Abstract

After sketching some of the historical and theoretical developments in the eighteenth-century crisis of fatherhood, "Kleist and the Resurrection of the Father" reads three Kleist novellas, The Marquise of O . . ., The Earthquake of Chili, and The Foundling, as companion pieces that expose the radically destabilized nature of paternity at the close of the eighteenth century. Arguing that Kleist's fathers are caught in the tension of bios and nomos, the essay demonstrates how documents and bodies undermine each others' claims to establish paternity. Precisely because all attempts to ground fatherhood biologically, metaphysically, ethically, or politically fail on some level, none of them can emerge as dominant, and all of them survive their own delegitimization. In consequence, Kleistian fatherhood exists in a strange realm of Ungleichzeitigkeit, the state of non-synchronicity Ernst Bloch defined as the simultaneous existence of historically distinct ideologies within a shared but non-identical "now."

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 69-89
Launched on MUSE
2003-10-07
Open Access
No
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