Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Menasse's Venice: City of Metamorphosis

Menasse's Venice: City of Metamorphosis

Ratings: (0)|Views: 14|Likes:
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Kerstina Mortensen. Originally submitted for TSM History of Art and German , with lecturer Dr. Peter Arnds in the category of Modern Cultural Studies
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Kerstina Mortensen. Originally submitted for TSM History of Art and German , with lecturer Dr. Peter Arnds in the category of Modern Cultural Studies

More info:

Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
See more
See less

10/27/2013

 
Menasse‟s Venice – 
City of Metamorphosis
Menasse’
s Venice
 – 
City of MetamorphosisAbstract
[428 Words]
 
The purpose of this study is to the examination of Venice as a city of metamorphosis,
in which Leo, protagonist of Robert Menasse‟s 1991 novel
Selige Zeiten, brüchige
 
Welt 
, undergoes a
transformation of character after falling into one of the city‟s canals. While this single episode
, after
which Leo loses his „petrified‟ stoicism
in favour of Venetian virility and release of anger, serves asthe epicentre of the investigation, its aftershocks are also of utmost significance to the personaldevelopment of Leo, culminating in the post-coital poem for Judith. Here he employs mythological,biblical and explicit sexual imagery to convey his subscription to the metamorphosis.The concept of Venice as a carnivalesque city is explored, with its roots in the RomanSaturnalia and inherent association with Dionysian licentiousness and intoxication, during whichsocietal norms and barriers are removed to feel untied and blended with fellow humans. Carnality is akey concept, as derived from the etymology from the Italian,
carnelevale
. The Venetian episode is
 particularly evocative of Bakhtin‟s theory of the carnivalesque
(
and Nietzsche‟s
Apollonian/Dionysian duality; both of these theories are
analysed parallel to Menasse‟s text initially,
but then intersect it, revealing overlaps of thought within the three texts. The carnivalesque elementsare evident to the canal episode; the manner in which he falls is perhaps the most carnivalesque of all,
in relation to Bakhtin‟s ideas on the importance of laughter in literature. Dropping into the water like
a sack, he references the oafish, awkward behaviour of the fool, as well as the role reversal in terms of hierarchic levels; the Leo the intellectual and Hegel-scholar exchanges places with the clown as in thefeast of fools and other folk festivals.
The events leading up to the Judith and Leo‟s sex
scene aretypically carnivalesque and Dionysian in that they are fuelled by alcohol, food and chaos.Shedding the old skin of Vienna that petrified his mind and body, he is able to express hisdesires and feel like a new person; in this sense, Venice is personified in the text and seems to reachout to Leo in the various guises of alcohol, the canals, the heat, and his libido to lead him into theDionysian world of feasting and the carnivalesque which are the very essence of the city. The canal
 
[2]
water which cleansed him of his previous self also baptises his metamorphosis. In the blending of 
Bakhtin‟s
 
theory of the carnivalesque in literature with Nietzsche‟s idea of the Dionysian, as
antonymous of Apollo, Menasse creates for his character Leo a personal and ultimately destructiveUtopia.
Menasse’s Venice – 
City of Metamorphosis
Word Count: 2,627 
I. HypothesisII. Venice as a Carnivalesque CityIII. Leo Arrives in VeniceIV. The Canal EpisodeV. MetamorphosisVI. Dionysus and Post-Coital PoetryVII. ConclusionVIII. Bibliography
I. Hypothesis
The hypothesis of this essay is the examination of Venice as a city of metamorphosis,in which Leo, protagonist of Robert Menasse
‟s
1991 novel
Selige Zeiten, brüchige
 
Welt 
, undergoes atransformation
of character after falling into one of the city‟s canals
. While this single episode servesas the epicentre of the investigation, its aftershocks are also of utmost significance to the personaldevelopment of Leo, which culminate in the poem he writes for Judith. The Venetian episode isparticularly
evocative of Bakhtin‟s theory of the carnivalesque
and
 Nietzsche‟s
Apollonian/Dionysian
duality; therefore both of these theories will be analysed parallel to Menasse‟s text initially, but then
will intersect it, revealing overlaps of thought within the three texts.
 
[3]
II. Venice as a Carnivalesque City
Some general observations on the perception of Venice are in order to begin with, so thatthe scene may be set for
Leo, Judith and Lukas‟ sojourn.
Irrespective of context, the very utterance of 
Venice
has the extraordinary capacity to evoke and imply imagery of the carnival. This festive period
has retained its Roman Saturnalia roots as a time of “universal renewal” and an opportunity tosuspend the “official way of life”
1
, particularly in regard to social ranking, and hence opened the path
to the “utopian realm of community, freedom, equality and abundance”.
2
The most well-knowncharacteristic of the carnival is naturally the masquerade; the concealment of identity allows for socialconventions to be flouted in a Dionysian ecstasy of intoxication and licentiousness. Just as socially
constructed barriers are removed, so are those between fellow humans, so that one feels “united,reconciled, blended with [one‟s] neighbour”
3
. The hedonism of the carnival is revealed in itsetymology (the Italian
carnelevale
, lit. the raising/removal of meat during Lent) and its relation tocarnality and the appetites of the flesh. These elements of metamorphosis, renewal and decadence aredepicted by Menasse via
Leo‟s experiences in Venice; the trip itself is characterised by eating,
drinking, copulation, growth and birth (in a metaphorical sense), all of which define the satyric dramaof life and apply not only to the individual but to humanity as a whole
4
. He can be viewed as staid and
versteinerte
as a Viennese man, but the change he undergoes in Venice brings him back to his familiarsurroundings of São Paulo, also a carnivalesque city (the difference being that of nature (Vienna)versus nurture(São Paulo)), the place of his birth and development and hence makes a return to hisPrimordial Self.
1
Mikhail Bakhtin, trans. Helene Iswolsky,
Rabelais and His World 
, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984)p. 8
2
Mikhail Bakhtin, trans. Helene Iswolsky,
Rabelais and His World 
, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984)p. 9
3
Friedrich Nietzsche, trans. Clifton P. Fadiman,
The Birth of Tragedy 
(New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1995)p. 4
4
Mikhail Bakhtin, trans. Helene Iswolsky,
Rabelais and His World 
, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,1984), p. 88

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->