In Heiner Müller's Germania Death in Berlin the German revolution symbolically dies in the form of the communist worker Hilse. However, Hilse's death is caused not by the stones flung by the class enemy during the uprising of 17 June 1953, but by cancer. Communism not only faces the assaults of its enemies; it has itself become mortally ill and dies of a disease caused by civilization, a Zivilisationskrankheit. Before his death Hilse once again conjures up the vision of red flags flying over Rhine and Ruhr, the ideal of a proletarian revolution throughout the whole of Germany. But this is merely the dream of a delirious old man on his deathbed. The class struggle comes to a standstill within the status quo of the Cold War. The young generation of GDR citizens does its best to settle into the petty bourgeois joys of the new housing estates. (1)
From the late sixties onwards, Heiner Müller's diagnosis of socialism emphasizes its stagnation and petrification, which derive from the fact that there is now no prospect of revolution in the Western industrial nations in the foreseeable future. The 'socialist bloc' is forced to wall itself in, to practice damage control and to prepare itself for a long period of 'waiting for history.' Heiner Müller's central theme, indeed obsession, in the seventies and eighties is the question of how the dying communist idea can be restored to life. (2)
sees the origin of the plight of the socialist revolution in Germany in the failure of the Spartacist Uprising in January 1919, by the end of which Rosa Luxemburg had been murdered. With this act the German revolution was 'decapitated.' (3) As a result of this Fall, German communism was forced to enter a relationship of complete dependence on the Soviet Union.
Müller also derives the triumph of National Socialism from this catastrophe befalling the German revolution, a catastrophe finding its symbolic expression in the death of the martyr Luxemburg. The war machinery of National Socialism, Müller explains in the eighties, was 'bundled left energy' (gebündelte linke Energie).
(4) That is to say, the suppressed revolutionary energies of the German proletariat were absorbed and instrumentalized by National Socialism. The forces which National Socialism was able to utilize through this rechannelling of revolutionary energy were then turned against the Soviet Union. In the guise of the Red Army, however, this proletarian energy returns to Germany and, with the emergence of the GDR, takes on the form of a state. In the wake of the Soviet victors, the German communists return as defeated victors: they come to power, but do so as governors for an occupying power rather than on the foundation of a revolution.
In 'Die Wunde Woyzeck,' Müller's speech given in 1985 on the occasion of his accepting the Büchner Prize, Woyzeck represents a German proletariat never able to liberate itself from heteronomy: 'Woyzeck still shaves his captain, eats the prescribed peas, torments his Marie with the dullness of his love.´ (5) In the GDR, under the rule of the 'Woyzecks in power,' as Heiner Müller once put it, the German working class has 'become a state, surrounded by ghosts.' The historical 'ghosts' which surround the German proletariat submitting gloomily to its fate are the traumas of its history in the twentieth century:
the failed revolution of 1918/19, National Socialism, the War with its disastrous turning point at Stalingrad, the division of Germany, the Wall. Woyzeck, the German proletarian, has always allowed himself to be used in the interests of those in power and has ultimately, so to speak, had to lie in the bed they have made for him. In his speech, Müller refers to the soldier Runge, who carried out the order to execute Rosa Luxemburg, as Woyzeck's 'bloody brother/`
a proletarian tool of the murderers of Rosa Luxemburg; his prison is called Stalingrad, where the murder victim confronts him in the mask of Kriemhild; her memorial stands on Mamaia Hill, her German monument, the Wall in Berlin, the tank column of the revolution, coagulated into politics. (6)
As once Kriemhild was forced to make Atilla's Huns the instrument of her revenge for Siegfried's death because the Nibelungen stood fast in their allegiance to his murderer, so too it was a foreign power which had to avenge the German revolution because 'the Woyzecks' went to war for the murderers of Rosa Luxemburg. Thus, at the end of the War communism descended upon the German proletariat like a divine judgement: walled in and held like hostages by the communist 'Kriemhild,' the state party of the GDR, Woyzeck now obeys the state erected in his name.
