Alla periferia del testo: il paratesto / An der Peripherie des Textes: der Paratext
a cura di / hrsg. v. Emilia Fiandra – Joachim Gerdes
pubblicato il 21.04.2022
This bilingual introductory essay aims to demonstrate the complex and multifaceted nature of the use of paratext in German literature and language. In the first part, Emilia Fiandra sets out the literary framework within which the various critical essays in this fourth issue of the «Studi Germanici. Quaderni dell’AIG» seek to investigate this question. The special focus of these literary articles brought together in the present volume is on the preface, alongside other paratextual elements such as the cover and its various appendices. In the second part, Joachim Gerdes gives a synopsis of the main topics addressed in the linguistic essays featured in this issue. These cover areas that range from lexicography, journalism and legal texts to oral, multimedia and other types of paratexts, extending the gamut of perspectives on this subject to include a number of relevant non-literary features.
The essay deals with Schnabel’s Vorrede to his Insel Felsenburg (1731, Engl. Transl.: Palisades Island). This paratext is seen in connection with the Titelblatt and the Advertissement, which concludes the first part of the novel, as well as with Daniel Defoe’s preface to his Robinson Crusoe (1719). The aim of this essay is to characterize the features of Schnabel’s Vorrede within the context of the 18th-century practice of preface-writing while exploring the role it plays in the debate ensued in the 18th century about the novel as a genre. In particular, the essay focuses on two aspects which make Schnabel’s Vorrede very peculiar if compared to contemporary prefaces: first of all, it does not emphasize the moral teaching of the story; secondly, although it discusses the issue of the reliability of the narration, it does not presume to offer a ‘true’ story. In fact, the author of the preface brings into play the concept of ‘Lusus Ingenii’, thus anticipating essential issues of the future theory of the novel.
The present paper aims to investigate the role that the preface as peritext plays in 18th-century German-language travel writings through the analysis of Georg Forster’s preface to his Reise um die Welt (1777, English Transl: Voyage Around the World). Georg Forster and his father took part in James Cook’s second voyage around the world (1772-1775) with the task of describing the journey. When they returned to England, Foster’s father was prohibited from writing this narrative, so the young Georg decided to describe the journey in his place and published it six weeks before Cook’s official report. A year later he translated his work into German. The preface of the German edition is interesting in many ways: Forster wrote it following the fashion of the time, when the preface was a binding part of the work. In this preface, he explains his ideas and how the work was conceived, while putting himself and his work on the scientific map of his time.
In the correspondence between Goethe and Schiller, many letters – private epitexts according to Genette (Seuils) – focus on engravings for magazine covers («Horen», «Musen-Almanach», «Propyläen»). The link between the chosen images and the contents of the periodicals, the format and quality of the reproductions, the type of paper used, printing costs, become decisive factors in the design of these magazines and offer interesting insights into the authorial epitexts. The essay investigates, in addition to the letters, Goethe’s and Schiller’s theatrical works; their authorial epitexts can be read as a philosophical manifesto of German Classicism, and their reinterpretation in this perspective, and in connection with other paratexts, may help to reconstruct a more dynamic and livelier image of Weimar Classicism than that which has been consolidated in the canonized ‘iconography’.
Starting from the TweetUp experiment organised by some German theatres between 2012 and 2014, the paper examines these generated tweets as a specific form of multimedia digital paratext. They have a very particular relationship with the original work (the staging, but also the underlying subtext) and the audience, i.e., they move between the realms of performance and reception of literature. The analysis focuses on tweets from the staging of Friedrich Hebbel’s Nibelungen (1861) and Jean Paul’s Flegeljahre (1805). From a methodological point of view, these tweets – which can still be seen on the Twitter platform – question Genette’s theory of epitexts and peritexts, suggesting the use of new theoretical approaches. They remodernise Brechtian dramaturgy within a changed landscape. Indeed, Tweetup revives the idea that there is a close dialectical relationship between the performance on stage and the audience in the auditorium, but with a bottom-up approach, since the emotional detachment of the spectator that Brecht pursued, in the post-digital era is no longer achieved through a precise authorial intention, but through texts and images tweeted by the audience.
