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Title: Thomas Kling : a poet in the late Bonn Republic
Author: Jessula Wczesniak, Helene
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 4554
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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This dissertation looks at Thomas Kling’s poetry in the context of the late Bonn Republic. While several studies have already investigated how Kling created history in his poetry, they rarely discussed how he himself was exposed to it. Thus, one of the main objectives of the following dissertation is to scrutinise Kling’s own historicisations and to expose the underlying assumptions of his version of the past and their rootedness in the current cultural climate. While many studies have echoed the opposition that Kling himself created between his poetry and that of the 1970s, this dissertation focusses on continuities instead. For this purpose, it looks at the history of the late Bonn Republic and West German poetry after 1945 in terms of changing emotional styles. The dissertation shows how Kling’s early poetry in the late 1970s was rooted in the emotional practices of the alternative Left (part I) and how their political and ecological concerns continued to resonate with his poetry in the following decade (part II). The question is how Kling went beyond the narrow concept of authenticity imposed by the alternative scene’s emotional style and which role models were available for his new self-stylisation (part III). While Kling’s poetry in the 1980s revealed authenticity and history as fundamentally unstable concepts that resulted from a set of culturally and historically determined practices (part IV), his poetry in the 1990s returned to more conservative and hierarchical models of history and authenticity characterised by modernist nostalgia (part V). Kling’s investment in an idealised version of the avant-garde and European modernity thus led to a limited version of the past that erased memories of German colonialism and its continuities with the First World War and the Holocaust.
Supervisor: Morgan, Ben Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Modern Languages (German)