»When the object laughs ...«. Style and Truth in Marx's Early Journalism
This dissertation examines the concept of style that Karl Marx develops in his critique of Prussian censorship laws of the 1840s. Tracing the implications of Marx’s assessment, style is studied as a contentious point in which aesthetic, political, and philosophical lines of conflict intersect. While the Prussian rules of censorship claim that an »investigation of truth« is possible despite its prescription of style, for Marx such a prescription compromises the truth. The regulation of style violates the right of subject and object to have the style altered according to their respective character. For example, the »serious and modest« style demanded by the Prussian rules render it an impossible task to do justice to a laughing object. Proceeding from Marx’s critique of censorship, style can be conceived as the venue of a dispute between subject and object that breaks out with each investigation, and whose settlement through a prescription can only be accomplished at the expense of its relation to truth.
Christiane Heidrich is currently doing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Applied Arts Vienna on the concept of style in Karl Marx’s early journalistic work. She studied Fine Arts at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and Language Arts at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Besides her doctoral studies, she writes poetry and works as a translator. Her first volume of poetry entitled Spliss was published in 2018 by kookbooks, and poems of hers have been translated into Czech, Hungarian, French and English. In collaboration with Mathias Kropfitsch, she translated Incontinence of the Void by Slavoj Žižek from English into German. For her literary writing, she has received grants from the Arts Foundation Baden-Württemberg, the Literary Colloquium Berlin and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport.
»Der letzte Artikel ist in grobe und, wenn man will, rohe Farben getaucht. Wer unmittelbar und häufig die rücksichtslose Stimme der Not in der umgebenden Bevölkerung vernimmt, der verliert leicht den ästhetischen Takt, welcher in den feinsten und bescheidensten Bildern zu sprechen weiß …« (Rheinische Zeitung, 15. Januar 1843)