Reinvigorating Albert Ehrenstein’s Tubutsch through Nietzsche’s “Eternal Return of the Same”

Michael L. Koch


Albert Ehrenstein was widely published in the early 20th century but is now read so rarely as to be considered one of Austria’s “forgotten” literary figures. His early prose work Tubutsch comprises a justifiably popular exception thanks to its remarkable proto-existentialist undertones. Like many writers classified as “Expressionist,” Ehrenstein’s works reveal some signs of Nietzsche’s influence. Indeed, Ehrenstein appears to make a direct reference to the “eternal return of the same,” Nietzsche’s difficult “thought of thoughts,” in Tubutsch. Ehrenstein’s indirect and seemingly discursive, even humorous, approach to the “ewige Wiederkehr des Gleichen” might offer an alternative to dealing with troublesome philosophical matters like Nietzsche’s. Language has limitations when attempting to describe explicitly such cogitations, and when the “ewige Wiederkehr” is mentioned in Tubutsch, Ehrenstein implicitly suggests that some mediation is required to communicate the “thought of thoughts”—such as metaphors, intoxication, questioning, humor, and/or non-verbal, visual arts.

View Full Text

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.