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Vol. 62, No. 3 Summer 1989 Mrcuepl Böulnn Washington Uniuersity I Uniuersität

Swiss Literary Culture since 1945: Productive Antagonisms and Conflicting Identities

I under the rug. Because the country has no regard for history, it stubbornly refuses to ln his recently published second novel Der participate in history. Its cancerous xenopho- Mann ohne Licht' the young Swiss author with bia is only the other side of an age-old self- the English-sounding name, Martin R. Dean, hatred. confronts the reader with an aging, once- This long diatribe against is famous Swiss named Loder, who lives hyperbolic to the point of sounding like a in a remote village in the Jura mountains and travesty. And a caricature it most certainly is. who has not written a single word for the last When the old writer says that he does not ten years. Loder is secretly being investigated believe in progress-not in linear progress, and kept under surveillance by the local police at any rate- we hear in the background Fried- officer, Lachat; this Lachat suspects him of a rich Dürrenmatt, who repeatedly ridiculed the drug offense in connection with a Tamil refu- optimistic Western creed of progress. And gee whom the writer had kept in hiding for a when the fictitious author announces his loss week. Prior to this incident, the police officer of faith in the Enhghtenment, we are reminded had been Loder's only interlocutor and friend of 's speech in upon the during his self-inflicted Inner Emigration. occasion of his 75th birthday, in which he pon- When the journalist Mario Dill visits Loder dered the question of where to look for hope and tries to unravel the secret of the writer's after enlightened reason has failed. In fact, ten years of silence, he is subjected to an all this invective sounds like a compendium of outpouring of Loder's pent-up wrath and con- the charges brought against Switzerland by tempt for his native country, Switzerland. Ac- its in the last forty years, a period cording to Loder, Switzerland is a phantom that reverberated with their criticism of Swiss without real existence. It is the chimera of a society and its government, a time when, as fanatical military, the invention of a card- recently put it, "many writ- players' club and of the rifle association. The ers indulged in a kind of negative jodeling."' country's allegedly famous achievements, for Only one argument in Loder's condemna- which it claims patents and licenses ever since tion of Switzerland is new-a strange com- its founding in 1291- such as being the oldest pound borrowed from semiotics and systems democracy, having the best social welfare sys- theory-namely, that in comparison with tem, the best working morale, the second other countries Switzerland has proliferated highest gross national product, the best of all into a rampant system of unfathomable com- armies-all these accomplishments are one plexity. Because it is a small country lacking big patent fraud. The old writer asserts that in space, things cannot explode; therefore, Switzerland is a myth, made up of self-con- they implode and produce horrible air pockets gratulatory superlatives. The Swiss are the all over. The prevailing obscurity is the result conspiracy of a silent majority who conceals of an excessively dense codification. In such everything from everyone, sweeping its dirt a country everything is codified in multiple

The Germn Quarterlt 62.3 (f989) 293 294 TUB Gcnunn QuenrEnlv Summer 1989

ways: the army, the lav, politics, etc.; these credited with starting a new literary period ambiguities are easy to live with, however, in Switzerland, be it in the German- or French- for anything goes provided that nothing is ever or ltalian-speaking regions. As a neutral state, changed. Switzerland was not actively involved in World The old writer's rantings have a slightly War II; it did not undergo the turmoils of the crazy rng, and at times his behavior is also Third Reich and, although Swiss society did rather biz,arre. Even though one is tempted not remain totally untouched by fascist tenden- to read his story as fiction about the literary cies, the country did not have to rebuild a old-guard-Dtirrenmatt and Frisch, in par- new political system after the cultural and ticular-it is not a romnn d clef n the strict moral collapse of the old one. As one of the sense. With its harmless rural setting and the few countries in left completely intact dialogues between the intellectual Loder and during t}re surrounding destruction, Switzer- his friend, the state investigator Lachat, the land was indeed a "Sonderfall," a special case, novel is reminiscent of Dürrenmatt's early due to either luck, a miracle, good or doubtful mystery stories and seems to be a fictional diplomacy, or all these factors together. representation of its literary precursors. In Therefore, we must ask whether the social, this respect, Dean's new book bears some political, and cultural situation of Switzerland resemblance to Philip Roth's llee Ghost Writer in 1945, fundamentally different from Ger- (1979), the first of the "Zuckerman Trilogy," many, does not compel us to separate Ger- with Zuckerman's aging spiritual father, E. I. man-Swiss from Lonoff, living in semi-reclusion in rural Mas- of that time, labeled Kahßchlag-Literatur, or sachusetts. Insofar as the literary technique "Literature of the Year Zero." of fictionalizing the precursors can be inter- Before answering this question, let us try preted-in terms of Harold Bloom's The An- to find a more general framework for the inter- ricty of Influencd-as being the most effec- relations between German and German-Swiss tive way of symbolically killing one's own literature. A glance at a few recent literary spiritual fathers, we might ask ourselves if this histories of postwar German literature reveals newest novel by Dean is not a first-class liter- an interesting picture: in the voluminous Kind- ary burial, an epitaph not only for Frisch and lers Literaturgeschichte dzr Gegenwarf o the lit- Diirrenmatt, but for the entire literary period eratures of the Federal Republic of , that began after the war. We are tempted to the German Democratic Republic, , ask further whether Dean's novel is not, at and Switzerland are treated individually in the same time, an implicit renunciation of the separate volumes, with approximately equal writer's role, predominant in German-Swiss space devoted to each. On the other hand, literature for the last forty years, in that it Hansers Sozialgeschirhte der deußchen Litera- transforms the image of the writer as a critical tur uom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwarts analyst of society from an idea and a serious deals with approximately the same period in obligation by which to live into a satirical topic two volumes, one being Die Literatur der and a fictional motif. Possibly Dean's new book DD R," the other entitled Literatur in der Bun- is the metafiction that announces the begin- dzsrepublik Deutschland bis 1967.'In the vol- ning of postmodernism in ; as urne on the literature of the Federal Republic such, it may signal the end of an era. of Germany we can spot, just before the An- nexes and Indexes, a very short fifth part on II special aspects of Swiss and Austrian litera- tures, 20 pages each, barely 3Vo of the total. The beginning of this era seems deceptive- Among other reasons given for this marginal ly easy to ascertain. It is usually considered treatment of Swiss and Austrian , to be the end of World War II. Yet, we have we are told that "many writers who by their to ask ourselves whether 1945 can be properly nationality are Swiss or Austrian, must be BöslpR: Swiss Literary Culture 295 regarded to a certain extent as being writers semination and reception of literature as well, of the Federal Republic."n The third of these we might find in them the common denomina- recent histories, Geschichte der deutschen