Kanichiro Omiya (University of Tokyo)
Fellow in Research Area 3: "Future Perfect"
Temporalization of the Literary Space around 1900
Around 1900, temporalization (Verzeitlichung), a term coined by Reinhard Koselleck to designate the takeoff of the lifeworld in the late 18th century from the tradition-bound "realm of experience" to the modern "horizon of expectation", took on a new aspect. Through the increase in mobility, the growth of the city population, economic fluctuation and the introduction of (then) new media like the telephone, the gramophone and cinematography, time not only accelerated but was also altered in its relationship to the lifeworld. Contrary to 1800, the 'horizon of experience', which emerged as the retrogressive lifeworld construction, was incessantly excluded and redirected back into the past by the new standard of the 'realm of expectation'. Challenged by this transformation of temporalization, literature of the 1900s began to represent time in a more complex manner, aiming to trace the experience receding from the present and rebuild the slipping mirage of experience into its enclosed realm again. The philologist and poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal offers a good example of this occurrence. Quite aware of the historical trial on the European scale, von Hofmannsthal attempted to (re)organize the horizon of literature (Schrifttum) into the virtual but substantial 'spiritual realm' (geistigen Raum). Beginning with his Munich lecture of 1927, Das Schrifttum als geistiger Raum der Nation, in which he gave an outline of the paradoxical temporality of literature, this project investigates the reverse of temporality as the emergence of the literary experience around 1900, using the works of highly media-conscious authors such as Walter Benjamin, Hermann Broch and Robert Musil, who contributed to the (de)construction of the literary realm without being tempted by the substitutional cult of corporeal experience (Erlebnis) of nostalgic neoromanticism.
Kanichiro Omiya is Professor of German Literature at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology of the University of Tokyo. His research area spans from the Goethe era to German Classical Modern literature and thoughts. He is the author of Benjamin's Thoroughfare (bennyamin no tsuukouro), co-author of Heinrich von Kleist—The Literature Concerning the Political (hainrihhi fon kurauisuto—seijiteki narumono wo meguru bungaku), co-editor of Figuren der Transgressiven. Das Ende und der Gast, Japanese translator of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werther and Iphigenie auf Tauris, and co-translator of Friedrich Kittler's Aufschreibesysteme 1800・1900.