Das Öffnen und Schließen (der Grenze) : Paradoxe Alteritätsstrukturen in K. H. Strobls Tschechen

Title in English Opening and Closing (the Border) : Paradoxical Alterity in K. H. Strobl's Essay Tschechen


Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Vorstellungen vom Anderen in der tschechisch- und deutschsprachigen Literatur : Imaginationen und Interrelationen
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords identity; alterity; imagology; nationalism; essayism; Moravia; Austria; Czechoslovakia
Description Karl Hans Strobl (1877–1946), an Austrian/Sudeten-German author and a staunch nationalist, published his book of essays Tschechen (The Czechs) in 1920, shortly after Czechoslovakia was formed and its German-speaking population became a minority in the new state. In his essays, Strobl attempts to fathom the ‘essence’ of the Czechs and locate it in opposition to the ‘essence’ of the Germans. On the level of verbal declaration, he constructs vigorous oppositions between the nations, as expected, with respect to race, policy and culture. However, when attempting to support his view of clear national delimitations with concrete examples, he — or at least his reader — observes a different semantic movement: the disparity fades conspicuously. Strobl insists on national narratives of the history of Central Europe to maintain (the illusion of) two separate nations, cultures and ‘minds.’ The paper tries to explain why Strobl cannot see the obvious implications of his examples, and continues to insist on the essential nature of the national dichotomies.
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