Johnson, Mark Oliver (2005)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Botho Strauß, source for polemic and target of vitriol over three decades, proposes an unsettling understanding of the poetic in his prose works, from his earliest writing to most recent publications. The thesis contends that this understanding of the poetic is deeply indebted to the late thought of Martin Heidegger: it investigates the nature of the debt, highlighting Strauß’ adoption and adaptation of ideas central to the philosopher, including his thinking on the work of art, technology, language and poetry. The body of the thesis examines Strauß’ views through detailed exegeses of Beginnlosigkeit, Wohnen Dämmern Lügen and Fragmente der Undeutlichkeit, while drawing extensively on other works and writing. The readings identify and elucidate a number of key terms critical to Strauß’ proposed poetic. Underpinning these terms, the thesis contends, and bound to the understanding of the poetic, is an ontological concern for philosophical truth derived from Heidegger. The thesis concludes that far from a retreat by Strauß into obscurantist mysticism and resignation from a putative cultural, social and political collective, accusations repeatedly levelled at him and here grouped under the rubric of fatalism, Strauß offers in and through his works a dynamic engagement with this conception of truth, which the thesis hypothesises as a poetics of dwelling.
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