The article deals with the closure of the, mostly Middle High German, courtly romance, taking as primary example Heinrich von Veldeke’s Eneide. ‘Courtly closure’ is defined as a slow and tenacious fading of narrative progression, by means of gradually transforming this progression into a virtually static state, namely, the description of an enduring courtly feast. It is argued that this way of bringing a romance or a novel to its end – unusual in the course of European literary history – is motivated by several factors. Amongst these, special attention is paid to media history (episodic narration, recital) and to cultural poetics (didactic qualities of the courtly romance).
When it comes to the ‘end’, music and what it is connected with – certain practices, dance, text – mutually enrich each other. Phrasings and movements occur as smaller units of any motion and therefore as breaks and endings of very different kinds and dosages. In a song, the text is finished earlier than the music. Due to the convincing force of emotionality, music can help to end ‘illogical’ action where logic is impossible. How music ends by itself only becomes problematic when it is not bound to words or action. What is needed are rituals and fixed cadential formulas, which often are at odds with whatever has been dealt with before.
Schoenberg did not intend his opera Moses and Aron to be a tragedy. The two acts he composed, which end tragically with Moses’ desperate breakdown, were to be followed by a third act, which would have ended with Moses’ resilience, Aron’s death, and a positive message. Schoenberg, however, did not manage to compose the finished text, although he had plenty of time to do so. Even though Schoenberg never wanted to admit this, the opera found its ultimate, unsurpassable ending with the tragic end of the second act.
After briefly outlining the vocabulary of closure and endings in Greek tragedy, this article analyses three possible features of closure: (1) lament (kommos), (2) deus ex machina combined with an aetiological myth (almost exclusively in Euripides), and (3) a gnomic coda spoken by the chorus. All three types of ending remain external to the plot and do not resolve the dramatic conflict. The paper then looks at two case studies from dramas centered on the same myth, i.e. the campaign of the Seven against Thebes in Aeschylus’ play of the same name and in Euripides’ Phoenissae. The endings of these tragedies have provoked much discussion regarding their textual transmission and reconstruction. I discuss how and when the action seems to be ‘fulfilled’, and contrast the strong closure of Aeschylus’ play with the “hypertextual mythical continuity” (Lamari) of Euripides’ drama.
Lists and catalogues play an integral role in collective memory: since antiquity, victims of acts of violence have been remembered on monuments that list their names. Such lists of victims can also be found in the medieval tradition of the Troy story. At the end of several texts about the Trojan war, there is a list of those who were killed on the battlefields. Building on historiographic practices, these lists become an attempt to complete and thereby close the story of the Trojan heroes in the aftermath of the war. At the same time, they open up a space in which the war and its promise of glory are cast in a critical light – what remains of many battles is not the heroes’ fame but futile deaths. The article is rounded off by an analysis of Alice Oswald’s poem Memorial (2011), which uses the name list of the Trojan war victims to reflect on memory and loss in a similar vein.
As part of the discussion on the poetics of endings, this paper looks at Shakespeare’s early Roman revenge tragedy as a particularly rich case study. Readers, spectators, and critics of Titus Andronicus have long been puzzled and sometimes annoyed by the sense of uncertainty and irresolution which this play seems to leave us with, even though its final speeches take us through the motions of a strong conclusion. Recent criticism has especially focussed on the figure of the new emperor, whose words close the tragedy with traditional burial orders but whose authority remains in doubt. My paper reopens the case by drawing also on two German adaptations, Heiner Müller’s Anatomie Titus Fall of Rome (1984) and Botho Strauß’s Schändung (2005), as heuristic texts to highlight fundamental ruptures that are at stake here. Trying to put the question of endings also into the religious context of the English Reformation and into the culture of the playhouse, the paper argues that Shakespeare’s dramatic non-ending in Titus may indeed be quite productive.
Dieser Beitrag untersucht die epistemologische, poetische und topographische Funktion des Bett-Motivs in literarischen Traumerzählungen und nimmt dabei Bezug auf Freuds Topologie des Traums und Foucaults Konzept der Heterotopie. Es kann beobachtet werden, dass in Prousts Recherche und Kafkas Verwandlung die Rhetorik des Bettes als Medium des Traumwissens und als epistemologische Heterotopie fungiert.