131st MLA Annual Convention 2016

Aktivität: ForschungKonferenzen

Ulrike Steierwald - Sprecher*in

Vortrag: Illness as Text - Aesthetical Denial of Diagnosis. Vortrag

Illness as Text
Aesthetical Denial of Diagnosis
The coincidence of the discourse of medicine and aesthetics has been a specific interplay since the enlightenment which is characterized by diagnostics, observation and determination. Psychological diagnostics and classification are unthinkable without social agreement and fixation of pathological indicators. The specific criteria for the classification of illness depend on the thinking of origin, sexuality, inheritance and evolution which determine the physiological and psychological standards and disorders particularly represented in the aesthetics of body and soul. These iconic and linguistic representations of disorder are strikingly relevant in contemporary literature as well as in the arts. Based on Illness as metaphor by Susan Sontag I shall try to figure out an alternative reading of illness as text. It’s about the materiality of the human body and the stories it tells.
My contribution outlines the contradictions encountered when literally configurations of bodies elude the determinations of diagnosis and interpretation. It lays stress on specific feminist approaches. Writers as well as protagonists of contemporary visual arts, for example Nathalie Djurberg or Eva Kotátková, undermine the powerful historical tradition of physical imposition, separation and ejection. Literary texts in German language by Friederike Mayröcker, Herta Müller, Kathrin Schmidt or Elfriede Jelinek, to name but a few, embody mental and physical conditions creating a literary space for being beyond medical disciplinary measures.
131st MLA Annual Convention 2016