicate our understanding of margins and th eir relationship to centers, borders, and intersections. Schopflochers texts respond to this opportunity by helping us imagine other othernesses. They also demonstrate how personal spaces are claime d and identities are constructed, assumed and performed in all of our lived spacesnot just in the metropolis represented by the Borgesian Aleph. Importantly, Schopflochers texts let us view the Aleph itself from a different angle, one which, in keeping with the spirit of Thirdspace highlights the revolutio nary value of every choice, including the choice of marginality.

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CHAPTER 5 TOWARD A CONCLUSION: THE FUTURE OF GERMANNESS In this dissertation I have attempted to trace the development of literary and filmic expressions of Germanness in the postwar period as they relate to spaces outside of Germany proper, from Eastern Europe to the jungles and mountains of South America. Taking Andersons conception of the nation as imagined community as a starting point, I have chosen to look at fictional encounters between Germans (or Eu ropeans imbued with sp ecifically German characteristics) and those natives inhabiting the exotic space in order to see if and how those interactions reflect wider issues within the Ge rman national discourse at home. These issues include the proper role of Germany and German s in the wider world, the relationship between German civilization and the environment, and the ways of dealing with Germanys past. Germany in the World As I demonstrated in the second chapter, th e first postwar attempts to show German Heimat abroad reflected a strong sense of polit icized nostalgia, a longing for a time when Germans in outside of Germany could be imagin ed as playing a leading role in the cultural development of those areas. In Ich denke oft an Piroschka Hofmann depicts a pre-capitalist rural community with which postwar Germans coul d strongly identify. It is a community living in wholeness, where Germans and Hungari ans live in happy cooperationbefore the establishment of National Socialism, the devasta tion of WWII, the fall of Eastern Europe to communism or the division of the German nation between East and West. Later generations of Germans have tended to take a more critical approach to German intervention in the affairs of the outside wo rld. Those such as Werner Herzog and Annette Schenker, who identify more strongly with German Romantic traditions, tend to portray exotic lands as difficult and dangerous places where onl y the most determinedthe elect feware able 164

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to prevail. These narratives tend to exalt the a dventurer while stressing the inaccessibility of the exotic to the average Westerner. Other writer s such as Uwe Timm take a staunchly critical approach to all efforts by Germ ans to interfere in foreign coun tries, including efforts to help modernize or Westernize non-European countries a nd cultures. This argument rests in part on the assumption that the West has ve ry little to offer to non-European cultures that is not likely to lead to social inequality, crim e, and corruption. Not surprisingl y, all the writers and filmmakers I have examined are critical of traditional mass tourism. Herzog even goes so far as to call tourism sin, whereas travelling on foot is virtue (see appendix). The German and the Environment As Susanne Zantop has shown, South America ha s served in the German imagination as a symbol for wild, untamed nature for hundreds of years. Although the ways in which writers and filmmakers approach this mythology vary signif icantly, the variation depends upon the artists own relationship with environment. On one extreme is Herzog, whose antipathy toward the random, arbitrary, even sinister host ility of nature is reflected in all his jungle films. For him, there is no harmony with the dark forces of nature, only an obsessive drive to overcome them. A similar attitude is evident in Timms Der Schlangenbaum : although the environment is not imbued with malevolent intentions, the novel nonetheless makes a strong case for the incompatibility of the jungle e nvironment with Western technology. Schenker, on the other hand, paints a much more amicable picture of the natural world: although the environment can be dangerous if one chooses the most extreme of adventures (as she often does), on the whole humans are portrayed as living in harmony with wild (and domes ticated) animals, which often do not even bother to run away when humans approach. The wide gap between Herzogs apparent an thropocentrism and Schenkers ecocentrism reflects a dichotomy which had al ready established itself between early and late Romantic motifs 165

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in German literary history. Whereas early Romanticism laid emphasis on natural harmony, the later period tended to focus on the mysteri ous, demonic, and uncanny realms of human existence. As I have shown in the second chapter, the issues of man versus nature are still some of the most important points of discussion in Germany today. The examples of the bears Bruno Knut are quite instructive: Knut the polar bear cub born in th e Berlin Zoo, has been used by German environmentalists to emphasize the dang er that global warming poses to the natural environment of the polar bearfar outside of Germanys borders. Thus, issues of German environmental action at home (re ducing greenhouse gases) and abro ad (saving polar bears) have opened a new avenue for German action outside Ge rmany without raising the same red flags that Germanys participation in the bombing of Serb ia did. The case of Bruno, the brown bear who was shot dead by hired hunters in Bavaria, raised issues about the willingness of Germans to once again allow potentially dang erous animals to share a forest which has been brought under human control and rationalized. It also br ought to the forefront re gional differences and resentments between what Herzog describes as the rational, Teutonic North and the dreamy, rowdy South. By and large, the German public is enthusiastic about the reintroduction into the native forest not only of bears, but also of the wolves and lynx es which had likewise been hunted into extinction. The German Past Even when main characters in German depictio ns of the exotic are not German themselves, the narratives that unfold in the stories that I ha ve examined are driven, to different extents, by the haunting specter of the German past. In orde r to distance themselves from this past, the characters may assume alternate identities a nd thereby deemphasize their own Germanness. In Piroschka I have shown how the romantic portrayal of the mythological Hungarian past serves as a substitute for a mythological Germanic past which was made untouchable by its adoption by 166

