Gottfried Benn

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Benn, Gottfried


Born May 2, 1886, in Mansfeld; died July 7, 1956, in West Berlin. German writer and art theoretician.

Benn participated in World War I as a doctor, and in World War II he served in the ranks of Hitler’s army. The first collections of his poems, Morgue (1912) and Sons (1913), marked the beginning of German expressionist poetry. In his poetry Benn drew deformed pictures of life and death in a big city. The collections Flesh (1917), Rubbish (1919), and Splintering (1925) are inspired by the same pessimism. In 1933, Benn tried to cooperate with the Nazis, but he soon realized the inhumanity of their ideology, and from 1935 the Nazi press began to persecute him. After 1945, his absolute hostility toward the world became sharper, as is apparent in his collections Static Verses (1948) and Distillation (1953) and in his surrealistic prose piece Ptolemäer (1949). Benn’s essays Must Poetry Improve the World? (published in 1957) expresses his mood of hopelessness, whereas art has become for Benn a sort of absolute.


Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1–4. [Wiesbaden, 1958–60.]
Den Traum alleine tragen. Wiesbaden [1966].
Doppelleben [Munich, 1967.]


Lohner, E. Gottfried Benn: Bibliographie, 1912–1956. Wiesbaden, 1958.


References in periodicals archive ?
The painful rendering of a double-faced Giinter Grass quadruples in torment when discovering the deeply psychic division of Gottfried Benn, whose autobiographical Doppelleben grossly underestimates the consequences of a life ruptured by history and circumstance.
Gottfried Benn, who established his reputation as an Expressionist poet with his 1912 lyric cycle Morgue und andere Gedichte, counts as one of the most scandalous amongst German Expressionists: Critics deemed his poems, which revolved around bodies in decay disgusting, perverted, and brutal.
This anthology is full of intriguing references to modern European literary and artistic figures, including such stars of the cultural Right as Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Gottfried Benn, and T.
Rilke, Brecht, and Gottfried Benn, and some of the great poems, e.
East German thinkers like Gottfried Benn retreated inward.
In the letter I found on that insomniac night, he wrote of our time together at the University of Texas, of his recent poems, and of how he was able to keep writing accompanied by his cat Raphael, his wines, his Gottfried Benn and his Kurt Schwitters and his Stravinsky.
Ezra Pound, Knut Hamsun, Curzio Malaparte, and even Gottfried Benn (whose "Answer to the Literary Emigrants" [1933] remains the most eloquent excuse for political blindness ever written) have long been embraced by the literary canon.
Thus the poet Gottfried Benn, with whom she had a brief affair, became King Giselheer in numerous poems.
But exile was not the option chosen by dramatists and writers who remained in the Reich (for example, Gerhard Hauptmann, Georg Kaiser, Ernst Wiechert, Richard Strauss, William Furtwangler, Ricarda Huch, Hans Carossa, Gottfried Benn, Ernst Junger, and Walter von Molo), and even after the War writers such as Frank Thiess claimed that their presence in the Reich was an expression of the unique exile known as Die Innere Emigration (Inward Emigration)--a status which Theatre under the Nazis, unfortunately, only suggests.
With some authors, like Gottfried Benn, a lifelong model of production can be followed through three or four wives: Benn consciously reworked, inscribed, the bodies of these women.
His dissertation on Gottfried Benn doubtless reinforced this outlook, as did his subsequent work at Kiepenheuer & Witsch.
Part II: 1900" focuses on Neitzche and the typewriter, although he does include Freud, Gottfried Benn, and Stefan George as products of a technological age that marked the dissolution of the "Mother's Mouth" that gave universality and wholeness to the literature of the previous age.