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Inconceivable EffectsEthics through Twentieth-Century German Literature, Thought, and Film$
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Martin Blumenthal-Barby

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801478123

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801478123.001.0001

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A Politics of Enmity

A Politics of Enmity

Müller’s Germania Death in Berlin

(p.151) 7 A Politics of Enmity
Inconceivable Effects

Martin Blumenthal-Barby

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes Heiner Müller’s play, Germania Death in Berlin, which consists of thirteen miscellaneously interrelated scenes. The play creates a certain politics of enmity—a politics whose poetic itinerary has neither an evident beginning nor an end. What the play presents is a kind of humor that Müller selects from the difference between the literal and the figurative meanings of words and phrases. It is from the fluctuating dynamic between laughter and death, humor and fright, that a moment of the absurd emerges, not with a sense of historical nihilism but rather with respect to a peculiar beyond, a moment of horror characteristic of the theater of Heiner Müller.

Keywords:   Heiner Müller, theatre, Germania Death in Berlin, politics of enmity, literal meaning, figurative meaning, nihilism

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