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and subsequent popular associati on with National Socialism. This same phenomenon can be seen in Was fr ein verrcktes Leben : Schenker does her best to pain t a heart-warming picture of melancholy Argentinean men singing the tales of the national heroes to the tune of a single guitar. The German reader, with no access of his or her own to a timeless history wrapped in mythology and heroic legend, is able to enjoy the feeling of oneness with this history vicariously. Another way in which these characters deal w ith the German past is through the othering of the anachronistic German figure that is d eemed incompatible with contemporary ideals of Germanness. In Der Schlangenbaum for example, Timm portrays the small, German-speaking religious communities in Argentina as not onl y fanatically religious, but also physically degenerate. The former S.S. man who shows up at the parties on Green Hill is likewise ignored by the majority of the guests. Schenker also has a strong tendency to temporally other the figure of the escaped Nazi, who has become a stock character in German tales of Argentina. The Germanness of the Future: Multicultural Identities? It is by now axiomatic that Germany is becoming increasingly multicultural, despite efforts on the political right to curb the influence of non-European sub-cultures in Germany by enforcing cultural standards on would-be immi grants. Yet it seems th at constructions of Germanness set outside the safe borders of th e Fatherland are slow in catching up. Instead of encouraging multiculturalism, these portrayals seem to encourage a retreat from external contact with alien cultures. The ostensible reason is the fear that native cultures can only be contaminated by Western influences and a belief that their survival as a culture depends on their continued isolation. Yet even this attitude is ultimately Euroce ntricfor it assumes both that the European knows what is best for the native and that European culture, wrapped as it is in industrial production and consumerism, will ultimatel y overrun any other culture that it touches. 167

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Of all the authors I have examined in this dissertation, it is those who live and work outside a German cultural framework that show th e strongest tendency to portray characters who adopt multicultural identities. Most obvious is Sc henker herself. Despite trying to portray herself as a true female gaucho (in a culture where th e gaucho is always male), Schenker retains her German identity, both physically and culturally. She is always conscious and seemingly proud of her conspicuously blond hair and blue eyes. Inde ed, she does not hesitate to use these to her advantage whenever she needs to. In other words, her persona is neither strictly European nor Argentinean, but a selective mixtur e of both. It is perhaps not surpri sing that the literary work of Robert Schopflocher, who has lived as a German-J ewish-Argentinean for the past seventy years, shows the greatest multicultural pot ential. Although his main characters are never German, the author himself identifies very strongly with hi s German roots in Frth. Whereas Schenker tends to understate her Germanness, Schopflocher goes out of his way, as a writer, to highlight his. His protagonists struggle to find their identities through their negotiati ons of space: Jewish, Argentinean, and even German spaces that must be traversed and challenged. His concentration on the individual struggles of his protagonists, who may live their entire lives in one small space, drives a wedge in the effort to delineate the variou s identities that they (and the author himself) assume. As the European Union expands into Eastern Europe and even beyond the traditional borders of Europe, it seems less and less likely th at the dissolving of national allegiances within member countrieswhich seemed an almost utopian possibility just a few years agowill ever come to pass. Thus the dream of many of th e Germans from the 68er generation, that Germany would finally be defined by its seamless and egalit arian integration with it s neighbors rather than by its shameful history, seems to be a fading possib ility. In light of this stubborn persistence of 168

