Eschewing the First Person: Post-Subjective Autobiography in Hubert Fichte and his Geschichte der Empfindlichkeit / History of Sensitivity
Despite the uncanny similarities between the known facts of Hubert Fichte's life and the events depicted in his works, opinion is still divided as to whether Fichte's work constitutes an autobiography or not. This is partly because, rather than adopting the classic first person or using the same name on the cover as in the inside of the book, Fichte gives his protagonists fictitional names: Detlev, Jäcki. The designation of many of his works as 'novels' does not help either. The thesis of this article is that in his literary works, Fichte deliberately drew on the events of his own life, and deliberately invoked the various genres and procedures of life writing in order to construct what I call 'post-subjective autobiography'. In putting forward this thesis, I demonstrate how, from his third novel onwards, Fichte is not writing from the position of a secure subject, but employing a whole range of devices to interrogate the subject of autobiography. And the conclusion is that this post-subjective autobiography is a únique aesthetic and ethical achievement which we would do well to emulate.
This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing in May 2014 and published on 16 March 2015.
Copyright (c) 2015 Robert Gillett
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).