II Metamorphosis of a Historical Model
During the 1970s and 80s, the GDR is for Heiner Müller a symptom of the eternal German plight. At the same time, in spite of its deformation, it is also an expression of the 'new;' it belongs to a 'post-bourgeois' world, whereas West Germany is the refuge of the 'counter¬revolution,' the world of the descendants of Rosa Luxemburg's murderers. The West, as Müller put it in the mid-1980s, is a 'technologically superior world, but...a retarded historical formation.' (7) In the 'petrification' of socialism, revolutionary energy still lies concealed, energy which could again be liberated by a new eruption of history. Müller places his hope in the emergence of a new historical force from the Third World. In 'Die Wunde Woyzeck' he writes:
Woyzeck lives where the dog lies buried, the dog is called Woyzeck. We await his resurrection with fear and/or hope that the dog returns as wolf. The wolf comes out of the south. When the sun is in the zenith he is one with our shadow, in the hour of incandescence, history begins. (8)
In this Dionysian image of metamorphosis, the domesticated proletariat, the 'dog Woyzeck' becomes a wild animal, the 'wolf from the Third World which erupts into a campaign of vengeance. Here, Müller refers to Frantz Fanon, the theorist of colonial revolution. Fanon argued that the 'colonized' had to break with European humanism and rationalism and begin a 'new history' beyond European history and its image of the human being, one which rests on the 'destruction of the unity' of the human being. Müller also refers to Nietzsche, who announced the arrival of his Übermensch as taking place at the hour of 'the great midday,' at the highpoint of European nihilism. (9)
The 'wolf from the south' represents a primal, unbroken life-force. During the seventies and eighties, Müller integrates his image of history with a vitalist critique of civilization, developing a cultural-philosophical explanatory model for the failure of the revolution in Europe. The revolution, as Müller now sees it, has been unable to succeed because of its rationalist, alienated relationship to I he elemental, to 'life' and 'death.'
'The trouble with you is that you cannot die/` cries the black revolutionary Sasportas in Der Auftrag (The Task; The Mission) to the Europeans, 'That is why you kill everything around you.' (10) The fear of the individual experience of death forces the European to flee from 'life' and drives European civilization into a 'secondary world' of technology ami consumerism: 'Europe's will to power in technology/
Müller asserts, 'is ultimately based on the repression of the fear of death as a reality of life...All the death machines which Europe has developed merely have the function of repressing death as an aspect of life.' (11) Western consumer society is the last stage of this 'civilisation of substitution' (Zivilisation der Stellvertretung), as Müller refers to European culture. Its ultimate aim is to bring history to a standstill: at the end of Der Auftrag Debuisson abandons the revolution, renounces history and wishes only to enjoy his material privileges - at the cost of the exploited of all continents. The price he pays, however, is that of forgetting, the loss of memory and thereby of his own identity.
The Western consumerist individual becomes a 'zombie/ a living corpse, which turns its back on the sphere of ongoing life and carries on existing only in the form of a parasite nourishing itself from the life-force of others. On the other hand, Sasportas, as the 'negro of all races', represents a radical counter-principle: the peoples 'colonized' by Europe, in particular those of Africa, are not infected by individualism and humanism and have accordingly preserved a natural relationship to the dynamic of life and death. Interpreted through Müller's explanatory framework, it is because individual existence is comprehended among these peoples as a moment within the collective existence of their 'race,' that death holds no terror for them.
It is for this reason that Sasportas remains committed to revolutionary force even when he knows that the slave revolt against the colonial masters is condemned to failure. 'If the living can no longer fight the dead will fight,' Sasportas cries out before going to certain death in a desperate battle. In death he will unite with 'forest, mountain, ocean, desert:' the imminent revenge of the colonized will be a 'war of the landscapes,' (12) a revolt of nature against a vampiristic European civilization, the enemy of life.
In his condemnation of modern European civilization as decadent and his vitalist celebration of the life-force of uncivilized 'races,' Müller takes up a tradition of thought - predominantly conservative in character - within the German critique of civilization. Since the early nineteenth century, the conservative tradition of the German philosophy of culture has maintained an emphatic concept of 'life' and 'naturalness' against a rationalism which negates the 'organic' unity of life.