Li- tor of what any Swiss writer is subjected to teratur uom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegen- and what therefore gives German-Swiss liter- wart" dädes German postwar literature into ature its unique shape. three parts: the first is the "Literature of the Federal Republic of Germany and of. German- III speaking Switzerland" (my emphasis) without any further distinction; the second is devoted The cultural dynamics of German-Swiss lit- to the "Literature of the German Democratic erature may be conceived in terms of the fol- Republic," the third to the "Present Literature lowing four basic forces: of Austria." The last example is the Sozialge- 1) The multilingualism of Switzerland; schtchte d.er deutschen Literatur uon 1918 bis 2) The bilingualism of the German-Swiss re- zur Gegenwartl" by the reputed Fischer Ver- gion; lag. It has two long chapters on the literatures 3) The internally disparate cultural tenden- of the two German states, but one looks in cies caused by federalism and regionalism; vain for a single word about Swiss or Austrian and literature. In the preface the editors argue 4) The external integration into a suprana- that by reason of their theoretical socio-his- tional language-culture leading to a very toric orientation, they did not isolate the Swiss close yet strongly selective affiliation with and Austrian authors from the West , one or more neighboring national states since their works are marketed and distrib- and their cultural life. uted on a supranational literary market (which Our explanatory model of the specifics of Ger- they call the Federal Re\ublic of Germanyt). man-Swiss literature is built on three axes: Evidently several forms and degrees of liter- language, cultural identity, and political organi- ary and cultural annexation are taking place zation. It is the hlpothesis of my theoretical in harmless scholarly books such as literary framework that the peculiarities of German- histories. Of the possible combinations within Swiss literature rest on a highly differentiated the four German literatures of the present, interplay between these four basic forces. the only variation not to be found is "The Therefore, if we want to establish criteria Literature of the German Democratic Repub- that uniquely characterize German-Swiss lit- lic including Switzerland." Without delving erature-going beyond the contingencies of further into the difficult problem of writing the writing in this country without histories of the German literatures, we can resorting to simple national - we learn from these examples that apparently the must examine more closely these forces and position of German-Swiss literature within the their interplay. context of German literature in general and Perhaps the most important effect they its interrelations with the literatures of the exert on indiuduals-be they writers or not other German-speaking countries is anything the creation of an intricate network of but clear. It might therefore be useful to out- -iscultural antagonisms and conflicting identities line the cultural dynamics and the structural involving divided cultural loyalties ot psy- forces that determine German-Swiss litera- chologically speaking, cultural double-bind sit- ture and its institutions and set them apart uations, with floating boundaries betu'een from German literature at large. In contrast ownness and otherness, inclusion and exclu- to the literary historians mentioned above, sion, the familiar and the strange. Due to this shall be done from within the Swiss cul- these antagonistic forces we can observe in tural sltem- which substantially changes the Swiss literature a broad range of colors and perspective and outlook. Since these forces shades oscillating between darkly withdrawn determine not only the production but the dis- isolationist Alpine provincialism and brightly 296 Tne GBnueN QUARTERLY Summer 1989

sparkling cosmopolitan openness and artistic socio-linguist Kenneth D. McRae points out, brillance. Only recently , who "linguistic diversity was hardly significant" in belongs to the uttermost end of the higtrly the early periods of the long national building reflective artistic side of the spectrum, formu- process of the Swiss Confederation from its lated this double-bind situation by addressing beginning in 1291 to the collapse of the Old the question of a National Swiss literature as Confederation under the impact of French rev- opposed to German literature in a shrewdly olutionary ideas and the invasion of the French refined way: army in 1798. Official multilingualism came There is no Swiss National Literature, into existence only when the French imposed but we are tempted-should our neigh- upon the invaded country the "Helvetic Re- bors too eagerly claim us for their own public" based on a constitution created in cultural inventory-to defend our terri- Paris." tory by considering our national bounda- Looking for the consequences of this fac- ries binding in literary respects as well. multilingualism literature We need the bond of a Swiss literature tual and official in as we needed a political bond to unite us and literary life, we must admit that in litera- politically against those same neighbors. ture a blending of the four languages into a At bottom it is the Swiss citizen within kind of literary unity-the comparatist's Swiss author who refuses the the in dream and delight-does not exist. Occasion- realm of politics the very annexation (the ally isolated have been made at con- "Anschluss") he depends upon in the attempts realm of culture and language. A Swiss ceiving a sort of "interlingual" Swiss national National Literature? There is none and literature. Typically enough, this occurred neither may it be allowed, German-speak- mostly in times of political crisis and danger. ing Switzerland does not want to go the Before and during World War II, in the days way of the Netherlands into a separate language-culture. Swiss writers need in of the so-called "Geistige Landesverteidi- their own eyes, and in those of their gung" (Spiritual Defense of the Nation) and neighbors, the concession of a separate in its aftermath, it was the comparatist Fritz identity. In order to be able to doubt this Ernst in particular who developed the idea of very identity we need be treated by to a "Helvetic Culture" transcending racial, polit- our German friends as if it existed.t' ical, regional, and linguistic boundaries. The Before we explore in more detail the spe- essence of such a Helvetic Culture ought to cific double-bind situation of the Swiss writer have been found at the very point of intersec- vis-ä-vis Germany, , and tion of the three major European civilizations. German culture, we should briefly consider As such, it would have represented the idea the impact of Swiss multilingualism, i.e., the of cultural unity and diversity, of a "Helvetia fact that Switzerland has four national lan- mediatrix," of Switzerland the mediator.B guages: German, French, Italian, and Ro- In the light of such high-flyng and idealistic mansh. The multilingualism of Switzerland if not ideological- concepts, the impact of is-on a more elevated level of culture- multilingualism- on literature has been asses- analogous to its cheese, yodeling, and choco- sed more soberly. Since Guido Calgari's im- late on a folkloristic level: it is so famous as portant book Die aier Literaturen d.er Schweiz'o a Swiss specialty that it has become a myth. in which he explicitly renounces any unifyrng And it shares the embarrassing fact that it is principle and pleads for diversity as the essen- not indigenous with other national mlths like tial cultural basis of Switzerland-"any at- the one about the famous cross-bow archer tempt to strive for a spiritual unity would . The principle of multilingualism, humiliate it"-the concept of four different as laid down in Paragraph 116 of the Swiss literatures has become probably the most ac- Constitution, reflects a relatively recent de- cepted view. Among German-Swiss writers velopment in Swiss history; it is not the codifi- we find a prevailing ambivalence with regard cation of an old tradition. As the Canadian to the practical meaning of multilingualism. BösI-nR: Swiss Literary Culture 297

