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2015 | 12 | 23 | 13-35

Article title

„Obležení ucha“: válka a proměny smyslového vnímání v literatuře moderny. Weinerovo Ztřeštěné ticho



Title variants

„The Ear Besieged“: War and the Transformations of Sense-Perception in Modern Literatura. Weiner’s Crazy Silence

Languages of publication



The paper focuses on R. Weiner’s 1916 short story collection Lítice / Furies which captures his direct experience from the Serbian front. I present a reading of the story Crazy Silence from the broader perspective of war and the associated issues of perception and representation, language and imagination, pursued from the viewpoint of “the way of internalization”, i.e. the processes of metaphorical and allegorical transmutation of the war events, as well as from the viewpoint of the history and economy of sense-perception, as Weiner’s prose reflects the changes incurred by the impact of the military apparatus. The title of the story, Crazy Silence, denotes the central image of the text, linked with the key role of the auditory experience of soldiers in the field, confronted with a yet unknown “siege of hearing”, understood already at the time as an unmistakable perceptual characteristics of World War One. This war-time “mobilization of hearing”, as reflected in literature, is then situated within the broader context of transformations of sense-perception accompanying the processes of modernization, accompanied by the experience of “great noise” (F. Kafka). Our reading of Weiner’s text turns our attention to the question of the literary representation of this “siege of hearing”: how can one communicate the perceptions and attacks that fell on the ear during the war? Whereas, for instance, the Italian Futurists stopped at a direct imitation of the noises of the battlefield by means of onomatopoia, other authors pursued the path of metaphorical and allegorical capturing. The auditory perceptual experience in R. Musil’s The Blackbird and Weiner’s Crazy Silence launches the process of allegorization which creates a metaphorical image of the war, captured in the tension and the disturbing synthesis of the dispersed noise of killing technology and an epiphanic experience.


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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