Luminaries of humanity: angel of death, origin and aura

Bohrer, Habermas, Kluge, Luhmann, the revolution and the aesthetics of terror: at the Book Fair’s critics’ reception, everything is a little different.

Not a critics’ reception, but the professional audience at the Book Fair in Frankfurt Photo: dpa

Klappe, the, I don’t know how many, again is critics’ reception, so at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Wednesday afternoon, Suhrkamp Verlag, Villa Unseld, the inner circle of German literary criticism has come, really young is no one here, that is reassuring and disturbing at the same time, something is very different than usual, perhaps at this point the word caesura must stand.

So something is different than usual. It is not Ulla Unseld-Berkewicz who speaks two sentences in welcome and reads out the names of the Suhrkamp authors present, but the new publisher Jonathan Landgrebe who speaks two sentences and reads out the names of the authors, from his mouth they sound more profane, which is good.

The literary theorist and longtime Merkur editor Karl-Heinz Bohrer reads from his manuscript "Jetzt", he sends his narrator through Paris, makes him think about time. "Jetzt" is the second part of his autobiographical narrative after "Granatsplitter" (2012).

Bohrer meets Habermas, Kluge sets to the "encouraging ‘ja, ja’", Luhmann criticizes: "Is my objection correct that they are only interested in the revolution, but not in what the revolution is about?" Saint-Just, the angel of death of the revolution, speaks without drivel; the guillotine appears as the triumphant site of the subject, but is yet merely mundane compared to the greatest symbol of the eternal, the cross.

No suspense

The most entertaining reading in a long time, Bohrer jumps into his subject and everyone somehow jumps behind, into his old subject: aesthetics of horror, fascination of suddenness and "sheer event form". In the end, though, no arc of suspense: "It was all about the now."

Later Didier Eribon is among the guests, one can observe what can be read in his book "Return to Reims" – about the habitus. Origin, aura, violence, the self in its frame hammers it in my head, while Eribon never puts his knees through. Bohrer takes the space, Eribon seeks a place in it.

We talk about Foucault’s carpet, Foucault’s mother, Foucault’s fourth volume of "Sexuality and Truth," Eribon says outside the leftists ask him what to do, and on TV he doesn’t like himself. He speaks softly.

At the end he says, "now that we are friends," and smiles.