They feel a political as well as a cultural obli- ably experienced within the Swiss plurilingual gation to overcome the constraints of a lan- system in a more immediate, more compelling guage-determined mono-culture in literature, way than in any unilingualmonolithic language yet they do not strive very hard to do so. culture. Moreover, some remorseful regrets arise that One other aspect of multilingualism that the opportunities offered by the Swiss political can at times assume great importance for lit- system are not put to good use by its cultural erature is the fact that a plurilingual state and and literary forces. Max Frisch confirms this society forces its members to set priorities view by confessing: with regard to political and cultural values and The necessity of effective mutual ex- loyalties. This happened during World Wars I change across the language borders can- and II and especially during the years of Ger- not be questioned. To be frank, I myself man fascism. The working of this cultural set a bad example: although s1'rnpathetic force is best exemplified by the case of Carl towards our Suisse romande, I have Spitteler, who received the Nobel Prize for hardly any acquaintances there, indeed fewer than I currently have in foreign literature in 1919, the only one Switzerland countries, I even know very little about has ever won. At the outbreak of it, I content myself with general s;nn- Switzerland was dangerously divided with re- PathY.ts gard to the sympathies of the different lan- He is joined by Friedrich Dürrenmatt who, in guage regions toward the two warring na- his essay Zur Dramaturgie der Schweiz, de- tions, and Germany. In the German- plores the actual situation of cultural antago- speaking part with as its center, in nism caused by language oppositions and the particular, strong and anti- way it is handled: French tendencies threatened national unity just when was most needed. The "hashed- These oppositions are not a problem in it themselves-it is quite natural that they brown potatoes ditch," as the border between should arise; what matters is that nothing French- and German-speaking Switzerland is develops from them, that we don't exploit jokingly called in peaceful times, was in dan- our good fortune in having such opposi- ger of turning into an extension of the dead- tions, that the German Swiss and the trenches separating France and Germany. French and Italian Swiss are just not in- ly terested in each other. We need to work In this situation, the writer Carl Spitteler together, to make an effort in a non- gave a widely noted speech, Unser Schweizer federalistic way, to experiment, to make Standpunkt, at the "New Helvetic Society" contacts and to communicate with the in Zurich, admonishing his German-speaking aim of uniting our cultures. . . . Culture compatriots to adopt a more critical attitude as national capital is a fiction; culture is a living creative reality. This proposed toward Germany. He called for a clear-cut dif- union is something that cannot be ferentiation between Germany as a spiritual achieved by turning away from it. Switzer- friend, whose literature and culture ought to land should be taken literally, its duty is be shared as a corrrmon heritage, and Ger- to be what it claims to be.ro many as the present warring nation that had Thus, if multilingualism has very little impact run amok.r'This uncompromising speech cost on the respective literatures in practice, at Spitteler his public in Germany, where he had least it produces a bad conscience. As such, had many more admirers and followers than it is definitely a cultural force because it im- in his native Switzerland. The basic belief in poses a deep-seated (guilt-)feeling of commit- the primacy of politicalalliances and in national ment to a greater cultural and literary open- unity across language borders withinthe cottn- ness and universality. The general dialectics try over cultural and literary affiliations outside of literature-simultaneously the voice of an the national bordet exemplified by Spitteler's , the expression of a national tongue, standpoint, is thus one of the cornerstones and the universal voice of mankind- are prob- of Swiss cultural life. 298 Tse GnnueN Quanr:Bnr-y Summer 1989

Another basic determinant of German- the idiom of a neighboringnation toqrardwhich Swiss literature is the fact that the German the Swiss have stronglyambivalent feelings- language in Switzerland is used in two vari- for historical and political reasons as well as ants: a very distinct dialect variant and the because of national mentalities. This is why standard variant, High German. The use of most German Swiss vehemently defend the the Swiss-German dialect permeates all social notion that High German is a "foreign lan- classes and levels of education. In this re- guage" for tiem, although, linguisticallv spect, it differs from the most dia.lect use speaking, this claim does not hold true. in other languages, notably in Germany and When we look at the impact of this general in Austria. However, the Swiss-German dia- language situation on German-Swiss writers lect is basically restricted to oral communica- and on the literature they produce, we find tion. Conversely, High German is the equiva- that bilingualism has significant effects, mak- lent standard for witten expression. The in- ing the Swiss writers' work situation very dif- stances in which High German is used in oral ferent from that of their colleagues in Frank- communication are restricted to a few do- furt, , or Leipzig. At the outset most mains and situations of more official charac- writers, despite their genuinely exceptional tel such as school, church, most legislative language competence, insist on the foreign- bodies. Even in these domains, where the language character of High German, and they oral use of High German is institutionalized emphasize maybe even overestimate the and laid down in official rules, teachers and extraordinary- position they occupy with- re- pupils alike immediately switch from High Ger- gard to literature and its institutions.r' The man to as soon as the bell German-Swiss writer Hugo Loetsche4 a de- rings and classes recess. vout traveler and true cosmopolite with an As a result of this general situation the intimate knowledge of world literature-es- German Swiss grow up with some sort of pecially Spanish and Latin American literature bilingualism, even in their native tongue. The against exaggerations in that re- -cautions question of whether this situation is correctly spect: called a bilingual language system has been Certain colleagues consider this dilemma repeatedly debated among linguists. Present- to be unique to the Swiss writer. I myself ly the term most commonly used for it is cannot follow this view. Compared to au- "medial diglossia," that is, a language system thors in other cultures, especially those made up of two separate yet not altogether of the Third World, who are much more different language variants, with a more or radically confronted with the problem of writing in a language that is not their less clear-cut functional delimitation between spoken idiom, the pains of having to oral and written expression. Such questions choose between a High German and a o{ terminology are of lesscr concern for our Swiss dialect word for "sidewalk" are topic. In literary respects the emotional, cul- comparatively modest. It is not only in tural, and esthetic effects of German-Swiss language matters that our sufferings lose their uniqueness compared to others.'s bilingualism are much more important. Emo- tionally the German Swiss feel at home with Nevertheless, the objectifiaäle