The Contribution of Literature to the Composition of a "common world": Marlen Haushofer's "The Wall" and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's "Minotaurus"


  • Aurélie Choné Université de Strasbourg



common world, literature, humans, non-humans, nature/culture, ecocriticism, The Wall, Haushofer, Minotaurus, Dürrenmatt


In the context of the current environmental crisis and Covid-19 pandemic, as it is becoming increasingly urgent to “rethink the relationships between human and non-human beings” (Philippe Descola), this paper offers a comparative reading of two works of German-language literature, both published, within a space of twelve years, during the Cold War: Die Wand (1963) by Austrian writer Marlen Haushofer and Minotaurus: Eine Ballade (1985) by Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt. In these two narratives, I will focus on the way communities are made and unmade, on what Marielle Macé has defined as “the grammar of attachments”. How do words, especially personal pronouns, convey the process by which beings connect one to the other, and are the connections made solid and harmonious ones? Do these two works manage to give rise to a community of living, human and non-human entities? This paper will examine the role of literature in building “a common world” (Bruno Latour), asking whether the scripts outlined in the two books can raise “active hope” (Joanna Macy) and what they teach us about the history of the concept of nature in a time of great environmental change.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Aurélie Choné, Université de Strasbourg

Aurélie Choné is a Professor in German Studies at the Institute of German Studies within the Faculty of Languages, University of Strasbourg, France. She is Head of the research team "German-speaking and North European Worlds”, Editor of the international academic peer-reviewed journal Recherches germaniques and Director of the Master’s Program “German-speaking worlds in the European space: literatures, cultures, politics”. Her main research fields center on German-speaking literature, the history of ideas and cultural history, Cultural transfers between East and West, Literature and Space, Nature-Culture relations, Ecocriticism, Literary and Cultural Animal Studies, and the Environmental Humanities.





Articles: General Section