Spiel mit dem klassischen Erbe: Volker Brauns Iphigenie in Freiheit

Corina L. Petrescu


This article analyzes Volker Braun’s understanding of world history as theatrum mundi as depicted in the text Iphigenie in Freiheit (1992). Braun sees mankind’s history as perpetually determined by forces beyond an individual’s control, by war, and by murder, and suggests that the only way to escape this vicious circle is by renouncing violence. How then, Braun asks, is one to embrace this new, right(eous) way of life after the loss of belief in a political system’s utopian potential? By analyzing Braun’s engagement with fragments of German dramas from the 18th to the 20th centuries, namely Lessing’s Philotas, Büchner’s Dantons Tod and Brecht’s Der Untergang des Egoisten Johann Fatzer, I show that while Braun’s text proclaims the death of utopia, by continuing to write, Braun confirms that ultimately he still believes in mankind’s salvation through fiction. However, he also realizes that unlike the classical texts, post-modern fiction is unable to mediate transcendence. It can only polemicize with itself and the world. (CP)

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.