Since the emergence of 'political Romanticism,' this German tradition has regarded the 'West' as a synonym for a cultural colonialism whose origin lies in Roman civilization. Roman law, as claimed already at the beginning of the 19th century by political and literary theorist Adam Müller, is the Magna Carta of this colonialist principle: it is here that the abstraction of the 'evolved' values of cultural communities has its starting point, a
process reaching its height in modern capitalism/ liberalism and industrialism. 'Roman' humanism and universalism are, in this view, instruments of the undermining of cultural individuality; and the Western ideals of democracy and universal human rights are the modern version of Roman colonial ideology. It is an argument which can also be found in detail in Thomas Mann's Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen, which appeared in 1918. (13)
III War against 'Rome'
Heiner Müller's cultural philosophy during the 1980s exhibits startling points of correspondence with this topos of the German anti-Western critique of civilization. In Western capitalism Müller sees the reincarnation of 'Rome' - he refers to the USA as 'the new Rome.' 'Rome,' explains Müller in Jenseits der Nation, is the 'primordial cell of the state and its imperial structure.'^ It is also the originator of a functionalist form of thought which has led to the subjugation of organic life to technology. This anti-Roman affect forms part of the basic stock of the German conservative critique of modernity - a tradition leading from the political Romanticism of Adam Müller via Oswald Spengler to Martin Heidegger.
Fundamental to this approach is the opposing of a Roman 'civilization' allegedly hostile to art and thought with an allegedly 'integral' culture of 'Hellenism.' Müller also takes up this topos when, again in Jenseits der Nation, he writes: 'The European theatre feeds itself from the same history of repression as technology does.' 'European,' in this sense, refers to the form of theatre initially developed 'in Rome' as a 'copy' of Greek theatre, an earlier form distinguished from its imitator by 'oriental, Egyptian and even Asian influences.' (15)
'Rome,' or 'the West/ now becomes for Müller a synonym for a destructive rationalism, one which he even makes responsible for 'Auschwitz.' He refers to Auschwitz as 'the altar of capitalism' and claims that 'Auschwitz comes out of the West.' In this Manichaean scheme, even Hitler appears as a 'Roman,' as a representative of the 'West.' With the aid of this cultural-philosophical reinterpretation Müller is able to maintain his dichotomous image of East-West confrontation, following the apparent petering out of socialism as a source of revolutionary force.
Müller now searches for cultural forces which can resist the fatal Roman principle and are strong enough to break it. Not only the 'South/ that is, the 'Third World/ but also the 'East/ above all 'Russia,' now take on for him the role of bastions of an 'other,' cultural enciy.y, one which is set against the Roman form of civilization. The eastern pari of Europe is 'shaped by Byzantium,' he claims in his l»W) ess,iy 'Nachriehl aus Moskau.' (16) In this context,
Müller identifies the socialist bloc as the outpost of the invasion of 'Roman'-dominated Europe by foreign cultures. The 'actual function of the October Revolution/ he declared in an interview in 1991, was 'to set the world in motion against Europe.' (17)
On the one hand, he sees the collapse of socialism, and above all of the GDR, as an act of 'colonization' by the 'West.' On the other hand, he expects the fall of borders to produce a contrary effect: 'The tidal wave of the Third World will engulf Europe...This internal erosion of Western Europe has its analogy in the decline of the Roman Empire, which was in the end gradually taken over by the slaves.' (18) And in another context: 'Capitalism, the traditional aggressor Europe, is now suddenly surrounded by Asia and Africa and stands with its back to the ozone hole.' (19) The 'revenge of the colonized' joins forces in this image with the revenge of nature. The place of the socialist revolution is taken by a form of anti-Western world revolution. Once the capitals of the West have been razed, the communist utopia will once again get its chance: 'The opening of the borders will have undreamt-of consequences for the West. For only in the developed countries is the communist utopia meaningful.' (20)
In Russia, on the other hand, 'the assimilated Roman' Lenin, with his marxist ideology imported from the West is defeated by the cultural tradition of Byzantium. (21) Yet within this cultural resistance is expressed a mystical force, which, following the collapse of communist ideology, now becomes a threat to the West. Already in 1987, in his essay 'New York oder das eiserne Gesicht der Freiheit' (New York or the Iron Face of Freedom), Müller divides humanity into, on the one hand, the 'heirs of the fratricide and first city builder' Cain (whose centre was first Rome, then London and who now have their headquarters in New York), and, on the other hand, the 'children of Abel.'