difference be- their regional dialect. The dialect is the tween dialect and standard language is not as medium of the intimate, the personal face-to- decisive for the creative writing process as is face relationship, the medium into which they the writer's subj e ctively im agin e d difference. have grown naturally by imitating and adopting And it does not matter whether this imagined parental and peer group speech, whereas difference is right or wrong. As long as it is High German is associated with the formal felt by the writer, it has a reality of its own language-learning situation in school, with its and plays a role in the writing process.2o long, tedious process of language discipline Therefore, the way in which the Swiss writer and normative constraint. Furthermore, it is uses High German more nearly reflects his/ BösLeR, Swiss Literary Culture 299 her own idea about what ought to be a true is for many indigenous German writers. As a literary and artful German language than it result, German-Swiss literature tends to be does any actually written or spoken High Ger- more highly stylized and controlled, at least man. This situation has psychological as well in the eyes of German readers. Gtinter Grass as stylistic consequences for German-Swiss is reported to have said once: "You Swiss literary language. In the minds of German- writers, you stylize, you are horrible classi- Swiss writers, otherness or foreignness be- cists."2o In an interview with a research team comes a prime characteristic of High German, from the University of Basel he expressed a since their mental construction of a German similar view: "It strikes me again and again, literary language differs so substantially from how timid the Swiss writer is in dealing with their own everyday language. Foreignness is his dialect. At times, it sounds rather strange experienced as an unstructured profuse real- how everything is 'translated' into High Ger- ity whose complexity ought to be reduced; man.tt'u as a matter of fact, the term "foreignness" It seems to me that the debate on the per se is nothing more than a semantic device characteristics of German-Swiss literature for banning the threatening aspects ofthe un- has not paid enough attention to this aspect. known and for capturing it in clearly defined Traditionally, the accent is placed on its innate terms. By attempting to reduce complexity "." One could demonstrate, howeve! one tends to cope with the foreign by means that a strong tendency toward esthetic for- of typification and, at times, even ritualistic malism and stylistic classicism has existed formalization." At the same time this imagined throughout the -Swiss liter- literary High German of German-Swiss writ- ature. It may not be a pure coincidence that ers is nothing more than the projection of the German "" of the 1880s and their own artistic and esthetic aspirations with 90s, the movement succeeding "Poetic Real- regard to language and style. Psychologically ism," could never gain a foothold in Switz- such a constellation is often combined with erland in any noteworthy form. In fact, we fear. Consequently, many Swiss writers men- could even argue that any naturalistic "Hyper- tion their feelings of fear when asked about Realism" in Switzerland would inevitably fail their attitude toward High German." because of the insurmountable language di- Insecurity, fear, hypercorrectness, and for- lemma. For in the process of transforming malization as the dominant instinctual feelings Swiss reality into High German words, i.e., and attitudes of the Swiss writer toward High in the transformation of the real world into its German may be experienced subjectiuely as a poetic representation, this reality becomes disturbing element in the writing process. O0- de-naturalized and artificial. Max Frisch once jectiuely, however, they bear a positive value: pointed to this dilemma in the context of a when the writer works his,her way creatively projected mowe Züich Transit, taken from into the openness of a rather unfamiliar an episode in his novel Mein Name sei Ganten- medium and toils along at it, the element of bein, where it would have sounded awkward the artistic and the aspect of the creative take if the local people in the local setting of.Ztrich on greater significance. Accordingly, Swiss had conversed in High German, whereas in writers point to High German as a language the literary text it was most natural. Perhaps of art, i. e., as an artificial means of expression the best example of the tlpically Swiss com- in opposition to the dialect as a normal medium bination of perfect poetic artistry and realism of communication.ä Since the "natural" situa- in setting and content is 's tion of Swiss writers with regard to their work- famous novella A Village Romeo and Juliet. ing material, the High German language, is The same artistic quality can be found in con- an "artificial" one, the creative process is un- temporary German-Swiss literature, e.g., in usually reflective to begin with. It is likely to the works of Hermann Burget Adolf Muschg, be more conscious and self-conscious than it E. Y. Meyer, and others. 300 THr Gpnuen Quenrpnly Suuner l9E9

One last element of the bilingual language language free from provincialism and region- situation and its literary impact should not be alism. A similar opposition could be estab-. left undiscussed, for without it we would not lished between Friedrich Dtirrenmatt and grasp the phenomenon in its full dynamic com- Max Frisch in our time-the former nriting plexity. We have defined the way in which the in a more spontaneous, plain-spoken language German-Swiss writer experiences the realm without inhibitions and restraints in dialectal of High German by its unfamiliarity, dis- coloring, the latter using a very conscious, tance, normative constraint, and emotional es- controlled style. used dialect trangement which, in turn, engender a rather elements most charmingly as a rhetorical fig- consciously stylized, highly controlled, de- ure of humility and self-, whereas for automatized artistic literary language. Para- , the self-stylized Frangois doxically enough, t}te same is true for the Villon of contemporary German-Swiss litera- Swiss dialect as far as it is used in literature ture, dialect particles are a powerftrl satirical at all. Due to the functional differentiation be- weapon to expose personal traits or to de- tween written and oral communication, i.e., nounce characteristic attitudes and ideologies the fact that the Swiss-German dialect is very of the Swiss ruling class. rarely used in writing, the use of it in litera- Summing up the basic forces of Swiss liter- ture-be it as individualwords, idiomatic ex- ary culture, its multilingualism and the bilin- pressions, or s1'ntactic structures-can have gualism of its German-speaking part, we find the same effect of esthetic estrangement and that the resulting peculiar dynamics lead to a poetic de-automatization. In this respect, a precarious situation of a cultural neither-nor, rather peculiar effect of inversion occurs for an unstable balance always threatened by an a Swiss or a German reader of texts that have impending imbalance. While this situation is dialect elements woven into them: whereas easily understandable in the realm of lan- the German reader delights in or resents the guage, it extends beyond the province of lin- typical Swissness of that text signaled by its guistics to become a general characteristic of dialect morsels, the Swiss reader will find the literary life in Switzerland and of the personal same elements (whenever he identifies them situation of Swiss writers. To the degree that as such) in their High German surroundings they partake in German literary life and cul- very strange and unfamiliarly tamiliar. That is ture, they might feel withdrawn and uprooted to say, by its very use in a literary context not outright alienated-from their Swiss even dialect can become an artistic