Abstract

Abstract:

This paper offers a new analysis of Ingeborg Bachmann's writing of trauma in light of her engagement with Wittgenstein's later philosophy of language. Reading Malina through the lens of Philosophische Untersuchungen, the article argues that language itself is of paramount importance in granting legitimacy to traumatic experiences. When pain is inflicted by dominant powers, social censure and self-censorship can render the requisite language and grammar for trauma taboo or even nonexistent. My reading reveals multi-layered language games in Malina to conclude that one of the most destructive aspects of trauma occurs through silencing, i.e., when language becomes impossible. The paper shows how passages playing with language in a Wittgensteinian manner reveal the philosophical category as equally important to aesthetic and social-critical dimensions and serve to enhance our understanding of Malina as a literary work.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2327-1809
Print ISSN
2165-669X
Pages
pp. 1-25
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-12
Open Access
No
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