Moses Rosenkranz, the Bukovina and the concept of Sprache als Heimat
The aim of this study is to present the poet Moses Rosenkranz from the Bukovina and to examine how Heidegger's phrase Sprache als Heimat applied to the life and works of this particular poet and his environment. The first section looks at Rosenkranz's biography within the context of the Bukovina, where many people grew up speaking German, Ruthenian, Romanian, Yiddish and Polish. This placed the authors from the region in a particularly favourable context for having first-hand knowledge of the way language could or could not become an ersatz home for them in everyday life once their own homes had been lost. The second part of the thesis investigates the way loss affected Rosenkranz's writing and the conditions Heidegger saw as necessary for an encounter with Dasein. This revealed some of the details of Heidegger's understanding of the words `existence', `language' and `Heimat' which could not correspond to Rosenkranz's relationship to language or belonging. The third part of the thesis considers ways in which a sense of belonging could be recreated in writing. Rosenkranz's relationship with words and the material realities it involved were analysed by using his autobiography, his poems and the letters he wrote to his first wife Anna Ruebner-Rosenkranz. Paul Celan, as the most significant poet from the Bukovina, is often cited as a means of comparing the two writers and in order to convey a fuller picture of the literary area. Comparing Heidegger's thoughts on language and home with the way Rosenkranz and other Bukovina poets understood the two concepts provided new material for an interpretation of Sprache als Heimat in terms of the relationship between writer and reader. This revealed that the understanding of language in the works of the Bukovina authors was actually closer to the conclusions on language reached by the philosopher Levinas than to those of Heidegger. Levinas shows how the relationship to the other, to whom language is addressed, can become the real reason for writing and the point where language and belonging meet.
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