means for -ifbackground; insofar as they remain attached creating higtrly poetic effects. Many German- to it and do not cut their umbilical cord with Swiss writers thus use their dialect as an ad- their home region, they might feel cut off from ditional instrument for creating values, color- the mainstream of German literature and cul- ftrl effects, melodic or semantic nuances, even ture. This situation engenders a continuous if their basic literary language is High Ger- need to search for and an obligation to find a man. The degree to which they fall back upon balance between the forces of delimitation and dialect elements and the way in which they those of integration with regard to one's own stylistically interweave High German standard cultural background and to German culture language and dialect elements could be used and literature in general. Very recently Adolf tentatively as a criterion for a loose historical Muschg used the term "schizophrenia" in this categorization among German-Swiss writers, context, and he called it a simple cultural ob- as well as for distinguishing their personal ligation of the Swiss to stick to this schizo- stylistic differences. Famous for his intense phrenia and to endure it.'?6 Dramatically over- use of dialect was . By con- stating the case, we can say that Swiss writers trast, Gottfried Keller, by occasionally at- not only live in a cultural limbo but also face tacking Jeremias Gotthelf directly, stressed uncertainty regarding the direction in which the need for a standardized German literary they must look for heaven or hell: to their BöHI-cR: Swiss Literary Culture 301 native Swiss culture and country, or to neigh- reorient itself toward the production and dis- boring Germany, or to a supranational German tribution of the indigenous "Swiss Book."" language culture ot even furtheq, to an inter- Thus, if the epoch of the Third Reich meant national culture of world üterature. for German-speaking Switzerland, among others, a time of literary and cultural isolation N and constraint, those years also had an eman- cipatory effect on the country in that they We can now assess much better the mean- strengthened the tendencies toward cultural ing of the "Year Zero" of 1945 from the per- decentralization and toward a specifically spective of the German-Swiss writer. Contra- Swiss üterary culture.* Seen within the ry to the situation in Germany, 1945 marked framework of our basic socio-cultural model less a totally new beginning after a cata- of German-Swiss literature, we can say that strophic breakdown than it did a shift in the due to the vital necessity of the nation's fight cultural orientation. Expressed in the imagery for survival and integrity, the prewar and the of the limbo I just defined as the place the war periods were a time during which the Swiss-German writer usually occupies be- double-bind situation, with its traditional an- tween different cultures, the years of German tagonisms, prevailed to a much lesser degree fascism and the war brought about a situation than at other times. that offered most writers a relatively sharp However, this situation changed quickly and unmistakable picture of where and where with the end of the Third Reich. The shift not to look for the promised land. Despite all was already signaled, a few months before the criticism and grudges Swiss writers could the end of the wat in the very first play of hold against Switzerland-and there were the young writer Max Frisch: Nun singen sie many-those years of the so-called"Gektige wieder. Versuch eines Requierns.ß With Max Landesuerteidtgun{' had also forced writers Frisch's entrance on the stage, followed short- to take a clearly defined side and to establish ly afterward by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, we wit- themselves ideologically as well as culturally ness what is perhaps the most astonishing within the boundaries of their native country. phenomenon in the history of German-Swiss This process extended well beyond the realrn literature: its rise, first to a leadership role of cultural attitudes and political ideologies. in German literature in general, and later even The development of National and to world prominence. Hugo Loetscher called the war also entailed severe consequences this period of the first fifteen years after the for the basic structure of the publishing busi- war "a kind of Golden Age for Swiss litera- ness and the economic aspects of the produc- ture."3o And the analogy was drawn that, while tion of literature in Switzerland. Before the Germany had its famous "Wirtschaftswunder" war no other industrial branch had been so - the economic miracle of the reconstruction closely entwined with the German market as period - Switzerland had the "Literaturwun- the book trade. About 75Vo of. the books sold der"-the literary miracle.'' For years it oc- in Switzerland were produced in Germany, cupied not only the German-speaking theater and most members of the Swiss booksellers' stage with the new productions of its two pro- and publishers' association had also been lific dioscuric dramatists-such as Der Be- members of the German publishers' guild. such der alten Dame and Die Physiker and The total "Nazification" of the book trade in B'in dermann und die B randsffier and Andnrra Germany-rigorous state control, censor- Swiss literature also reached world ship, and an extremely aggressive trade policy -butfame with some of these plays, as well as with aJter 1935, with a lowering of export prices the novel Stiller by Max Frisch. for German books by 2\Vo-forced the Swiss In those years the basic cultural antago- book trade to reorganize completely by trying nisms and the conflicting identities that I out- to reduce its dependency on Germany and to lined before as the decisive dynamic forces of 302 THr GBnvaN QuenrpRly Summer 1989

German-Swiss literature came into ftrll play their civilian German victims, and finally from again. And it is my contention that a good the living to the dead. Yet this is done without deal of the productive energy leading to the drawing borderlines that would clearly define Golden Age of German-Swiss literature after the territory and the realm with which the 1945 could be interpreted in terms of such spectator is confronted at a particular mo- antagonisms coming to the forefront on differ- ment. It is probably symptomatic that a Swiss ent levels, be they cultura.l, political, or per- author set up a war play for the German-speak- sonal. ing community, constructed in this manner. To be sure, Max Frisch had started his And most likely, only a Swiss could deal with writing career ten years before the end ofthe the question of the German war-guilt in this war; however, his early works still reflect the way right at the end of the war. With regard "contractive" mood of the "Spiritual Defense to the development of German postwar liter- of the Nation"-era. The play Nun singen sie ature, it is not insignificant that Max Frisch winder takes up in nure the structural "in- integrates influences of the contemporary limbo perspective" in its setting, themes, and Anglo-saxon drama-notably Thornton Wil- motifs. It was one of the earliest plays written der and Beckett-into the German tradition on the war, provoking heated discussions and blends them together with elements of when it was produced on stage in Germany. the Brechtian theatre of estrangement, thus The title refers to a group of hostages who taking up the role of a literary mediator. were executed by two soldiers, apparently However, of greater importance to my ar- Germans. The hostages died while sinClng, gument is, first, the implicit thematic config- and their songs continue to persecute one of uration or the implicit authorial attitude of the executioners, Karl, who finally deserts changing perspectives, respectively, of the and hangs himself. The other soldieq Herbert simultaneity of differing, possibly even con- - a cultivated