Gottfried Benn's Statische Gedichte (1948) and the Final ‘Turn’ towards the Poetic in the Work of Martin Heidegger
In 1949, Martin Heidegger published a collection of essays under the title Holzwege, which effectively represented his second and final 'turn' towards the establishment of the poetic as the central term in his philosophy. This paper contends that a major factor in Heidegger's development in this direction was the philosopher's discovery of the poetry of Gottfried Benn, whose Statische Gedichte had appeared just one year earlier. Focusing upon Heidegger's major essay of this period, 'Das Wesen der Sprache' (1957), this paper seeks to explicate the convergences, parallels and direct points of contact between Benn's poetry and Heidegger's theory, convergences that were both thematic and tropic. The mutual respect between Benn and Heidegger did not last, and the paper concludes by looking at the radically differing visions of modernity, a source of poetic inspiration for Benn but the site of historical negativity for Heidegger, that brought an end to their affiliation.
German Life and Letters
Literary Studies not elsewhere classified