"a Contribution to Modern World Poetry" Ernst Jandl and the International Avant-garde

Open Access
Stuckatz, Katja
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
March 03, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Prof Martina Kolb, Dissertation Advisor
  • Prof Martina Kolb, Committee Chair
  • Thomas Oliver Beebee, Committee Member
  • Daniel Leonhard Purdy, Committee Member
  • Adrian Johannes Wanner, Committee Member
  • Prof Stefan Matuschek, Special Member
  • Jandl
  • Austrian poetry
  • German-language poetry
  • experimental poetry
  • post-World War II
  • avant-garde
My dissertation uses close textual analysis and unpublished archival material to explore the poetic internationalism of the Austrian experimental poet Ernst Jandl (1925-2000). When Jandl died thirteen years ago, four of the world’s biggest newspapers (The Independent, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The New York Times) published obituaries to honor a poet whose œuvre marks one of the most influential contributions to German speaking poetry since World War II. This fact testifies not only to the international significance of Jandl’s lyric œuvre, but also to the relations of mutual aesthetic influence between the German and English speaking worlds after the catastrophe of World War II. My dissertation traces the interrelations between Anglo-American modernism and Austrian post-war poetry, in order to re-situate Jandl within the context of 20th-century modernism. The contours of his experimental poetics are shaped by a lifelong reception of US-American avant-gardism, most prominently of authors and artists like Gertrude Stein, Charles Olson, and John Cage. Despite Jandl's popularity no monograph has yet been devoted to this phenomenon. In three main chapters that analyze the connection between experimental poetry and the international avant-gardes, my dissertation 1) maps the interrelations between Anglo-American modernism and Austrian post-World War II avant-garde poetry, 2) provides a comprehensive account of the integration of English-language literature into Jandl’s work (published as well as unpublished), and 3) offers a re-appraisal of the semantic capabilities of experimental poetry in general and of Jandl’s lyric œuvre in particular. Transnational poetics — early 20th-century US-American avant-gardism — post-war Austrian poetry: By connecting these movements and by virtue of its interdisciplinary approach, my project forges links between scholarship on Austrian-American studies, modernism, literary theory, post-war literature, and experimental art more broadly.