esthete and former model pupil flicting identities. Secondly, it is, paradoxically of Karl's father, a college teacher-continues speaking, the "stand"-point of a "wandering to follow military orders and finally even exe- point of vision" between different worlds, be cutes his former teacher for treason. Her- they warring nations, aggressors and victims, bert's attitudes and actions thus reflect the or the living and the dead. This "wandering much-debated irreconcilable German antago- point of vision" forces the reader or spectator nism between Weimar and Buchenwald, Goe- into a varied role-taking and a repeated shift the and the Nazi-Camps. This first group is in perspective. And thirdly, it is the underlying matched with a group of Allied bomber pilots moral assumption of this arrangement of the and with a group of their civilian victims. By play: that the fabrication of rigid images of adopting an idea from Thornton Wilder's Ozr others constitutes the basic guilt, herewith Tbwn, MaxFrisch lets the dead of the different fixing their identity, that above all the guilt gloups meet in a no-man's land and has them lies in ethnic prejudices and ideologies. Hence cornment on what happened. It is neither the the importance of the second Commandment: plot nor the unfolding of the dramatic action "Thou shalt not make to thyself any grauen that constitutes the importance of the play. image . . ." Rather, it is the way in which the play is or- These elements constitute crucial features ganized around an invisible focal point of an of Max Frisch's imagery as it unfolds ur sub- in-between position-a "wandering point of sequent works and in lus attitudes as a writer. vision," as Wolfgang Iser has called the phe- On the thematic level of his novels and plays, nomenon in a different context. The war with the question of the fundamental antagonism its cruelty and the theme of guilt are displayed between the individual as an existential being by way of a repeated shift in role-taking in and his/her social and cultural appearances which the perspective switches from the Ger- and roles is explored in depth in his novels man soldiers to the Allied bomber pilots and Stiller and and in his play Bro- r Bösr-nR: Swiss Literary Culture 303

grafic. The deadly consequences of "graven I have chosen Max Frisch for exposing the image"-making national, cultural, ethnic, or structural constellation of the "in-limbo per- otherwise-are- displayed n , n spective" where the cultural givens of Ger- which the boy Andri falls victim to anti-Semitic man-speaking Switzerland and the personal prejudices, although he is actually not Jewish. attitudes of this writer, as well as literary By contrast, n Bicdcrmann und dic Brand- themes and motifs in his works, meet and sffier the saturated bourgeois is victimized intermingle. Space limitations permit me to by his own rigid thinking that blinds him vis-ä- do this only in a very sketchy way. Undoubted- vis the intrusion of evil. ly an in-depth study on Max Frisch, combining On the personal level-that is, with regard textual and socio-cultural analysis under the to Max Frisch's position as a writer and a aspects of productive antagonisms and con- Swiss citizen-one can observe the steady flicting identities, could be quite a rewarding process of a growing critical distance, of dis- undertaking. The same methodological proce- illusionment and estrangement from his native dure could prove to be helpful for structuring city, Zrrich, and from his country. This is the development of German-Swiss literature expressed, among other ways, by his self- throughout the last forty years or for inter- chosen partial exile, first to , then to preting other Swiss authors. Täke, for in- the ltalian-speaking part of Switzerland, and stance, Friedrich Dürrenmatt. At first glance for a while to New York. At the same time, he seems to be more elusive in this respect, howevel he remained actively involved in his works less determined by biographical and Swiss politics and public life, signing petitions social circumstances, his attitudes those of a and protest notes, cornrnenting on political blissful aloofness from the dealings of the day. questions and actual problems of the day, de- How could we ever track down elements of bating with the President of the Confederation the cultural double-bind situation of the Ger- on TY grving a speech on the lst of August, man-Swiss playwright in Durrenmatt's tragi- the Swiss National Day. In numerous articles comedy The Visit or in the grotesquely absurd and public appearances he has expressed his play The Plrysrasls? Dtirrenmatt himself deliv- views and opinions about Switzerland which, ered the key in an interview that he gave in on the surface, might appear to some com- 1982 to the French newspaper LE MONDE, patriots to have become more and more crit- in which he answered the question about his ical, if not outright hostile, toward his home being a "Swiss writer" in the following way: country. Yet, looking at this development from I am a real Swiss, no doubt about that. a broader perspective, we notice that it is My mother-tongue is the Bernese dia- rather the process of an increasingly pro- lect, High German is artificial to me. But nounced differentiation among various as- there is no national literature. I live in pects or emanations of the country, namely, [French-speaking] Neuchätel because I in peace, but I am isolated, "," want to be left Switzerland as as "Vaterland," as a without any contact whatsoever with state and as a society. To one emanation of it Swiss literature. I do not see that Swiss Switzerland as "Heimat," for instance he tradition has had any influence on me. might- feeldeeply attached, while with another- This said, however, I must admit that my years have impor- say, Switzerland as apotheosis of capitalist adolescent did their tance. I was in my twenties during the - he might live in vehement bourgeois society- war. Switzerland was spared the catas- opposition and in a quarrelsome entangle- trophe, without our knowing exactly ment. The extent to which Max Frisch's na- whether the country was a prison or an tional, political, social, and cultural identities industrial plant working for Hitler. I lived on an island, or on a raft carried by the as a Swiss citizen and as a writer differ from waves. I observed from afar the Twilight accentu- one anotler may be exceptionally of the Gods like a spectator. Undoubted- ated, but by no means is such differentiation ly, that is why I view history as a gran- unusual. diose and grotesque farce." 304 Tue Genuax QuenrrRr-y Sumrner 1989

Dtirreffnatt's perspective is not from the lim- subjects of real interest. , in Das bo between different cultures but rather from Schweizers Schweiz (1969), stated tlnt the the Olympus aboae the world or from that of Swiss adhered to exactly the same clichds an uninvolved observer passing by the scene about Switzerland as did the zverage English- of earthly horrors. His authorial attitude is man or American; he asserted that Switzer- that of the gigantic laughter of the Olympian land had lost all its visionary impetus, had gods over the absurdities of the human race; become an immobile society, was governed it is hardly the didactic one of critical concern by bankers and plutocrats, was no longer a traditionally regarded as typica.lfor Swiss au- harbor for refugees but instead for illegal thors, Max Frisch included. Yet, as Dürren- money. This period of criticism extended well matt himself points out, this perspective, too, into the 60s and early 70s, at which time it results from the specific situation of the Swiss merged increasingly with the international writer in the socio-historical and political con- youth movement, incorporating its criticism text of German culture and history before, of the U.S. and the Vietnam War and its re- during, and after World War II. Whereas volt against imperialism, capitalism, and neo- Frisch's mental map is laid out horizontally colonialism, thus becoming merely a local within a field of tension extending from the variant of a world-wide movement. We can cultures of the New World to and witness its final reflection and ultimate dis- Greece, as tn , rtr frorn the United sohition in the mirror-image of fiction in States to Switzerland, as n Stiller, Dürren- Dean's new novel Der Mann ohne Lbht. matt builds up the field of tension in a verti- At this point we have to ask ourselves cal structure, as in The Vßit, where Claire whether at present it is still reasonable to Zachanassian invades the Swiss town of Gül- treat German-Swiss literature as a phenome- len like an antique goddess of fate and re- non possessing its own specificity and deter- venge, descending from outer space to un- mined by cultural antagonisms and conflicting mask the underlying inhumanity and greed of identities as I described them. Several ele- the seemingly perfect social order in a provin- ments indicate that the situation may have cial small town. Here, too, we find the point changed indeed: of perception from without. 