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Mareike Giertler

E-Mail: giertler [at] grako-schrift.fu-berlin.de


Ph.D. Project

"Du hast nicht genug Achtung vor der Schrift … Kafka’s Aesthetics of Lettering"



As we will see, Kafka’s literature has its starting point and, at the same time, its destination in the lettering. This raises two questions:

  1. What are the literary consequences of a writing, which is based on the aesthetic dimension and the obstinacy of lettering?

  2. What is the adequate reading attitude towards a text, the visible surface of which shows only single letters?

As there is no explicit poetological text among Kafka’s writings the answer must be found in his literature. The first step will be the systematic compilation of those passages in Kafka’s work, which contain an explicit reference to lettering, the process of writing and reading. This is followed by a analysis of Kafka’s aesthetics of lettering in the typography/typeface itself on the basis of the first editions as they were authorised by the writer. This is where the reader gets in charge. His active intervention is needed for the first orientation within the text. Thus the structure of aesthetical reception already inscribed in the text appears, and the lettering becomes meaningful as interface of technique and art. Given on the one hand the claim of modern art (and literature) to reflect its own medium and determine its limits and on the other hand Kafka’s focus on lettering, the traditional linear reading becomes obsolete. That is why the attention will be drawn to the alternative non-linear perusals these texts require and the method that results from them.


Curriculum Vitae

Since 10/2008

Doctoral Fellow at the DFG Research Training Group "'Notational Iconicity': On the materiality, perceptibility and operativity of writing" at the Freie Universität Berlin


Lecturer, Department of German Philology and Literature at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin


M.A. Modern and medieval German Literature and Philosophy at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin


Research Assistant for Sfb 447 "Kulturen des Performativen" Projekt A1 "Repräsentation und Kinästhetik" at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin


Assistant at the Wilhelm Fraenger Institut, Berlin


Assistant at the German Historical Museum, Berlin


Assistant in the editorial office of the German Literature Research Magazine "Zeitschrift für Germanistik" at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


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