The World Unspoken: Kleist, Kafka, McCarthy

Comparative Literature Luncheon Series
Apr 06, 2015
12:15 PM to 01:30 PM
102 Kern

Dr. Ian Fleishman, University of Pennsylvania

This talk will interrogate the tension between the spoken, or the written, word and the world of the ineffable through three brief and enigmatic visions of horses in the works of Heinrich von Kleist, Franz Kafka and Cormac McCarthy. Exposing and exploding the limits of language and the limits of the human, these three authors long for a world unspoken: not merely an unspoken world or a world unspeakable, but rather an imagined paradise that is urgently and actively unspoken, undone by the very language that would otherwise describe it. It is through this unspeaking, through the casting off of the constraints of language, that Kleist, Kafka and McCarthy attempt an opening unto the noumenal, that the necessity of saying transcends itself and is transformed into an ecstasy of being.

Ian Fleishman is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his PhD in French and German Literature at Harvard in 2013 and has since revised his dissertation into a book manuscript titled An Aesthetics of Injury: The Narrative Wound from Baudelaire to Tarantino. He has published in The German Quarterly, French Studies, The Journal of Austrian Studies and elsewhere on subjects ranging from the Baroque to contemporary cinema.

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