Be for meg også : Om forkrøpling og lengsel etter forløsning i moderne litteratur og poetikk

Sammanfattning: This thesis is concerned with the ways in which the biblical narrative of the Fall, and more specifically the predicament of creatureliness (connoting innocence as well as depravation), can be traced as a cryptotheological motif within widely dissimilar modernist poetics and literary strategies. Postsecular theory and the return to the apostle Paul in recent political theology provide the backdrop for the seemingly disparate approaches of my case studies. Their common theme may be spelled out as the “groaning of creation” and its call for possibly redemptive responses of literature and language. In the first case study, I argue that the postwar poet Paul Celan, influenced as he may be by the condemnation of informational, “fallen” language in the thinking of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin, reformulates the task of the poet into one of witnessing from within fallen language on behalf of fallen creatures. In the second case study, I compare two novels by the contemporary Norwegian authors Hanne Ørstavik and Kristine Næss, both of them dealing with a crisis of authorial legitimacy. Applying a psychoanalytic perspective, I suggest that whereas Ørstavik’s protagonist seems to suffer from a rigid fixation with a certain calling as mediated by the “paternal function”, Næss’ protagonist suffers from the lack of any such call. In the third case study, I discuss how the spirit of revenge animating the protagonist of Knut Hamsun’s debut novel Hunger (1890), is performatively deactivated. Through a complex series of negotiations on dignity, the sovereign power over “bare life” is transposed into a comic register. The notion of deactivation also plays a decisive role in Giorgio Agamben’s interpretation of Pauline messianism. In the fourth case study, I compare Agamben’s reading of Paul’s “now-time” with the Swedish author Lars Ahlin’s take on the same motif. I argue that while Agamben envisions the messianic calling simply as a deactivation of every calling, Ahlin inscribes it into the ethical relation to the neighbor. Following Walter Benjamin, this thesis outlines two distinct though interconnected visions of redemption: “profanation” on the one hand, releasing the creature from “mythical guilt”, manifested on various levels as the compulsion to repeat; and “remembrance” on the other hand, manifested as a receptivity for the unfinished, failed and thwarted in collective or personal history, demanding correction and fulfillment.