Cover Sonderausgabe # 3

Autor und Werk. Wechselwirkungen und Perspektiven

Special Issue # 3

Edited by Svetlana Efimova

Author and work, two basic concepts in modern literature and literary studies, become once again the center of interest in contemporary research. In the wake of this reception, interaction and reciprocity between authors and their work, as well as structures and processes are considered and simultaneously address implicitly or explicitly the mediality and materiality of literature. This special issues explores the relationship and its implications of these two categories ›author‹ and ›work‹.

Autor und Werk: Dynamik eines (un-)problematischen Verhältnisses

Michel Foucault described »the author and the work« as a »fundamental unity« of literature; after having undergone a crisis, both categories have once again taken center stage in contemporary research. How do author and work interact with each other? How does the work become a scene of literary interrelations: between author and reader, between structure and process, between subjectivity, mediality and the materiality of literature? This paper proposes a concept of a dynamic interplay of forces that enacts an oscillation between interdependence and competition. This concept can be applied as a model to many interrelations that inhabit the conflicted grounds of a literary work.


Post-structuralism, as it is presented in this article, challenges both structuralism and intentionalism. On the one hand, it claims that an engagement with the text is an engagement with a practice of writing. On the other hand, it denies that the author is the source of meaning. It proposes a non-reductive behaviorist conception of language and it attempts to de-psychologize psychology. Having a meaning is not to be understood as a relation between a word and a meaning, but rather in terms of having a purpose or value in the context of someone’s behavior. Similarly, having a mind is not to be understood as a relation between the person and an inner place where his thoughts are located, but rather in terms of having a range of abilities.


This paper argues in favor of a symmetrical relationship between author and work. Starting from Heinrich Bosse’s concept ›Werkherrschaft‹ I explore the factors which are destabilizing this concept, i.e. the authorial control over the work (e.g. writing, absence of the author). Following this, the paper focuses on Niklas Luhmann’s idea that a work of art ›programs‹ itself—beyond the control of the author (»Selbstprogrammierung des Kunstwerks«). A close reading of Jean Paul’s »Ankündigung der Herausgabe meiner sämtlichen Werke« (1822) (»Announcement of Publication of my Complete Works«) finally leads to a discussion of the ambiguous interrelation between author and work.

Ekaterina Vassilieva

This article is based on the observation that the publication of the first French anthology of Russian formalists coincided with Foucault's intensified interest for the problem of the writing subject which culminated in his 1969 lecture What Is an Author?

While Foucault, who is known for his blurring of sources, does not explicitly reference the formalists, one can observe a whole range of noticeable points of contact between his thinking and the formalist treatment of the »literary personality«. By reading the relevant texts in parallel  this article uses the both positions to reciprocally illuminate each other and investigates their hidden traces to make a contribution towards a clearer picture of the theories.

Dynamische Konzepte vom Werk im Prager Strukturalismus (Jan Mukařovský und Milan Jankovič) und in der Posthermeneutik (Dieter Mersch)

The structuralism of Prague School literary criticism, as expounded by Jan Mukařovský and his student Milan Jankovič, as well as the posthermeneutics formulated by the German art philosopher Dieter Mersch conceive of a work of art as processual and dynamic in nature. As part of this understanding, both utilize the concept of the gesture: In Mukařovský's aesthetics, the ›semantic gesture‹ represents a core concept, instrumental in grasping the appellative structure of a work of art, whereas for Dieter Mersch, the gesture stands for the processuality of perpetual deferral in a work of art's meaning. The parallel reading of both models also encompasses the attitude towards their engagement with literary theory: Impeded by the Iron Curtain, for a long time the mutual reception of Western and East Central European theory could take place only covertly, or failed to take place altogether.

Julia Nantke

The multiplication of authorship represents a central paradigm of digital literary production which stands in opposition to the traditional modern perspective towards the relation of authorship and work. The essay distinguishes different forms of multiplication of authorship in digital literature and analyses the relevant shifts in the relation of authorship and work that are caused by the digital paradigm. The essay focusses upon the consequences for the scientific observation of the parameters authorship and work in literary studies. Alternative concepts of coherence in digital works and a change in the scholarly perspective on processes of literary production are outlined as relevant implications of the described shifts.

