Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Year in the Life of a Public Park: Route-Making, Vigilance and Sampling Time Whilst Walking
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 18; doi:10.3390/h7010018 -
Abstract
This paper offers a systematic, experimental, walking methodology to facilitate an ethnography of a major urban public park undertaken in the north-east of England in 2009–10. Ethnography puts the body in-place, placing the senses within the streams of life to be observed through
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This paper offers a systematic, experimental, walking methodology to facilitate an ethnography of a major urban public park undertaken in the north-east of England in 2009–10. Ethnography puts the body in-place, placing the senses within the streams of life to be observed through experience; walking is one means of so doing. Walking traditions have frequently been used to observe, record and analyse the minutiae of urban life, with recent qualitative methodologies seeking to use walking to underpin ethnographies. Walking must negotiate the specificity of place and time, with all walks taking place in a real-world of materially, spatially, complex, vital and rhythmic landscapes. My aim was to systematically capture some of these patterns. Ethnographies typically use sustained field-based immersion; yet, some research utilises sampling strategies to guide observational procedures. Combining these methodologies allowed me to develop a methodology with three objectives: to create a series of routes to be followed; routes which allowed me to both scan and closely observe distant, and proximate, surroundings; and to construct a diurnal, weekly “sampling” frame, which allowed me to “immerse” myself within the park’s life through repeatedly walking these routes, building up a picture of everyday life, whilst (hopefully) capturing unscheduled events. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Challenge of American Folklore to the Humanities
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 17; doi:10.3390/h7010017 -
Abstract
American Folklore consists of traditional knowledge and cultural practices engaged by inhabitants of the United States below Canada and above Mexico. American folklorists were influenced by nineteenth-century European humanistic scholarship that identified in traditional stories, songs, and speech among lower class peasants an
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American Folklore consists of traditional knowledge and cultural practices engaged by inhabitants of the United States below Canada and above Mexico. American folklorists were influenced by nineteenth-century European humanistic scholarship that identified in traditional stories, songs, and speech among lower class peasants an artistic quality and claim to cultural nationalism. The United States, however, appeared to lack a peasant class and shared racial and ethnic stock associated in European perceptions with the production of folklore. The United States was a relatively young nation, compared to the ancient legacies of European kingdoms, and geographically the country’s boundaries had moved since its inception to include an assortment of landscapes and peoples. Popularly, folklore in the United States is rhetorically used to refer to the veracity, and significance, of cultural knowledge in an uncertain, rapidly changing, individualistic society. It frequently refers to the expressions of this knowledge in story, song, speech, custom, and craft as meaningful for what it conveys and enacts about tradition in a future-oriented country. The essay provides the argument that folklore studies in the United States challenge Euro-centered humanistic legacies by emphasizing patterns associated with the American experience that are (1) democratic, (2) vernacular, and (3) incipient. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Out of Time, Out of Space, Out of Species: Deictic Displacement of the Exiled Self in Hans Sahl’s “Der Maulwurf” (The Mole)
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 16; doi:10.3390/h7010016 -
Abstract
In Hans Sahl’s poem “Der Maulwurf” (The Mole), only the title gives an indication about the speaker’s species affiliation. The speaker of the poem suggests that he was transformed from a human into an animal. This metamorphosis is not only physical, but also
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In Hans Sahl’s poem “Der Maulwurf” (The Mole), only the title gives an indication about the speaker’s species affiliation. The speaker of the poem suggests that he was transformed from a human into an animal. This metamorphosis is not only physical, but also seems to have had an impact on the position of the speaker regarding his position in time and space. In this article, I analyze temporal, spatial, and physiological changes in the poem, and I argue that they are indicative of a theme of displacement that is embodied in animal existence in the text. Specifically, these shifts construct an exiled lyric identity whose transformation from human to animal creates an experience of displacement on every pane of existence. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Challenge of Folklore to Medieval Studies
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 15; doi:10.3390/h7010015 -
Abstract
When folklore began to emerge as a valid expression of a people during the early stages of national romanticism, it did so alongside texts and artifacts from the Middle Ages. The fields of folklore and medieval studies were hardly to be distinguished at