Moscow is shaped by the Tartar invasions coming out of the steppes. The New York of Cain and 'nomadic' Moscow face each other as antipodean 'metropolitan cities of the world.' (22) In the Mongols under Ghengis Khan, Müller sees an embodiment of 'mobility' as a way of life, one which he contrasts with a 'Roman' - urban - ideal of stability. This he sees as 'damming' the energies which can be realized in 'mobility' and thus 'poisoning' life. (23)
In his play Anatomie Titus Fall Of Rome. Ein Shakespeare-Kommentar, Heiner Müller encapsulates the vision of the storming of the capitals of 'Cain' by the 'children of Abel' in powerful images. 'A NEW TRIUMPH LAYS WASTE ROME THE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD' (24) - thus begins the first lyric commentary passage of Müller's treatment of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. 'THE GREAT ROME THE WHORE OF THE BIG COMPANIES'-'1' triumphs itself to death. Beneath the glitter of its immeasurable wealth, which it owes to the exploitation of colonized peoples, Rome, torn by brutal power struggles, is in a state of political, social and moral dissolution. The Goth queen Tamora and the 'Negro' Aaron, abducted and brought to Rome by the commander Titus, facilitate through intrigue and murder the self-destruction of Rome in civil war.
The fact of the Roman Empire's continual expansion, its subjugation and enslavement of foreign peoples, makes possible their penetration of the metropolis. The emissaries of Africa and Asia already spy out the terrain for the colonies' campaign of vengeance:
IN THE SLUDGE OF THE SEWERS TRUMPET
HANNIBAL'S DEAD ELEPHANTS ATTILLA'S SCOUTS
WALK AS TOURISTS
THROUGH THE MUSEUMS AND BITE INTO MARBLE
MEASURING THE CHURCHES FOR STABLES
AND ROAMING GREEDILY THROUGH THE SUPERMARKET
THE BOOTY OF THE COLONIES WHICH OVER THE YEAR
THE HOOVES OF THEIR HORSES WILL KISS
FETCHING HOME INTO THE VOID THE FIRST WORLD. (26)
In the end Rome is conquered and destroyed by the Goth armies from the 'steppe,' which Lucius, the son of Titus, had recruited to liberate the city, and 'THE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD/as Müller puts it, is 'nailed' by the Goths 'WITH HAILS OF ARROWS TO THE SOUTHERN CROSS.' (27) In his historical-philosophical speculations, Heiner Müller refers back to a model that recalls Oswald Spengler's The Decline of Western Civilization. In Spengler's organological cultural theory, 'civilisation' describes the process of the 'breakdown of the wilted forms [of a culture] which have become inorganic' The debilitated civilization is finally conquered by 'young,' 'barbaric/ still vital peoples. (28)
In his text Jahre der Entscheidung from 1933, Spengler argues that the Roman Empire shows the modern Occident its own fate: its destruction by the barbarian invasions. Indeed, the situation of the modern Western world is, for Spengler, even more dramatic than that of the Romans once was. For in the meantime, the imperium of the 'white race' has expanded over the whole globe and the barbarians, as Spengler sees it, therefore now stand within and not outside the borders of the imperium. (29)
'Decadent' Western civilization has nothing with which to counter the readiness of the 'coloured peoples' to use force, peoples of whose vitality Spengler speaks with great admiration. Only Germany, which has preserved something of its 'barbarianism/ is seen as still strong enough to defend the white 'imperium' and for this reason it must assume world domination. There is of course a clear difference between the positions of Spengler and Müller: Spengler aims to rescue the domination of the white race, whereas Heiner Müller welcomes the supposed world-revolutionary impulse from the 'Third World.'
Yet in both cases the movement of non-whites into Europe can only be imagined in terms of a warlike act, as a sinister invasion. For both, this movement is a symptom of a world-historical show-down between hostile races and cultures. For both, the foreign, 'coloured' barbarians represent an unbroken, natural and vital force, one which is contrasted with the hybrid civilisation of the West, which has petrified into dead, artificial forms. In Anatomie Titus Müller imagines the invasion of the world of capital and liberalist abstraction by an all-pervasive wilderness:
GRASS BURSTS THE STONE WALLS SPROUT BLOOMS
THE FOUNDATIONS SWEAT THE BLOOD OF SLAVES
THE BREATH OF BIG CATS BLOWS IN THE PARLIAMENT
HYENA SHADOWS PROWLING AND VULTURE FLIGHT
THROUGH ALLEYS STAINING THE VICTORY COLUMNS
THE PANTHERS JUMP SILENTLY THROUGH THE BANKS. (30)
Beyond all ideological-political content, what is noticeable here is the homology of such figurativeness with the imagery of conservative German cultural philosophy, particularly with that of the conservative revolution. The invasion of the primordial in the form of the 'nomads' is a constantly repeated and fundamental theme of this tradition of thought. For conservative revolutionaries such as Ernst Niekisch, the Russian October Revolution represented a revolt of the Russian 'folk spirit' against the 'Roman' West. Oswald Spengler argued that with the October Revolution the 'Asiatic soul' of the 'genuine Russian' had risen against 'Europe.' The 'genuine Russian' had 'remained a nomad in his feeling of life.' And still other formulations of Heiner Müller's exhibit parallels with Spengler: 'Bolshevism' is at its core 'Asiatic;' its leaders are the heirs of the Mongolian Khans of the fourteenth century, and its real purpose is the stage-managing of the 'coloured world revolution' against the Western world. (31)
IV Dreaming of the Roaming Beast
For Spengler, the human being is in its origin a nomad, a 'roaming beast' (ein schweifendes Tier), as he writes in The Decline of Western Civilization? (32) Russia is for Spengler a metaphor for the yearning for a return to the beginning of the history of the human race. The devastation he prophesies of the uprooted 'sinfully beautiful great cities' of late Western civilization is seen as the great purification at the end of which everything can begin again. Here is encapsulated a Utopian wish for a tabula rasa, for the liberation from the burden of history and the knowledge that comes with it.
