Die Sprache des Wahnsinns. Harald Kaas und sein Erzählband ‘Uhren und Meere’

Translated title of the contribution: The language of madness: Harald Kaas and his short story collection 'watches and seas'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This essay examines the only book published by the late Harald Kaas. His collection of short stories Uhren und Meere (1979), dealing with depictions of psycho-pathological states of mind, gained Kaas a short-lived notoriety as he himself was a certified schizophrenic possessing first-hand experience of psychiatric treatment. This essay sets out to investigate whether or to what extent the stories in Uhren und Meere can be understood as a document of the language of madness. It concludes that despite the biographical dimension of his schizophrenic experience, Kaas’s texts fail to voice an as it were unadulterated language of madness. However, when read in conjunction with his quasi-poetological interview statements, it is possible to determine the very nature of madness as a collapse of a logical system of language. Meaning that language cannot actively be used to express madness, while at the same time madness can express itself in a language that we necessarily fail to understand. The language of madness manifests itself as the madness of language.
Translated title of the contributionThe language of madness: Harald Kaas and his short story collection 'watches and seas'
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)146-157
Number of pages12
JournalZeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik
Volume144
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

Keywords

  • Harald Kaas
  • Uhren und Meere
  • psycho-pathological states of mind
  • madness
  • schizophrenic experience
  • madness of language

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