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When folklore began to emerge as a valid expression of a people during the early stages of national romanticism, it did so alongside texts and artifacts from the Middle Ages. The fields of folklore and medieval studies were hardly to be distinguished at that time, and it was only as folklore began to develop its own methodology (actually analogous to medieval textual studies) during the nineteenth century that the fields were distinguished. During the 1970s, however, folklore adopted a wholly new paradigm (the “performance turn”), regarding folklore as process rather than static artifact. It is here that folklore offers a challenge for medieval studies, namely to understand better the oral background to all medieval materials and the cultural competence that underlay their uses. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Myth
by
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 14; doi:10.3390/h7010014 -
Abstract
Myth has become a fundamental frame of reference for Western thinking. This paper explores the term and category “myth” from the perspective of folklore studies, with concern for the use of myth as a tool in research. The ways in which myth has
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Myth has become a fundamental frame of reference for Western thinking. This paper explores the term and category “myth” from the perspective of folklore studies, with concern for the use of myth as a tool in research. The ways in which myth has been used in both academic and popular discourses are discussed. These are viewed in a historical perspective against the backdrop of the origins of the modern term. Attention is given to how historical patterns of use have encoded “myth” with evaluative stance-taking, building an opposition of “us” versus “them” into myth as something “other people” have, in contrast to us, who know better. Discussion then turns to approaching myth as a type of story. The consequences of such a definition are explored in terms of what it does or does not include; the question of whether, as has often been supposed, myth is a text-type genre, is also considered. Discussion advances to aesthetic evaluation at the root of modern discussions of myth and how this background informs the inclination to identify myth as a type of story on the one hand while inhibiting the extension of the concept to, for example, historical events or theories about the world or its origins, on the other. Approaching myth as a type of modeling system is briefly reviewed—an approach that can be coupled to viewing myth as a type of story. Finally, discussion turns to the more recent trend of approaching mythology through mythic discourse, and the consequences as well as the benefits of such an approach for understanding myth in society or religion. There are many different ways to define myth. The present article explores how different approaches are linked to one another and have been shaped over time, how our definition of myth and the way we frame the concept shape our thinking, and can, in remarkably subtle ways, inhibit the reflexive application of the concept as a tool to better understand ourselves. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Encounter with the Identical Other: The Literary Double as a Manifestation of Failure in Self-Constitution
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 13; doi:10.3390/h7010013 -
Abstract
Literary pieces featuring the double depict an encounter between the protagonist and another person, who is her identical other. Therefore they face various difficulties related to a threat cast on their unique identity, and this encounter challenges their process of self-definition. Martin Buber
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Literary pieces featuring the double depict an encounter between the protagonist and another person, who is her identical other. Therefore they face various difficulties related to a threat cast on their unique identity, and this encounter challenges their process of self-definition. Martin Buber sees the existence of the other as essential for the occurrence of self-constitution within an individual. He maintains that any person needs another person to obtain confirmation of what she is and is born equipped with the ability to confirm her fellow-person in the same way (1959). However, as the other encountered by a doppelgänger protagonist is not truly “other”, the latter might confront a difficulty in the different stages of Buber’s self-constitution process. This paper seeks to shed light on the inter- and intra-personal relationships depicted in literary pieces focusing on the theme of the double, such as The Double (Dostoyevsky [1846] 1997; Saramago 2002), Despair (1965), and Too Much Nina (Orbach 2011), emphasizing the limitations cast by the encounter with the identical other on the protagonist’s self-constitution, as put forward by Buber. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Seeing What’s Right in Front of Us: The Bone Clocks, Climate Change, and Human Attention
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 11; doi:10.3390/h7010011 -
Abstract
The scales on which climate change acts make it notoriously difficult to represent in artistic and cultural works. By modeling the encounter with climate as one characterized by distraction, David Mitchell’s novel The Bone Clocks proposes that the difficulty in portraying climate change
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The scales on which climate change acts make it notoriously difficult to represent in artistic and cultural works. By modeling the encounter with climate as one characterized by distraction, David Mitchell’s novel The Bone Clocks proposes that the difficulty in portraying climate change arises not from displaced effects and protracted timescales but a failure of attention. The book both describes and enacts the way more traditionally dramatic stories distract from climate connections right in front of our eyes, revealing, in the end, that the real story was climate all along. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Iconography for the Age of Social Media
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 12; doi:10.3390/h7010012 -
Abstract