1) German literature today consists of four Inherent in these structures of imagination distinct literatures: that of the two German of Swiss writers is another contrast, namely, states, of Austria, and of Switzerland. To the opposition between the small, closed-in some extent this situation has alleviated the space and the vastly extended open space, of former antagonisms. Swiss writers no longer pettiness and openness. This opposition also have to compete against one "Big Brother" has its innate ambivalence. During the war on unfamiliar linguistic grounds. Instead, and immediately afterward, the well-ordered there are four dtfferent voices, each with its and intact insularity of the small neutral state own handicaps, weaknesses, and strengths. Switeerland offered the impresssion of a har- 2) The ubiquity and internationality of cul- bor of peace in a surrounding world of blood tural movements today also bring about a cer- and chaos. In the 50s this feeling was increas- tain shift in the orientation of Swiss writers. ingly superseded by a growing uneasiness They still depend economically on the German about these very same characteristics. One book market, but in some ways the Federal of the key words of that time, with regard to Republic of Germany has lost its literary German-Swiss writers, became lhe Unbeha- leadership role. gen im Kleinstant, coined by the literary his- 3) During the 1970s the dominant themes torian Karl Schmid after Sigmund Freud's and topics shifted away from social and political essay on Ciailization anditsDßcontents. Soon criticism toward a "Neue Innerlichkeit," the after, in Diskurs in der Enge (1970), Paul subjectivity of a "New Inwardness." Biographi- Nizon criticized the country for its lack of cal problems of individual development and BöuI-BR: Swiss Literary Culture 305 personal relationships dominated the literary entitled "Zum Oesterreicher werden. Ein An- scene. A whole new genre of "Krebs- und fall"-by becoming an Austrian.s Todesliteratur" followed the autobiographical account Mars by the terminally ill writer Fritz Zorn. The more immediate concern for the Notes individual seH also detracted somewhat from ' Martin R. Dean, Der Mann ohne Licht Minchen: Han- the traditional antagonisms. One's identity as ser, 1988). Hans Seelig, "Unity Diversity," Modern Swiss Lit- a Swiss was no longer at stake; instead, the 'z and erature. Unity and Diaersity, ed. L. Flood (New focus became one's John identity as a human being York: St. Martin's, 1985) 140. in an increasingly de-humanzed civilization. 3 Harold Bknm, The Anrizty of Influence. A Theory ol Thus, the growing concern for the human hab- Olew York: Ot'ord UB 1973). 'Wolf Keienburg and Angelica Pöppel, eds., Kindlers itat, intermingled with that for nature and the Litcraturgeschithtz dzr Gegenwart. Autoren, Werke, The- environment, led to a different literary land- tntn, Tbndenzen seit 1945 (1973; München und Zürich: scape with a more global and universal orien- Kindler, 1980). Grimminger, ed., Hansers Sozialgeschichte dzr tation in contrast to a typically "Swiss" one. 'Rolf dcuß&en Literatur aom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegen- Howeve4 even in this situation, only a arart (München und Wen: Hansef 1980). u slight twist in perspective is needed for the Hans-Jtirgen Schmitt, ed., Dic Literatur dzr DDR (München: Hanser, 1983). restoration of the old antagonistic constella- ' Hansers Sozialgeschichte, Bd. l0: Literatur in dtr Bun- tion. The movement of the new subjectivity desrepublih Deußchland hß 1967, ed. Ludwig Fischer and sensibility is succeeded or even paralleled (München: Hanser, 1986). ihrer Nationalität nach österreichische oder a regionalism "'Viele by new that fr:lly restores the schweizerische Autoren müssen als bis zu einem gewis- old cultural dynamics, albeit in a different sen Grad bundesdeutsche Schriftsteller angesehen world. Otto F. Walter a well-known writer of werden." Litcratur in der Bundcsrefublih bis 1967, 26. Viktor Zmegaö , ed., Geschithte dzr dzutschen Literatur the first generation after Frisch and Dürren- " tom 18. Jahrhundert bß zur Gegenwart, vol. III.2: 1945- matt and tle most prominent exponent of the 1980 (Königstein: Athenäum, 1984). so-called'Jura-South-Slope-Literature," re- 'oJan Berg, et al., eds., Sozialgeschithte der deußchen Literatur oon 1918 bis zur Gegenwarl (Franfkurt a.M.: peatedly a insisted on being a Swiss only as Fischer, 1981). third priority, the first one being his regional " "Wir haben keine schweizerische Nationalliteratur, aber roots in the area of and Solothurn, the wir geraten, wenn uns die Nachbarn schnell zu ihrem Bestand sctrlagen wollen, in die Versuchung, das Revier second his affiliation to certain cities. The dadurch zu verteidigen, dass wir es auch literarisch new regionalism was anticipated by his novels fü,,r bindend halten-weil wir seine bindende Kraft be- centering around the fictional Swiss town nötigen, weil wir sie politisch gegen eben diese Nach- barn haben erproben müssen. Im Grund ist es, wie 'Jammers," later to be followed by Silvio Blat- bei Heinrich Lee, im Schweizer Autor der Schweizer ter's Zunehrnendcs Heimweh, E. Y. Meyer's Bürger, der politisch jenen Anschluss verweigert, auf Trubschachen, Hermarn Burger's Schilten, den er kulturell angewiesen ist. Eine Schweizer Natio- nalliteratur? Es gibt sie nicht, ja es darf sie nicht geben, and others. In these novels Switzerland as a die deutsche Schweiz will nicht den Weg Hollands in national entity may no longer be a dominant die Sondersprache gehen. . . . Weil das aber so ist, or an explicit theme; implicitly, however, and haben die Schweizer Autoren, hat ihre Literatur in ihren eigenen Augen, und seitens ihrer Nachbarn, das Zuge- nov- with regard to the culture in which these sündnis der Identilät nötig. Um an ihr, wie recht und els are rooted, the "Swissness" of Swiss liter- billig, zweifeln zu dür:fen, brauchen wir von unsern ature is as present as ever. deutschen Freunden ein Benehmen, als gäbe es sie." Adolf Muschg, "Gibt es eine schweizerische National- Neither the return to a new regionalism, literatur?" Deußchr Ahadetniz für Sprachc und Drch- with its increased concern for the human habi- tung. Jahrbuclt 1980. 1. Lieferurg (Heidelberg: Lothar tat, nor the subjectivist tendencies have elimi- Stiehm, 1980) 67 f. Kenneth D. McRae, C onf lic t and C ompromis e in M ulti - nated basic literature in '' the determinants of Iingual Sociztizs, vol. 1: Swiherktad (Waterloo: Wilfried Switzerland. There seems to be no way out, l,aurier UB f9$) 40. B except-as one of the youngest Swiss au- Fritz Ernst, "Gibt es eine schweizerische Nationallite- ratw?" Der Bogen 44 (1955): 3-24. thors, Christoph Geiser, recently cried out '' Guido Calgari, Storia delle quattro letterature della Suiz- with exasperation in a short satirical essay zera Mrlano: Nuova Accademia Editrice, 1958). Ger- 306 Tue GnnueN QuRnrpnr-y Sutffner 1989