The individual of the metropolitan civilization, argues Spengler, knows only the Wachsein, the close attention to the visible facts. This fact-being is 'pure intellect;' he no longer has any sense for the invisible, the metaphysical, for the dream, for the idea. The Russian, however, carries 'Asia' as 'idea' within himself, the image of the endless 'steppe,' open to all possibilities. This archetypal image, etched deep into his 'soul/ makes him resistent to the seductive powers of the modern, Western Babylon. (33)
The vision of the reclaiming of Rome by the wilderness in Heiner Müller's Anatomie Titus is a dream vision seen by the Black man Aaron: 'THE NIGHT/OF THE NEGRO HIS RACE/SEX DREAMS AFRICA.' (34) In the night, during the 'sleep of the capitals/ the 'roaming animal' who has been dragged into civilization sees the memory of his 'nomadic' origins emerge from the darkness. His dream transforms Rome into a 'FOREST/ POPULATED BY THE BEASTS OF HIS HOMELAND.' (35)
Rome rules only over the world of Wachsein; the other world, the reality which reveals itself in the dream, evades its control.
'Asia' and 'Africa' are interchangeable metaphors for an aesthetic construction of origin. Whether 'Negro,' 'Russian' or 'Mongol:' in the case of Spengler as in that of Heiner Müller, who are both, in their own way, aesthetic designers of history, the barbarian strangers embody a historical undercurrent running counter to the history of civilization. The history of civilization becomes increasingly estranged from the origin. All those forces excluded from civilization and pushed into the imaginary, strive for the restoration of the origin, press towards a return to the beginning. On the 'night side' the destructive elemental forces gather to 'fetch home' civilization into the 'void.'
The civilized human being, who no longer has any sense for the meaning of bad dreams, is completely unable to discern this secret war. While Western civilization conquers the earth's surface and subjects it to rationality, the invisible forces of the subterranean world, which has a different concept of time, work against it. To quote again from Anatomie Titus: 'THE NEGRO SEES THE ROMAN TRAGEDY/FROM THE BACKDROP OF HIS WORLD THEATRE/THE NEGRO WRITES ANOTHER ALPHABET/ PATIENCE OF KNIVES AND VIOLENCE OF AXES.' (36)
In a speech, `'Deutschland ortlos. Anmerkung zu Kleist,' held in 1991 on the occasion ol his receiving the Kleist Prize, Müller applies his cultural-philosophical East-West paradigm to the situation of Germany following reunification:
A fundamental European experience, one renewed in the East through the Soviet occupation was the Mongol invasion...Meister Eckart's definition GOD IS THE DESERT seems too to be inspired by the dream of the invasion of the established German manufactory by the mounted steppe: God is the other, death comes out of Asia. (37)
Müller interprets divided Germany as an expression of an age-old cultural conflict held still for a brief historical moment: the conflict between the Western, rationalist, urban world of the West and the nomadic world of the East. In Muller's view, the Soviet occupation repeats the 'invasion' of Western Europe by the 'steppe.' In his earlier essay 'Nachricht aus Moskau' Müller already interprets the turning point in the Second World War in this sense: 'When out of the forests before Moscow, at the moment when the Germans regard the Red Army as defeated, the first Siberian regiments appear, a different war begins.' (38) This other war is the war of the 'Asiatic' steppe against the technological superior invading German army, a war of the landscapes against the technological world of the West.