An iconic photograph of Ieshia Evans’ arrest at a Black Lives Matter protest went viral on Twitter. Twitter users’ textual and visual responses to it appear to show recurring patterns in the ways users interpret photographs. Aby Warburg recognized a similar process in
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An iconic photograph of Ieshia Evans’ arrest at a Black Lives Matter protest went viral on Twitter. Twitter users’ textual and visual responses to it appear to show recurring patterns in the ways users interpret photographs. Aby Warburg recognized a similar process in the history of art, referring to the afterlife of images. Evaluating these responses with an updated form of iconography sheds light upon this tangled afterlife across multiple media. Users’ response patterns suggest new ways to develop iconological interpretations, offering clues to a systematic use of iconography as a methodology for social media research. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Humanities in 2017
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 10; doi:10.3390/h7010010 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Humanities maintains high quality standards for its published papers [...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Folklore and Sociolinguistics
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 9; doi:10.3390/h7010009 -
Abstract
Folklore and sociolinguistics exist in a symbiotic relationship; more than that, at points—in the ethnography of communication and in ethnopoetics, for example—they overlap and become indistinguishable. As part of a reaction to the formal rigor and social detachment of Chomsky’s theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics
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Folklore and sociolinguistics exist in a symbiotic relationship; more than that, at points—in the ethnography of communication and in ethnopoetics, for example—they overlap and become indistinguishable. As part of a reaction to the formal rigor and social detachment of Chomsky’s theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics emerges in the mid-twentieth century to assess the role of language in social life. Folklorists join the cause and bring to it a commitment to in-depth ethnography and a longstanding engagement with artistic communication. In this essay, I trace key phases in the development of this interdisciplinary movement, revolutionary in its reorientation of language study to the messy but fascinating realm of speech usage. I offer the concept of performative efficacy, the notion that expressive culture performances have the capacity to shape attitude and action and thereby transform perceived realities, as a means of capturing the continuing promise of a sociolinguistically informed folkloristics. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Post-Dictatorship Documentary in Chile: Conversations with Three Second-Generation Film Directors
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 8; doi:10.3390/h7010008 -
Abstract
No other medium has rejected the restorative narrative of Chile’s democratic state’s memory discourse as vigorously as documentary cinema. After the several democratic governments that succeeded the civic-military dictatorial alliance that ruled this nation uninterruptedly between 1973 and 1990, documentary films have resisted
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No other medium has rejected the restorative narrative of Chile’s democratic state’s memory discourse as vigorously as documentary cinema. After the several democratic governments that succeeded the civic-military dictatorial alliance that ruled this nation uninterruptedly between 1973 and 1990, documentary films have resisted monumental versions of historical memory by confronting the ambivalent nuances of the traumatic legacy of the dictatorship. Chilean documentarians have investigated, uncovered, and depicted the dictatorial state’s crimes, while offering testimonial space to survivors, and have also interrogated the perspectives of the dictatorship’s supporters, collaborators, and perpetrators while wrestling with an open dialectic of confrontational and reconciliatory gestures. More recently, this interest has intensified and combined with what is often described as a “boom” in second-generation personal-narration memory films. The present article includes the author’s conversations with the directors of three recent Chilean second-generation documentaries that explore the perspectives of former secret service collaborators: Adrian Goycoolea’s ¡Viva Chile Mierda! [Long Live Chile, Damn It!] (2014), Andrés Lübbert’s El color del camaleón [The Color of the Chameleon] (2017), and Lissette Orozco’s El pacto de Adriana [Adriana’s Pact] (2017). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Irony of ‘African Solidarity’ in Ousmane Sembene’s Mandabi
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 7; doi:10.3390/h7010007 -
Abstract
This paper deals with the misuse of the African traditional communal mode of living in modernizing post-colonial African societies that have been transformed by Western capitalism and individualism. In the impoverished community portrayed in Ousmane Sembene’s film Mandabi, this traditional communal mode
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This paper deals with the misuse of the African traditional communal mode of living in modernizing post-colonial African societies that have been transformed by Western capitalism and individualism. In the impoverished community portrayed in Ousmane Sembene’s film Mandabi, this traditional communal mode of living, to which people refer in colloquial term as “African solidarity”, is ironically used as a means to meet one’s individualistic and selfish needs at the expense of others; thus, turning it into a factor of social and economic regression. Mandabi also unveils and suggests a new form of hybrid and productive solidarity that fits better African post-colonial nations that have been affected by Western capitalism and individualism. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Folklore and the Hebrew Bible: Interdisciplinary Engagement and New Directions
