Il personaggio di Rönne in Gehirne di Gottfried Benn: un passeggiatore solo a spasso per la città invisibile

Stefania Sbarra


Dr. Werff Rönne, the protagonist of Gottfried Benn’s novella cycle Gehirne (1916), is a sort of solitary walker in occupied Brussels during
World War I. Described by Helmut Lethen as the «eye of the hurricane
», Brussels is hardly mentioned in Benn’s prose and the metropolitan
dimension of the setting seems to be marginalized as well. Rönne
is from the beginning of the cycle intellectually bankrupt, which prevents
him from being a “blasé” à la Simmel, while Brussels is rather the
stage of a «mise-en scene of the protagonist’s psychic state» (Huyssen).
Focussing on the intersections between science, philosophy and poetics
in some of Benn’s early works (Gespräch, Unter der Großhirnrinde)
thematically connected to Rönne’s development, this paper shows
how the delimited urban space in Gehirne is only the first step towards
the aesthetic experience of the dissolution of the limits (Entgrenzung)
in the project of a ‘new syntax’


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