In the 19th century, the production of German-Italian dictionaries flourished and important standards for modern bilingual lexicography were set. The paper examines the paratexts of the largest dictionaries of that period: Jagemann (1790-1791), Filippi (1817), Valentini (1831-1836), Feller (1855), Michaelis (1879-1881) and Rigutini – Bulle (1895-1900). As the analysis of the various text types that constitute those paratexts shows, the dictionaries differ significantly as regards the presence and the extent of certain elements such as the preface, lists of abbreviations and sources, grammar tables, or lists of proper names. The study focuses on the prefaces in an attempt to better understand which elements constitute them, before pointing out some peculiarities of Valentini’s dictionary. In conclusion, this article summarizes the statements that the paratexts allow us to make about 19th-century bilingual lexicography.
The article, based on paratextual features of German-language Dada magazines, illustrates the alphabetical-optical evolution that led to the emergence of the new typography in the 1920s. In particular, from a corpus of German-language covers that are particularly representative of Dada works (1. Covers of German-language Dada magazines), a number of emblematic examples are analysed in order to show the following: the theoretical premises of the new version of the language sign (2. Abstract art: theoretical premises in Zurich); the experiments of the Berlin title pages with collage and photomontage (3. Poetics of chance); the development of Dada-poetics in Hanover through the magazine «Merz» featuring the results of previous experiments and the definition of the new typography as a discipline (4. Typography in power).
Starting from Genette’s theoretical reflections on paratextuality, this article intends to analyse, in a diachronic perspective, some strategies employed by Suhrkamp in the creation of visual peritexts – in particular cover designs –, with the aim of highlighting its progressive shift from a position of intellectual pre-eminence in the German literary field (well summarized by George Steiner’s idea of a «Suhrkamp-Kultur») towards the so-called «Mittelbereich», where the sub-field of restricted production and that of mass production meet and the market value tends to overcome the symbolic and cultural worth both of the texts themselves and of the publishing house. To demonstrate these changes, we will focus our attention on two prominent Suhrkamp-series – the «Bibliothek Suhrkamp» (est. 1950) and the «edition suhrkamp» (est. 1963); by providing practical examples of the visual peritextual strategies employed in the beginning, we will attempt to show how these series helped to create the public image of Suhrkamp as a bastion of German progressive culture in the second half of the 20th century. We will then move on to analyse some of the contemporary editorial practices concerning these series which ‘visually’ testify to Suhrkamp’s shift from an avant-garde position in the literary field to a more heterogeneous and market-driven one, whereby the original meaning and values of the series and those of the publishing house itself are being gradually effaced.
The status of the translator, especially in the publishing field, has changed greatly over the last century. Initially an invisible and anonymous figure, today translators have gained status as second authors of the translated works. Their names now appear on the title page of books under the author’s name and title, thus denoting a historical evolution with clear social implications. This paper delves into these changes that have come about gradually after WWII, taking into account, on the one hand, the development of translation studies, and on the other, the appearance of the translator’s name in the paratext (when mentioned), before tracing the various stages of the path towards recognition and awareness of this profession. The examples taken from German literature books translated into Italian prove that the path described has not been linear or smooth. In fact, it is still an evolving reality.
In addition to his novels and reportages, Christoph Ransmayr began a parallel production at the end of the nineties: narratives, theatre texts, a picture story, a monologue disguised as an interview, award speeches and other literary short forms. What ties all of these texts together is the poetic, sometimes ironic, then again polemical writing style of these «playful forms of narration», which finds a correlation in the graphic dimension. The white hardcover volumes published by S. Fischer Verlag, averaging about eighty pages, stand out due to their special format (13×22 cm) and the refined choice of the title illustrations linked to their respective text. The narrative element is predominant, while the significant metaliterary, poetological reflections mostly run beneath the surface of the text in a sceptical, self-deprecating, playful form. Finally, political, historical and cosmological thoughts become increasingly relevant, so that the «White Series», so clearly marked in a paratextual manner, becomes an indispensable addition to Ransmayr’s oeuvre in this respect as well.