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 6; doi:10.3390/h7010006 -
Abstract
This essay explores the rich interactions between the fields of folklore and biblical studies over the course of the 20th century until the present. The essay argues for the continued relevance of folklore and related fields to an appreciation of ancient Israelite cultures
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This essay explores the rich interactions between the fields of folklore and biblical studies over the course of the 20th century until the present. The essay argues for the continued relevance of folklore and related fields to an appreciation of ancient Israelite cultures and their artistic inventions. It concludes with several case studies that underscore the fruitful realizations that emerge from this sort of interdisciplinary humanistic work. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Nuclear Avenue: “Cyclonic Development”, Abandonment, and Relations in Uranium City, Canada
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/h7010005 -
Abstract
The rise and abandonment of Uranium City constitutes an environmental history yet to be fully evaluated by humanities scholars. 1982 marks the withdrawal of the Eldorado Corporation from the town and the shuttering of its uranium mines. The population declined to approximately 50
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The rise and abandonment of Uranium City constitutes an environmental history yet to be fully evaluated by humanities scholars. 1982 marks the withdrawal of the Eldorado Corporation from the town and the shuttering of its uranium mines. The population declined to approximately 50 from its pre-1982 population of about 4000. This article is inspired by findings from the authors’ initial field visit. As Uranium City is accessible only by air or by winter roads across Lake Athabasca, the goal of the visit in May 2017 was to gather information and questions through photographic assessment and through communication and interviews with residents. This paper in part argues that the cyclonic development metaphor used to describe single-commodity communities naturalizes environmental damage and obscures a more complicated history involving human agency. Apart from the former mines that garner remedial funding and action, the town site of Uranium City is also of environmental concern. Its derelict suburbs and landfill, we also argue, could benefit from assessment, funding, and remediation. Canada’s 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report provides a way forward in healing this region, in part by listening to the voices of those most affected by environmental impacts caused not by a metaphorical cyclone but by other humans’ decisions. As descendants of European immigrants to Turtle Island (the Indigenous term referring to North America), the authors are also subjects of the very terms—cyclonic development, abandonment, remediation—used to describe the history of the land itself: in this case, a mining town in the far northern boreal forests and Precambrian Shield. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Humanities for the Environment 2018 Report—Ways to Here, Ways Forward
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 3; doi:10.3390/h7010003 -
Abstract
We introduce the Humanities for the Environment (HfE) 2018 Report. The HfE 2018 Report consists of two publications; of which this Special Issue is one. The other is a special section of the journal Global and Planetary Change 156 (2017); 112–175. While
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We introduce the Humanities for the Environment (HfE) 2018 Report. The HfE 2018 Report consists of two publications; of which this Special Issue is one. The other is a special section of the journal Global and Planetary Change 156 (2017); 112–175. While the Humanities special issue may primarily reach our colleagues in the humanities disciplines; the Global and Planetary Change section reaches out to that journal’s primary readership of earth scientists. The HfE 2018 Report provides examples of how humanities research reveals and influences human capacity to perceive and cope with environmental change. We hope that the HFE 2018 Report will help change perceptions of what it is we do as humanities scholars. Full article
Open AccessArticle
“Time is Production”: Process-Art, and Aesthetic Time in Paul Valéry’s Cahiers
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 4; doi:10.3390/h7010004 -
Abstract
This paper offers a contextually inflected discussion of the extensive investment Paul Valéry makes in going beyond formal understandings of time. To this end it takes the processual work Cahiers as both a repository of insights, and a practical motor of conceptual creation
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This paper offers a contextually inflected discussion of the extensive investment Paul Valéry makes in going beyond formal understandings of time. To this end it takes the processual work Cahiers as both a repository of insights, and a practical motor of conceptual creation for new time concepts through its very writing and production. In a speculative engagement with Valérian concepts such as phase, prolongation as well as reconfigured relations between central categorical pairings such as quality-quantity and succession-simultaneity, the paper situates Valéry’s writings on time with regard to their ambiguously critical attitude to a given image of philosophy as a form of verbal exercise ungrounded in empirical observation of local systems. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Folk Drama
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 2; doi:10.3390/h7010002 -
Abstract