Müller refers to the mystic Meister Eckart and the dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, both of whom had, according to Müller, an intuition of this fundamental cultural conflict in Europe, a conflict which now, following the end of the East-West division, is again becoming virulent. The rationalist Lessing, on the other hand, in Muller's view, 'never dreamed:' it was for this reason that he 'was able to endure Germany.' For the 'very disturbed' Kleist, however, 'the basic metaphor in the field of conflict between Europe and Asia' was 'the column of dust' raised by the Mongol horsemen.
For Kleist, Prussia was a historical 'earthquake zone,' 'settled on the crevice between Western and Eastern Rome, Rome and Byzantium, which runs through Europe in irregular curves/ Kleist's inner conflict reflects, in Muller's interpretation, the historical restlessness of Germany. Germany has never had a place; dreamers like Kleist had therefore to imagine a Utopian place which they called 'Germany.'
This Utopia was buried during the period of the Cold War. Now, however, following the fall of the Wall, Germany once again stands in 'the open, exposed to the four winds.' In this, as it were, 'nomadic' uncertainty, Heiner Müller thought in 1991 that he could recognize a Utopian potential. Reunified Germany releases itself from its enmeshment in the West, the architect of which - to quote Müller -was the 'Rhinelander Adenauer' who saw the Elbe river as 'an Asiatic frontier.' West Germany, which Müller refers to elsewhere as 'overdeveloped in terms of civilization/' (39) was based on the exclusion of the Eastern cultural elements which have always belonged to Germany. Now, however, Germany will again become 'placeless/ open to all sides: a space for the dreams of the return of the 'nomadic' children of Abel. Will Woyzeck, the buried dog, now actually return -perhaps not as the 'wolf from the South/ but rather from the East?
In his youth, Oswald Spengler dreamed of a great Germanic-Asiatic-African kingdom that would supersede the domination of the West. Germany as placeless midpoint between East and West, North and South, closer to the 'Barbarianism' of the steppes than to the Roman 'Whore of Babylon,' exposed to the tectonic trembling of elemental cultural forces and therefore incapable of being integrated into the pacified, universalistic civilization of the West - this Germany has been the 'classical' Utopian space of German conservatism since Romanticism.
Heiner Müller dreams this dream further and links it with the communist utopia which he does not want to abandon. Following the collapse of the communist bloc, he claims:
The separation of the communists from power concerns the emigration into the dream. In this process an idea again becomes a force...Reality can cease to exist, can be erased by a new reality. But dreams cannot be erased, they exist in another time...Communism exists in the dream-time and this is not dependent on triumph or defeat. (40)
In yet another recent interview, at the beginning of 1994, Müller gives up the hope which in 1991 he still placed in the 'placeless' Utopian space of Germany. 'For Kleist, Germany was still an idea, a utopia', but now 'the horizon of ideas has been used up. Germany has become a market among many others, one devoid of background or metaphysical reserves.' 'Now there are only markets,' complains Müller, 'and through this an immense emptiness is created.' (41) As one can see this is above all so in the case of Müller himself: monumental vitalistic images with which he could outdo the present in a Utopian form no longer occur to him. Instead he falls back into a nostalgic, conservative yearning for the metaphysical and accuses the Enlightenment of having destroyed all transcendental values: 'The Enlightenment/ he says, first killed God and then made 'the graveyard, the consecrated ground into a fallow field.'
In view of this diagnosis, it is hardly surprising that Müller today calls for 'the necessary step beyond metaphysics' and, as protection against Western modernity, suggests the introduction of the monarchy in eastern Europe. What remains in Muller's resignalive lurning away from the world is the intense anti-
Western, the anti-Roman affect. In his long poem Mommsens Block he equates the present-day Western world with the Roman Empire under Nero, where there was no great history and therefore no culture, but rather merely passivity and 'entertainment.' Under the conditions of the money society, the poet hears only 'Animal noises Who would want to write that down/With passion hatred is no worth disdain runs empty.' (42) The hope remains that Müller will once again take up the literary struggle against the reality he rejects, rather than punishing it, as he does now, with elitist disdain.
1. Cf. Heiner Müller, Germania Tod in Berlin, Berlin, 1977, pp. 37-78, esp. pp. 64-67 and 76-78.
2. Cf. Richard Herzinger, Masken der Lebensrevolution. Vitalistische Zivilisations- und Humanismuskritik in Texten Heiner Müllers, München, 1992.