The striking layout of Benjamin Stein’s novel Die Leinwand (Engl. Transl.: The Canvas) which has no front and back cover but two front covers, deliberately breaks with the conventions of the peritext and thus irritates the reader. Only gradually does the reader understand that the volume contains two separate stories, each beginning on one side and meeting in the middle, which the reader is supposed to read sequentially or simultaneously, switching from one to the other. In other words, the peritext suggests that this novel is a hypertext in which the authorial function tends to disappear, whereas the reader is assigned a productive role in generating meaning. This idea is then further reinforced in a new form of epitext, i.e., on Stein’s literary blog «Turmsegler». Although the blog provides a form of communication that is interactive by definition, the role of the reader remains rather passive, while the author, declared dead in the peritext, celebrates his return. Not only is he always present with his posts, but he also embarks on a game to confuse the reader, not only about the facts and fictions of the narrative but also about his own constructed identity.
This paper focuses on the relationship between cover image, epigraphs and prologue in the novel Das Floß der Meduse (En. Transl.: The Raft of the Medusa) by the Austrian writer Franzobel. It deals with the various intersemiotic aspects of the novel and the way in which the construction of the sense of the written text is realised on a functional linguistic level, while proposing a model of interpretation. Indeed, the use of multimedia intertextuality is a narrative strategy which, in the era of multimodal communication, is increasingly present. In the case of complex texts such as postmodern novels, a category this work by Franzobel belongs to, inferential relations are often extended in terms of intertextuality to visual repertoires, which inevitably also influences the translation approach. The most recent literature has led us to reflect on the complex role of images or other synaesthetic elements in the construction of meaning and on how the linguistic-textual analysis of a literary work in the presence of these elements may be approached.
Christian Kracht’s paratexts constantly oscillate between originality and smart market strategies. While his epitexts mostly have an irritating effect, his peritexts often complete the semantic dimension of his texts and become understandable only in connection to them. His new novel Eurotrash puts the reader in front of a particularly complex paratext: How should the title be understood? What is the meaning of the cover image, of the dedication and the epigraphs? The back cover contains a truly clever, half-true quotation of Handke’s (a brilliant PR strategy) and a brief text of Kehlmann’s, whose name often recurs in the novel and represents a bridge between the text and his paratext. Not least, a brief note in the imprint claims the fictionality of the whole story. Not only does it have the function to protect the author against possible plaintiffs, but it also amplifies the strong (meta)fictional ambivalence of the novel and the unreliability of the narrator.
The paper focuses on the peritext and epitext of the Bundesteilhabegesetz (‘Federal Participation Act’), which regulates the right to participation in society by people with disabilities in Germany. The peritext consists of the titles of the Act (long title, short title, and an abbreviation) and of the titles of its components. The epitext includes a) legal lexicons and dictionaries and generalist dictionaries in German and b) a corpus of texts in German, which, in turn, is divided into two subcorpora: a subcorpus of newspaper articles (2015-2021) created through the Dow Jones Factiva database, and a subcorpus of texts from the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Based on the hypothesis that the epitext reduces the complexity of the peritext and, at the same time, passes evaluative judgements on the law, the aims of this analysis are: to describe the complexity of the peritext from a structural, functional, and morphosyntactic point of view; to investigate the meanings of the most relevant terms (Teilhabe and Menschen mit Behinderungen) in dictionaries, and to see how the three titles of the Act are scattered in different text types and which aspects are highlighted in the words that occur together with them. The analysis also makes some observations on the Italian terms partecipazione and persone con disabilità.
In the last fifty years, the empirical analysis of spoken language and conversation has attracted considerable research attention. Based on data from exams held in German, the aim of this paper is to examine the retroactive and projective operations that underlie the implementation of self-initiated and other-initiated repairs. On the one hand, the paper will provide a description of the form and function of the most frequently occurring repairs in this communicative genre, while on the other hand, it will determine the structural and functional differences in the employment of repair forms and repair markers among both native and non-native German speakers.
Ultimo aggiornamento 22 Aprile 2022 a cura di Luisa Giannandrea