This article provides an overview of how scholars in the discipline of folklore have approached the topic of folk drama over the past one hundred fifty years, arguing that, despite relative neglect in the field, folk drama is a valuable window into culture
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This article provides an overview of how scholars in the discipline of folklore have approached the topic of folk drama over the past one hundred fifty years, arguing that, despite relative neglect in the field, folk drama is a valuable window into culture and should be taken more seriously. I begin with nineteenth century ideas about ritual drama that stem from Sir James Frazer. I then discuss the growing emphasis on context that emerged in the twentieth century, including overlaps between ideas about folk drama, performance, and theories of play more generally. I conclude by providing a brief overview of the relationship between play, drama, and politics, and suggest that contemporary digital realms, such as YouTube, offer a new ecology of folk drama that brings traditional questions about actors, context, play-frames, audience and transformation to the fore in new and interesting ways. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Toward a Generative Model of Legend: Pizzas, Bridges, Vaccines, and Witches
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/h7010001 -
Abstract
We propose a generative model of the legend. The model is elaborated based on two case studies, the first of contemporary storytelling related to vaccination on parenting blogs, and the second of historical storytelling related to witchcraft and folk healing in nineteenth century
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We propose a generative model of the legend. The model is elaborated based on two case studies, the first of contemporary storytelling related to vaccination on parenting blogs, and the second of historical storytelling related to witchcraft and folk healing in nineteenth century Denmark. The model reveals the interdependent levels of the multiscale model, solving a problem of poor fit related to many two level models of folklore genre structure. The model supports the study of rumor, and the dynamics of storytelling, including the hyperactive transmission state of “viral” stories. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
In Transit: Sebald, Trauma, and Cinema
Humanities 2017, 6(4), 101; doi:10.3390/h6040101 -
Abstract
Because Sebald’s books are preoccupied with historical catastrophe, particularly the Holocaust, critical commentaries have often interpreted them in terms of the transmission of traumatic memory. But this stress on the temporal relay from past to present and future generations has drawn attention away
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Because Sebald’s books are preoccupied with historical catastrophe, particularly the Holocaust, critical commentaries have often interpreted them in terms of the transmission of traumatic memory. But this stress on the temporal relay from past to present and future generations has drawn attention away from the emphasis on space and travel in Sebald’s work. In order to address this gap in Sebald criticism, this essay discusses three films that adapt and respond to Sebald’s work: Patience (After Sebald) (directed by Grant Gee, 2012), Terezin (directed by Daniel Blaufuks, 2010) and Austerlitz (directed by Stan Neumann, 2015). Because of the cinema’s constant movement between images and places, these films allow us to see more clearly the aspects of Sebald’s writings concerned with traveling and making connections between different archival spaces. The journeys in Sebald’s books and in these films inspired by them go beyond human life worlds to include non-human creatures, and beyond the realms of the living to include those inhabited by the dead. This suspension of the boundary between life and death, along with the restless movement from place to place, creates a relationship to memory and history that cannot be limited to the model of traumatic transmission. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Black Star: Lived Paradoxes in the Poetry of Paul Celan
Humanities 2017, 6(4), 100; doi:10.3390/h6040100 -
Abstract
Celan’s poetry is deemed universal and experimental, and its main characteristic is to “explore possibilities of sense-making.” His poetry is also acknowledged to be the apex of Jewish post-Holocaust poetry, contending with existentialist questions such as the existence God in the Holocaust and
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Celan’s poetry is deemed universal and experimental, and its main characteristic is to “explore possibilities of sense-making.” His poetry is also acknowledged to be the apex of Jewish post-Holocaust poetry, contending with existentialist questions such as the existence God in the Holocaust and the possibility of restoring Jewish identity. In this paper I will examine how Celan uses paradoxes in his poetry to create atheistic and skeptical expressions. The technique of paradox expresses the concurrent existence of two contradictory possibilities; the article will present three types of paradox typical of Celan’s poetry: (1) the affirmation and denial of the existence of God; (2) the mention of rituals from Jewish tradition, while voiding them of their conventional meaning; (3) the use of German, specifically, for the reconstitution of Jewish identity. My main argument is that paradox in Celan’s work creates a unique voice of atheism and skepticism, since it preserves the ideas that it rejects as a source for fashioning meaning. In order to explore how Celan constructs paradox, I will use Wittgenstein’s resolutions of the paradoxes that emerge from the use of language, and I will show how they illuminate Celan’s use of this technique. The article will examine three Wittgensteinian methods of resolving the paradoxes that Celan employs in his oeuvre: highlighting, containing, and dissolving. Full article