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169 nationalist sentiment, it becomes increasingly important that literary and filmic expressions of sameness and otherness resist the temptation to ignore the specificity of individual nations (and human beings) in an effort to preempt the danger of nationalism. Instead of attempting to show how were really all the same, we need to find ways to accept the sameness and otherness in both those with whom we identify with those against whom we define ourselves. This would entail an ethical process of othering similar to what Ma ry Canales has called i nclusionary othering, where recognition of difference prompts a reev aluation of self through empathy. Perhaps Uwe Timm himself wrote it best: Allein die Neugier auf das Frem de reicht nicht aus. Die Gier Neues zu sehen und zu hren, garantiert noch keineswegs eine Sichtweise die Verstehen ermglicht. Das setzt etwas Anderes, Grundstzlicheres voraus: das Staunen. Ein Staunen darber, wie die Menschen, wie die Dinge. .anders sein knnen als man se lbst ist. Die Wahrnehmung dieser Differenz erst lsst eine Reflexion der eigenen Wahrnehmung zu and damit die Mglichkeit der eigenen emanzipatorischen Vernderung im Ve rstehen. Ein Verstehen, das sich bemht, die eigene Wahrnehmung als vor lufig und geschichtlich bedingt anzunehmen, also auch sich selbst als fremd und abh ngig zu erfahren, um so den anderen, Fremden in seiner Wrde wahrzunehmen.1 (Das Nahe, das Ferne, 9) Timms formulation not only make s a strong case for an ethical inclusionary othering, it also asserts the othering of the self as not only us eful, but a necessary step in the approach to human understanding. Timms own message of retreat in Der Schlangenbaum then, is perhaps too comprehensive and hurried, as this self-oth ering reflection that Timm rightly prescribes requires contact with Othersnot ju st those inside Germany, but also those in Eastern Europe, the Argentinean frontier, and the remotest Amazonian village. 1 Curiosity for the Other is insufficient in itself. The lust to see and hear new things in no way guarantees a point of view that makes understanding possible. This requires something else, something more fundamental: amazement. An amazement about the ways that people and things can be different from oneself. The perception of this difference permits reflection on ones own perception and with it the possibility of an emancipatory transformation of understanding. An understanding that endeavors to accept ones own perceptio n as provisional and historically determined, and therefore also to experi ence itself as Other and dependent, such that the Other can be perceived in his worthiness [my translation].

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APPENDIX THE MINNESOTA DECLAR ATION (HERZOG 1999) LESSONS OF DARKNESS 1. By dint of declaration the so-called Cinema Ve rit is devoid of verit It reaches a merely superficial truth, the truth of accountants. 2. One well-known representative of Cinema Verit declared publicly that truth can be easily found by taking a camera and trying to be honest. He resembles the night watchman at the Supreme Court who resents the amount of writte n law and legal procedures. For me, he says, there should be only one single law: the bad guys shoul d go to jail. Unfortunately, he is part right, for most of the many, much of the time. 3. Cinema Verit confounds fact and truth, a nd thus plows only stones. And yet, facts sometimes have a strange and bizarre power that makes their inherent truth seem unbelievable. 4. Fact creates norms, and truth illumination. 5. There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and th ere is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization. 6. Filmmakers of Cinema Verit resemble tourists who take pictures amid ancient ruins of facts. 7. Tourism is sin, and travel on foot virtue. 8. Each year at springtime scores of people on snowmobiles crash through the melting ice on the lakes of Minnesota and drown. Pressure is mounting on the new governor to pass a protective law. He, the former wrestler and bodyguard, has the only sage answer to this: You cant legislate stupidity. 9. The gauntlet is hereby thrown down. 10. The moon is dull. Mother Nature doesnt call, doesnt speak to you, although a glacier eventually farts. And dont you listen to the Song of Life. 11. We ought to be grateful that th e Universe out there knows no smile. 12. Life in the oceans must be sheer hell. A vast, merciless hell of permanent and immediate danger. So much of a hell that during evolut ion some speciesincluding mancrawled, fled onto some small continents of solid land, where the Lessons of Darkness continue. 170

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Will Lehman was born in 1968 in Cincinnati, Ohi o. He spent the first ten years of his life in Loveland, Ohio, before moving with his fam ily to Naples, Florida. Upon graduating from Barron Collier High School, Will attended the Un iversity of Florida in Gainesville until 1992, when he completed the Bachelor of Science in business administration with a focus on marketing. After a year in the work force, Will re turned to UF in 1993 to pursue a Master of Arts in German, which he completed in 1997 af ter spending a year in Mannheim, Germany. After completing the masters, Will left the academic world to work for six years at Bloomingdales in West Palm Beach and New Yo rk, where he served as manager, corporate trainer, and database analyst. In 2003, after teachi ng an intensive German course as an adjunct at Hunter College in New York, Will decided to return to UF to complete his PhD in German Studies and pursue an academic career. While earning his PhD, Will had the opportunity to teach in a variety of disciplines at UF, including German, Spanish, and freshman Eng lish composition. At the same time, Will taught both classroom-based and online cour ses as an Adjunct Instructor of German at the University of South Florida in Tampa. His first appointment as Assistant Professor of German is at Western Carolina University.