Cordula Lemke

This essay explores the way in which the biography of the notorious Scottish writer Robert Burns has made his work almost disappear behind the overpowering mythmaking around his person. The fact that any attempt at creating a unifying reading of his work is always frustrated by the diversity of topics and positions of his poems has spawned a number of biographical approaches that seek to create congruence between author and work. Although Burns’ biography does not suggest unity either, it has become a mythical entity that serves as a catalyst for the creation of his canon; a canon that enables more mythmaking regarding his persona and thus further deflects from Burns’ oeuvre.

Caroline Schubert
Gesten der Fiktionalisierung bei E.T.A. Hoffmann

If a tomcat were to write, he would frequently drop ink blots onto the paper, would tear it apart, would use it as scratch paper – as is the case when Kater Murr writes his Lebens-Ansichten. Via the act of writing, as is manifest in Murr’s ink blots and in Hoffmann’s manuscripts, E.T.A. Hoffmann carries out a self-fictionalization of himself as editor and of his pet as author. The theoretical concept of the act of writing as gesture captures this performative relation: It connects the self-performance of the fictional text and the dissolution of the concept of an authorship located outside of the text with the corporal and medial performance that binds together body, thing and sign within a liminal space.

Veröffentlichung und Werkwerdung am Beispiel von Max Frischs ›Berliner Journal‹

The act of publication has scarcely been researched in literary studies, despite its often-stated relevance for the configuration of works. Looking at the example of Max Frischs From the Berlin Journal which was blocked for publication for twenty years, this contribution seeks to scrutinize the medial, institutional, and praxeological aspects of its becoming a work. Based on this analysis the author argues for a differentiation between a wide and narrow concept of publication that allows to treat works as events of an ongoing and unstable institutionalization of texts.

Zur Konzeption von Autorschaft bei Rainald Goetz

This article takes a closer look on texts written by or showing Rainald Goetz on TV. The approach for those texts lies in the process of Barthesʼ models of authorship as well as Leslie A. Fiedlers’ demanded renewal of the novelist and the radical change of the printed book. The context of selected audio-visual examples in comparison to Subito, Dekonspiratione, and Abfall für Alle and the semiotic analysis thereto, illustrates a model of authorship bound to the perspective of perception. Furthermore, the younger examples focus in particular on an extension of the writer’s function in terms of its characteristics as a second-order critic.

MarieLindskov Hansen
Autofiktion und Intertextualität im Roman »Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet« von Bjørn Rasmussen

In this chapter, two modes of autobiographical narration are being investigated: the use of intertextuality and the skin as topos, symbol, and motif along with its potential to communicate autobiographical matters. Given these alternative modes of autobiographical narration and ultimately the fact, that Bjørn Rasmussen is creating his own autobiography through intertextual fragments, the novel evolves into as a distorted and doubled autofiction. The author’s supposed inability to write his own autobiography is connected directly to a dissolving language, which leads to an investigation of the skin as a border between the inner and outer world as well as a place for narrative and communicative acts.


The special issue # 3 of Textpraxis. Digitales Journal für Philologie (2.2018) has been published November 1, 2018.


Dr. Svetlana Efimova 

Editorial Management:

Sona Arasteh-Roodsary
Ina Batzke
Aaron Carpenter
Lea Espinoza Garrido
Thomas Kater
Kerstin Mertenskötter
Laura Reiling
Mathaabe Schick
Janneke Schoene
Levke Teßmann
Kerstin Wilhelms
Elisabeth Zimmermann


Dr. Heinrich Bosse (Freiburg)
Prof. Dr. Jan-Oliver Decker (Passau)
Dr. Stephan Ehrig (Durham)
Dr. Thomas Ernst (Amsterdam)
Prof. Dr. Joachim Grage (Freiburg)
PD Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts (Mainz / Edinburgh)
Dr. Jørgen Sneis (Bielefeld)
Prof. Dr. Susanne Strätling (Potsdam)
Dr. Magnus Wieland (Bern)
Prof. Dr. Irina Wutsdorff (Tübingen)
Prof. Sandro Zanetti (Zürich)

Cover: Patrick Tomasso

ISSN 2191-8236