a little light reading

A few weeks ago I managed to pick up the theoretical reading for next years culture module. It’s on the German series heimat. We were in London this weekend, and I had taken it to dip into in case I got bored, or simply as a show of making the effort to study. I found, however, that I couldn’t put it down.

It would be futile for me to try to condense a 300+ page collection of essays into a simple blog entry. Needless to say, the German idea / conception of heimat, when read alongside freuds 1919 easy ‘das unheimliche’ gives one valuable insight into German culture. It is as if the second world war made the comforting concept of heimat, with its overtones of home and warmth, unheimlich in the same way that to a neurotic, what was once familiar becomes uncanny due to the oedipal complex.

Of course, this is a gross oversimplification. I need to read lots more, think on it too. Ultimately, however, one cannot help but feel sorry for the German people – the German idea of heimat seemed to go to the very core of German society, and was what they used to feel good about themselves. But heimat was the very thing which saw fascism rise to power. It seems this gave rise to a sort of ambiguity in German culture which needs to be exorcised.

I may have misunderstood it, which is why I need to read more. It seems to me, however, that the Americans may have a similar positionality these days with their fervent patriotism; are they too in for a similar fate?

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