By Michael Mack
While many different post-Holocaust Jewish thinkers - together with Derrida - have targeting a refusal of totality and party of 'otherness', the poet and highbrow Franz Baermann Steiner (1909-1952) combines this emphasis with an equivalent pressure at the 'need' for definite jointly said limits. subsequent to the broader importance of this e-book for discussions of Holocaust experiences when it comes to present theoretical and social matters, it is going to additionally supply a brand new interpretation of Elias Canetti's paintings. this can be the 1st precise exam of Steiner's anthropology and philosophy and its relation to the paintings of his shut highbrow pal Canetti.
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Additional info for Anthropology as Memory: Elias Canetti’s and Franz Baermann Steiner’s Responses to the Shoah
It therefore also goes hand in hand with the helplessness of the object about which one laughs; and it follows from this that laughter paradoxically expresses through delight the capability of one man to kill another. The people who are laughed at do not have the power to defend themselves: they could be easy targets for a real, physical assault, and afterwards their flesh could serve as a meal. 1) Instead of serving as a meal, the victims of laughter offer food for the intellectual hunger of the one who laughs.
See Richard H. Lawson: Understanding Elias Canetti. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press 1991 (Understanding Modern European and Latin American Literature), p. 74 30 Part I: Elias Canetti - Anthropology as Literature century history, Canetti and Steiner became distrustful of historians and their notion of history. «70 Canetti's dislike of the academic discipline »history« highlights his general critical attitude toward standard notions of scholarship: scholarship, in its positivist form is, to some extent, utterly powerless to oppose man's brutality; instead of erecting its own value-system, it adopts that of those who are powerful; those who have got the political power to impose their notion of humanity upon the socially and politically powerless.
Canetti in fact does nothing else but unveil these suppressed animalistic drives which come to the fore in the act of laughing. For laughter, as Canetti writes in the passage from Crowds and Power cited above, is a symbolic act that supplants the physical one of eating. Yet, as the passage of The Torch in My Ear suggests, the aggressive force is no less violent in the symbolic act than it was in the physical one; indeed, Canetti discovers that the content of Kraus's writings has no importance whatever; what counts is their rhetorical force only, which in turn becomes translated into the corporeal through the meal-imagery: in the end, Kraus, and the intellectual position for which he stands, has no meaning.