3. Heiner Müller, Ich bin ein Neger. Diskussion mit Heiner Müller, Darmstadt, 1986, p. 12.
4. Cf. Interview with Heiner Müller in program for the 1987/88 production of Der Lohndrücker in Deutsches Theater Berlin.
5. Heiner Müller, 'Die Wunde Woyzeck' ('Woyzeck the Wound'), in Shakespeare Factory 2, Berlin, 1989, pp. 261-263, here p. 261.
7. Ich bin ein Neger, pp. 23-24.
8. 'Die Wunde Woyzeck,' in Shakespeare Factory 2, p. 263.
9. Cf. Friedrich Nietzsche, Also sprach Zarathustra, in Nietzsches Werke, (eds) Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, 1968, pp. 212-213.
10. Heiner Müller, Der Auftrag. Erinnerung an eine Revolution, in Herzstück, Berlin, 1983, p. 56.
11. Zur Lage der Nation. Heiner Müller im Interview mit Frank M. Raddatz, Berlin, 1990, p. 37.
12. Heiner Müller, Der Auftrag, in Herzstück, p. 69.
13. Cf. Thomas Mann, Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (1918), Frankfurt/Main, 1988.
14. Jenseits der Nation. Heiner Müller im Interview mit Frank M. Raddatz, Berlin, 1991, p. 77.
15. Jenseits der Nation, p. 38.
16. Cf. Heiner Müller, 'Nachricht aus Moskau' ('News from Moscow'), in Jenseits der Nation, p. 85.
17. Jenseits der Nation, p. 79.
18. Zur Lage der Nation, p. 27.
19. Jenseits der Nation, p. 80.
20. Jenseits der Nation, p. 101.
21. Cf. 'Nachricht aus Moskau/ in Jenseits der Nation, p. 85.
22. Cf. Fleiner Müller, 'New York oder das eiserne Gesicht der Freiheit,' in Heiner Müller Material. Texte und Kommentare, (ed) Frank Hörnigk, Leipzig, 1989, pp. 96-97.
23. Jenseits der Nation, p. 78.
24. Heiner Müller, Anatomie Titus Fall of Rome. Ein Shakespearekommentar, in Shakespeare Factory 2, pp. 125-226, here p. 126.
25. Anatomie Titus, in Shakespeare Factory 2, p. 128.
26. Anatomie Titus, in Shakespeare Factory 2, pp. 140 111.
27. Anatomie Titus, in Shakespeare Factory 2, pp. 222-223.
28. Cf. Oswald Spengler, Der Untergang des Abendlandes. Umrisse einer Morphologie der Weltgeschichte, München, pp. 43-54.
29. Cf. Oswald Spengler: Jahre der Entscheidung. Teil 1: Deutschland und die weltpolitische Entwicklung, München, 1933.
30. Anatomie Titus, in Shakespeare Factory 2, p. 140.
31. Cf. Jahre der Entscheidung, pp. 147-165.
32. Der Untergang des Abendlandes, p. 660.
33.. Der Untergang des Abendlandes, p. 660.
34. Anatomie Titus, in Shakespeare Factory 2, pp. 139-140.
35. Anatomie Titus, in Shakespeare Factory 2, p. 140.
36. Anatomie Titus, in Shakespeare Factory 2, p. 156.
37. Heiner Müller, 'Deutschland ortlos. Anmerkung zu Kleist' ('Germany placeless. Note on Kleist'), in Jenseits der Nation, pp. 61-65.
38. 'Nachricht aus Moskau/ in Jenseits der Nation, pp. 84-85.
39. Heiner Müller, 'Was wird aus dem größeren Deutschland? Fragen von Alexander Waigl/ in Sinn und Form, 4/1991, p. 667.
40. Jenseits der Nation, p. 26.
41. Cf. 'Für immer in Hollywood oder: In Deutschland wird nicht mehr geblinzelt. Heiner Müller im Interview mit Frank Raddatz/ in Lettre International, 1/1994, pp. 3-7.
42. Heiner Müller, Mommsens Block, in Drucksache 1, Berliner Ensemble, Berlin 1993, p. 9.
Translated by Joseph O'Donncü
In: Heiner Müller. ConTEXTS and History. Edited by Gerhard Fischer. Stauffenburg Verlag. Tübingen: 1995, pp. 103-115.