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Geordnete Spontaneität. Lyrische Subjektivität bei Achim von Arnim.
Von Jan Oliver Jost-Fritz. Heidelberg: Winter, 2014. 267 Seiten + 5 s/w Abbildungen. €44,00.

Jan Oliver Jost-Fritz has written a stimulating book about Achim von Arnim’s lyrical subjectivity. He carefully analyzes and dissects the primary texts to demonstrate “dass sich Arnims Lyrik als eine Art Phänomenologie der Subjektivität um 1800 lesen lässt” (247). His thesis provides the reader with a new approach that differs from Ulfert Ricklefs’s and Thomas Sternberg’s interpretations, which claim that Arnim leans toward neglecting subjectivity. Jost-Fritz does not disagree with them that these elements do in fact exist in Arnim’s work, but his objective is to show that Arnim’s aim was to investigate the different types of the ego in the poems. Jost-Fritz convincingly states: “Das heißt, dass interpretatorische Ansätze zu Arnims Lyrik den wesentlichen Konstitutionsaspekt lyrischer Subjektivität verfehlen, wenn sie versuchen, das Werk auf die Genesis der modernen Subjektivität zu beziehen; das gilt zumindest, wenn diese Genesis entlang der Leitdifferenz von Rationalität und Emotionalität beschrieben wird” (247). The book is divided into the following five chapters: 1) “Arnims Lyrik: Umrisse einer Poetik”; 2) “Selbstbehauptung und Transzendenz”; 3) “Psychologie, Subjektivität und Erlösung”; 4) “Bildung und Apotheose. Arnims Sonette”; 5) “Subjektkonstitution zwischen Himmel und Erde.”

The first chapter is the most comprehensive and detailed since it discusses subjectivity as a perspective and focuses on the thesis “dass Arnims Lyrik als Reflexion über die Erscheinungsweisen des Ichs für sich selbst und für andere unter poetischen Rahmenbedingungen gelesen werden kann” (9). Jost-Fritz clarifies that it is not about the ego versus the world of the non-ego but rather about the development of the ego in the world. He goes on to discuss how Arnim’s poetry is located between [End Page 127] the heart and the brain since it neither solely elicits emotions nor reason. Arnim’s romantic language theory is also addressed, according to which poetry and reality are in a dialogical process since poetry is not a one-sided Allegorisierung. The author states, “[i]ndem sie die Wirklichkeit hervorbringt, hat sie auch die Möglichkeit, Wirklichkeit zu verändern” (26). So poetry is an active part of the world and possesses the power to change reality if composed effectively.

Ecstasy and non-subjectivity as well as metaphors and poetic control are the main themes of Chapter Two. Jost-Fritz skillfully shows how these themes are relevant in Arnim’s work by picking the poem “Waldgeschrey” and interpreting it. One of the main themes of German Romanticism is brought up here which is how important it is for the individual to become one with nature due to the process initiating Entrück-ungen and Ekstasen ending with the lyrical ego vanishing in the leaves of the forest. The forest is an alternative to reality, a place where the ego can develop freely without having to be concerned about being judged and criticized. “In der Welt, so lässt sich diese verdichtete Raumsemantik lesen, muss das Ich eine Rolle spielen, weil seine wahre Identität, sein authentisches Selbst, von den anderen als ‘thörigt’ bewertet würde” (82). Jost-Fritz makes sure to point out that the poem is not just about the comparison of subjective autonomy and gesellschaftlicher Normierung but also about the close connection of language and physiology.

Chapter Three focuses on psychology, subjectivity, and salvation. This is in my opinion the most fascinating chapter since Jost-Fritz does an excellent job of doing a close reading of the selected poems to support his theses. His objective is to place Arnim’s lyric poetry in the context of romantic psychology. There are two dimensions of significant meaning: “die Tiefe / das Innere als der metaphorische Raum des Wissens von der psychischen Untergründigkeit des Ichs sowie die Zeit als die Anschauungsform, in der sich die individuellen Lebensläufe und ihre psychischen Dispositionen vollziehen” (94). In the Romanzen we are made aware of Arnim being more interested in a social diagnosis than a social critique. It becomes...


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