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A Spatial Reading of Ilse Aichinger's Novel ;Die größere Hoffnung’ -

The current contribution of literary scholarship to an understanding of spatiality and meaning within Ilse Aichinger’s writings in general, and Die größere Hoffnung in particular, is long overdue. As Peter Härtling pointed out in 1980: “Ilse Aichingers Roman hat lange, allzulange auf uns gewartet. Er ist […] so geduldig wie seine Autorin”.
Gail Wiltshire’s text examines a wide range of aspects of meaning, symbolism and spatial discourse under the following rubrics:

– space and time
– space and heterotopia
– space and memory
– (auto-)biographical space

As theoretical underpinnings she incorporates a number of hypotheses by contemporary cultural theorists. She refers to M.M. Bakhtin’s concept of “chronotopicity”, that is, “time space” in The Dialogic Imagination (1981), and Michel Foucault’s treatise on heterotopic otherness in “Different Spaces” (1967) and Discipline and Punish. The Birth of the Prison (1975). Furthermore, she draws on Aleida Assmann’s theory of memory outlined in Cultural Memory and Western Civilisation (1999) to interrogate the nexus between space and memory in Aichinger’s novel. Finally, Foucault’s seminal discourse “What Is an Author?” (1969) contributes to an analysis of (auto-)biographical space. The application of the theories of Bakhtin, Foucault, and Assmann to this novel breaks new ground.
In addition to exploring further salient perspectives by the French anthropologist Marc Augé in Non-Places. An Introduction to Supermodernity (1992), the concepts of Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space (1958) underscore an investigation of the symbols of memory determining the spatial dimension of.
Apart from a detailed reading of Aichinger’s novel, this volume also includes interviews with individuals who are close to Aichinger, personally and professionally: Helga Michie née Aichinger, Ruth and Hugh Rix, Dr. Christine Ivanovic and Reto Ziegler.


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