Psychological Models of Masculinity in DÖblin, Musil, and Jahnnmännliches, Allzumännliches

Author: Kingerlee, Roger
This book offers original interpretations of three great German-language novels from the 1920s, showing how ecological and feminist debates of today had already been initiated by men at that time. It examines Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz; Robert Musil’s The Man without Qualities, and Hans Henny Jahnn’s Perrudja. Together, these novels illustrate how notions of masculinity had become problematic even by the 1920s; and suggest how increased self-awareness can improve men’s lives. “Dr. Kingerlee’s level-headed and well-informed reading of these notorious complex texts not only makes them accessible to the apprehensive reader, it also convincingly rescues at least one of them from crass accusations of extreme male chauvinism. . . . one of the major virtues of this highly original book is that it provokes one to ask questions about maleness and selfhood and to test out one’s answers against those which are explored in the literary texts under discussion.” – Richard Sheppard


“Roger Kingerlee’s study of psychological models of masculinity offers both a general overview of a topic of considerable socio-political relevance, and a penetrating study of three particular works by writers who are widely recognized to be of huge importance in the history of modern literature. . . . likely to appeal to readers in such fields as sociology and psychoanalysis, and as a substantial and original contribution to the interpretation of German modernist texts. . . . Kingerlee is able to deploy his theoretical sources, such as the work of one of Germany’s most significant living sociologists, Klaus Theweliet, in such a way as to bring to life the psychological insight of these texts; as a result, his study is likely to be a major reference point for future work on these novels.” – Paul Bishop

“This book aims to do more than extend the application of gender critique to some classic modernist texts. Kingerlee adopts a critical stance towards the perspectives on male sexuality established by Klaus Theweleit in Miinnerphantasien (Frankfurt a.M.: Roter Stern, 1977), Andrew Webber in Sexuality and the Sense of Self in Musil and Trakl (London: MHRA, 1990), and Maria Tatar in Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), and provides readings of Dablin's Berlin Alexanderplatz, Musil's Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, and Jahnn's Perrudja which bring out the senses in which these texts themselves present a critique of aggressive or 'heroic' masculinity. That critique, he rightly observes, owes much to the analytical discussion of human personality prompted since the 1 880s by the writings of Nietzsche, Ernst Mach, Freud, Jung, and a number of other psychological theorists. It is a consistent strength of Kingerlee's textual analysis that he is able to relate specific motifs and specific perspectives on gender reliably to theoretical assumptions which were current when the literary works in question were being written, including works on Taoism which strongly influenced thinking about the complementarity of male and female principles … by examining these three texts alongside each other, he provides an illuminating study of the contribution that literary writing was making in the 1920S to the revision of gender assumptions. It will be welcomed as an informative basis for further research in this area.” – MLR, 99.1, 2004

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword by Professor Ritchie Robertson
1. Psychological and Sexological Models of Masculinity up to 1933
2. Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz : The Cultural Context
3. Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz: The Critique of Hyper-Masculinity
4. Robert Musil’s The Man without Qualities: The Cultural Context
5. Robert Musil’s The Man without Qualities: Rejuvenating the Male
6. Hans Henny Jahnn’s Perrudja: The Cultural Context
7. Hans Henny Jahnn’s Perrudja: The Melancholic Male
8. Overview
Bibliography; Index