R. Gray

German 390/Comp. Lit. 396/Engl 363/CHID 498/JSIS 488/Lit 298

"Freud and the Literary Imagination"



Bachmann's Franza and the Critique of Culture



Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), in his "Theses on the Philosophy of History," wrote about the process of history and of writing the history of cultures and civilizations:


"Whoever has emerged victorious [from wars and historical conflicts] participates to this day in the triumphal procession in which the present rulers step over those who are lying prostrate. According to traditional practice, the spoils are carried along in the procession. They are called cultural treasures, and a historical materialist views them with cautious detachment. For without exception the cultural treasures he surveys have an origin which he cannot contemplate without horror. They owe their existence not only to the efforts of the great minds and talents who have created them, but also to the anonymous toil of their contemporaries. There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism. And just as such a document is not free of barbarism, barbarism taints also the manner in which it was transmitted from one owner to another."


Consider this statement in the context of Franza and MartinÕs trip to Egypt and its relevance to her own "case" history.