man trans.: Diz uicr Litzraturen dcr Schweiz (Olten: Leiden an 'Bürgersteig und Trottoir' bescheiden aus, Walter, 1966) lil. aber nicht nur auf der Sprachebene verlieren manche '5 "Die Notwendigkeit eines effektiven Austausches über unserer Leiden im Vergleich zu den andern an Einzig- die Sprachgrenzen hinweg, und zwar auf Gegenseitig- artigkeit." Hugo lnetscheq, "Ich bin zweisprachig inner- keit, steht ausser Zweilel. Ich selbeq, offen gestanden, halb der eigenen Sprachel' Mundart und Hxhsfradu: bin ein Beispiel dafiir, wie es nicht sein sollte: Voll Arfuiß[email protected] dcs Sminars fiir P ödagogisüz G rundaus- Sympath.ie fiir unsere Suisse romande habe ich kaum bildung tus Kaniltns Zürich (Znt'lch: Typoscript, 1983). persönliche Beziehungen dort, weniger als mit Zeitge- ' The detailed linguistic analysis of Max Frisch's language nossen fremder Länder, weiss wenig, begnüge mich done by Walter Schenker proves this point. See Walter eben mit Blanko-Sympathie." Quoted and translated by Schenker, Dü Syaclu Mar Frisclts in dcr Spannung Manfred Gsteiger, "Individuality, lnterrelations and zwischen Mundart und Schriftsfiaclu, Quellen und For- Self-images in Swiss Literatwel' Modern Swßs Litera- schungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germa- ture. Unity and Diwrsity, ed. John L. Flood (New York: nischen Völker. Neue Folge 3l (Berlin: de Gruy'ter, St. Martin's, 1985) 13. 1969). '" "Das Problem sind nicht die Gegensätze, die Gegensät- " Karlheirz Ohle, Das Iü und das Andere. Grundzüge ze sind natürlich, schwer wiegt nur, dass nichts aus einer Soziolngic des Frcmden, Sozialwissenschaftliche diesen Gegensätzen entsteht, dass man die Chance Studien 15 (Stuttgart: Enke, f978) 82 ff. nicht ausnützt, diese Gegensätze zu haben, dass der " Peter Andr6 Bloch 47 ff., 96, 104; see note 18. 4 Deutschschweüer und der Welschschweizer aneinan- "Wir sckeiben prinzipiell in einer Kunstsprache, und der nicht interessiert sind. Wir brauchen gemeinsame das bringt bestimmte Probleme mit sich." (Hugo Loet- Aufgaben, Versuche nicht föderalistischer fut, Experi- scher); 'Ja, ich glaube, man kann sogar sagen, dass mente, Kontakte und Dialoge, die daraufzielen, unsere für den Schweizer Schriftsteller das Schreiben an sich Kulturen zu sumJnieren. . . Kultur als ein nationales ein bewusster Akt ist. . . . Das Schreiben an sich hebt Kapital ist eine Fiktion, Kultur ist nur das Lebendige, sich vom täglichen Gespräch ab." (Friedrich Dürren- das Schöpferische, das Wirkliche. Das behauptete Zu- matt);'Aus der schweizerischen Dialektsprache sammenleben ist eine Aufgabe, die nicht dadurch gelöst kommt ein Stilisierungszwang, den ein Hamburger Au- werden kann, dass man sich vor ihr dnickt. . . . Die tor unter Umständen nicht hat, weil er, wenn er von Schweiz ist beim Wort genommen. Ihre Aufgabe ist zu fubeitern spricht und diese sprechen lässt, auf einen sein, was sie behauptet zu sein." Quoted and translated Slang, etwa jenen der Hamburger Hafenarbeiter, zu- by Manfred Gsteiger 17. rückgreilen kann. Das können wir nicht. Das Problem " "Bei aller herzlichen Freundschaft, die uns im Privatle- stellt sich nattirlich vor allem beim Schreiben von Dia- ben mit Tausenden von deutschen Untertanen verbin- logen. Unter der Feder entsteht darur sofort eine zu det, bei aller Solidarität, die wir mit dem deutschen schöne Sprache." (Otto F. Walter) in Peter Andr6 Bloch Geistesleben pietätvoll spüren, bei aller Traulichkeit, 92 f.., 48, 150 f.; see note 18. die uns aus der gemeinsamen Sprache heimatlich anmu- 'n ". . . Die Gefahr ist insofern vorhanden, a.ls sicher alle tet, dürfen wir dem politischen Deutschland . . . gegen- Schweizer, die schreiben, zu voreiligen Stilisierungen über keine andere Stellung als gegenüberjedem andern neigen. Ein Vorwurf, den ich gern auf mir sitzen lasse, Staate: die Stellung der neutralen Zurückhaltung in die voreilige Stilisierung. Günter Grass ist ein Kenner freundnachbarücher Distanz diesseits der Grenze. . . . des helvetischen Problems, und er macht uns das zum Allen solchen Zumutungen gegenüber appellieren wir Vorwurf: 'Ihr stilisiert, ihr seid fürcherterliche Klassi- von dem wildgewordenen Freund an den normalen: ker' und so weiter." (Peter Bichsel) in Peter Andr6 friedlich-freundlichen, den wir nach Kriegsschluss wie- Bloch 34; see note 18. derzu findenhoffen . . . ."CarlSpitteler, UnserSchwei- 'o ". . . Was mir immer wieder auffdLlt, ist, wie zaghaft zer Slnndpunht. Vortrag, gehalten in dcr Neuen Helueti- der Schweizer mit seinem Dia.lekt umgeht. Es klingt schzn Cesellschtft, Gruppe Zürith, am 14. Dezember doch manchmal recht merkwüLrdig, wie sehr alles ins 1914 (Züich: Rascher, 1915) f0, ß. Hochdeutsche übersetzt wird. Jemand, bei dem ich es " "Die Tatsache, dass er [der Schweizer Schriftsteller] am deutlichsten sehe, wie es von der Schreibe und überhaupt eine Fremdsprache schreibt. . . ." (Adolf vom Gesprochenen her zusammenJliesst, ist zum Bei- "Da Muschg); wir also schon in einer fremden Sprache spiel Bichsel. Ja, der könnte meines Erachtens auch schreiben . . . ." (Hugo Loetscher) inDerSchiftsteller einen Schritt weiter gehen, in dieser Beziehung." (Gün- und sein Verhiiltnß zur Sprache-dargestellt am Pro- ter Grass) in Peter Andre Bloch, 169; see note 18. 6 blem der Tbmfuswahl. E ine Dokumutation zur Sprache Walter Höllerer, "Literaturstadt Ztirich. Diskussion mit und Likratur der Gegenwart. Gespräche und Werkann- Adolf Muschg und Reto Hänny," Sprarhe im technßchen lysen einer Arbeitsgruppe dts Deußchen Seminars dzr Zeitalter I02 (1987): 124. Uniuersitöt ( Basel, ed. Peter Andrd Bloch und '?? Martin Dahinden, Das Schweizerbuch im Zeitalter uon München: Francke, l97l) 120,92. Nationalsoznlismus und. Geistiger Landesaerteidigung 'u "Es gibt Kollegen, die dieses Dilemma als einzigartig (Bern: Lang, 1987). fiA einen Schweizer Schriltsteller betrachten. Diesen * Hugo Loetscher, "The Situation of the Swiss Writer Ueberlegungen kann ich nicht folgen. Vergleicht man atter 1945," * Modern Swiss Literature 28: see note lS. die Situation eines Schweizer Schriltstellers mit der Max Frisch, Nun singen sic wiefur. Versrch eines Re- von Autoren in anderen Kulturbereichen und vorab in quiems, Gesammelte Werke in zeitlicher Folge. Jubi- der Dritten Welt, wird man sehr bald feststellen, dass läumsausgabe in sieben Bänden. 1931-1986, ed. Hans diese in einem viel radikaleren Sinne mit dem Problem Mayer and Walter Schmitz, vol. 2 ( a.M.: konfrontiert sein können, nicht in der Sprache zu schrei Suhrkamp, 1986) 79-ß7. ben, in der sie reden. Verglichen damit nimrnt sich das s Hugo Loetscher 31. BöuI-rR: Swiss Literary Culture 307

3' Klara Obermüller, "Die Literatur der Gegenwart in der Cela dit, les arn6es d'adolescence ont leur importance. Schweb,," Deutsdre G egenwarßliteratur : Ausgangsposi- J'ai eu vingt ans pendant la guerre. [a Suisse restait tioncn und aktuelle Entwbhlungen, ed. Manfred Dur- en dehors des catastrophes, sans qu'on sache trös bien zak (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1981) 623. si elle 6tait une prison ou une usine travaillant pour P Bertrand Poirot-Delpech, ed., Entretbns auec LE Hitler. Je vivais sur une ile, ou sur un radeau emport6 MONDE. 2. Littiratures (Paris, 1984): "Je suis un wai au fil de I'eau. J'observais au loin le crdpuscule des Suisse, pas de doute lä-dessus! Ma langue natale est dieux, comme un spectateur. De lä sans doute ma le bernois, I'allemand est pour moi artificiel. Mais il n'y vision de lhistoire comme farce 6poulantable et grotes- a pas de litt6ratures nationales. Je vis ä Neuchätel pour que." AvecJacques l,e Rider, 12 septembre 1982: 66 f. avoü ma tranqrrillilf, mais je reste isol6, sans contact * Christoph Geiser, "Zum Oesterreicher werden. Ein avec une quelconque litt6rature suisse. Je ne vois au- Anfa\," Litfass. Zeißchift für Literatur, 11. Jahrgang, qui pour moi. Heft 43 (1987): 4-1i. cune tradition suisse aurait comptde -