Patrick Hohlweck

»Verwandlung in Blatt«
Carl Einsteins formaler Realismus
[“Verwandlung in Blatt.” The Formal Realism of Carl Einstein]

Kaleidogramme vol. 170
Kulturverlag Kadmos, Berlin 2018, 408 pages
ISBN 978-3-86599-397-7

The ‘theoretical novel’ Bebuquin (1912) by author, critic, and art historian Carl Einstein (1885–1940) is considered to be one of the most radical texts of German modernism. Whereas Bebuquin has long been canonical, few people know that the text is only one station within a broad writing project: “Verwandlung in Blatt” presents a reconstruction of this Bebuquin complex which includes Einstein’s earliest surviving texts as well as his unpublished, fragmented monumental work BEB II which Einstein worked on since the early 1920s. As stated in Patrick Hohlweck’s thesis, however, Einstein’s project does not have a literary focus and instead focusses on philosophy and art. The book broadly situates Einstein’s ‘formal realism’ in its literary-, philosophical-, and knowledge-historical context: between Nietzsche and Bataille, Mallarmé, Worringer, and Musil, the barely perceived concept of a fundamentally new relationship between art, life, and politics is being traced.

Media Response

12 Aug 2021
Patrick Hohlweck: Verwandlung in Blatt. Carl Einsteins formaler Realismus

Review by Anja Luhn, in: Zeitschrift für Germanistik, Neue Folge XXXI (2021), 604–606