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Christian Kiening

The Middle Ages of Modernity

Rilke – Pound – Borchardt

195 pages, 10 illustrations
Format: 12 x 19
ISBN 978-3-8353-1505-1

A look at the way literature deals with the past in the aesthetics of the modern age, on the example of three authors.

The aesthetic modern age of the early 20th century does not simply break with the past; it experiments with models of complex temporality. This includes making reference to the Middle Ages in a way that is neither purely selective in character nor instrumentalises the past. Here, interest is directed at a specific mix of the contemporary and the antiquated, differing from that which directly concerns us in an aesthetic sense (Renaissance) and that which belongs to the general reservoir of educational history (Antiquity). Kiening shows us what the works of Rilke, Pound and Borchart, all written at around the same time, have in common: they attempt to transform modernity in itself, enriching it through references to the past.

The Series

The manner in which the past is dealt with gives rise to fundamental questions: is there a basic principle of meaning that prevails throughout history? Is it conceivable that a fullness and unity of time exists? Do literature and art have the possibility of allowing such a fullness to emerge? The series »Figura« provides answers using new approaches.

The author and editor of the series

Christian Kiening, born in 1962, is a professor of older German literature at the University of Zurich. He is the director of the National Centre of Competence in Research »Mediality. Historical Per- spectives«. Publications include: Der absolute Film (The Absolute Film, ed., 2012); Mystische Bücher (Mystical Books, 2011); Urszenen des Medialen (Primal Scenes in Media, with Ulrich Johannes Beil, 2012).