Theodor Lessing (1872–1933) is remembered today principally as an essay writer, but in fact he began his career as a poet and novelist, and also tried for several years to become a university professor. The almost involuntary ‘crooked trajectory’ that led him to write some major essays on German politics and society in the twenties, gives us a chance to observe the conditions that facilitated and influenced the production of essays in his time. From 1910, Lessing turned away from literature and developed a personal essay style, beginning with his satire “Samuel zieht die Bilanz”, which ridiculed what he called the ‘literary addiction’ of the literary critic Samuel Lublinski. The essay provoked a strong reaction from Thomas Mann, who had then undertaken to increase the symbolic importance of literature and of literary professionals in German society. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of fields of cultural production, and on Christine Magerski’s reconstruction of the genesis and structure of the literary field in Germany, this article attempts to shed light on some of the social battles out of which the modern figure of the writer was born.

Theodor Lessings schiefe Laufbahn vom Dichter zum Publizisten

michele sisto
2010

Abstract

Theodor Lessing (1872–1933) is remembered today principally as an essay writer, but in fact he began his career as a poet and novelist, and also tried for several years to become a university professor. The almost involuntary ‘crooked trajectory’ that led him to write some major essays on German politics and society in the twenties, gives us a chance to observe the conditions that facilitated and influenced the production of essays in his time. From 1910, Lessing turned away from literature and developed a personal essay style, beginning with his satire “Samuel zieht die Bilanz”, which ridiculed what he called the ‘literary addiction’ of the literary critic Samuel Lublinski. The essay provoked a strong reaction from Thomas Mann, who had then undertaken to increase the symbolic importance of literature and of literary professionals in German society. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of fields of cultural production, and on Christine Magerski’s reconstruction of the genesis and structure of the literary field in Germany, this article attempts to shed light on some of the social battles out of which the modern figure of the writer was born.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/710443
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