Piesche Presents at IGCS Colloquium
Peggy Piesche, visiting instructor of German and Russian studies, discussed her work on Christoph Martin Wieland on March 1 at a colloquium of the Institute for German Cultural Studies at Cornell University.
Piesche discussed the notion of gift (exchange) in Wieland’s philosophical novels and presented a chapter of a book-length study applying post-structuralist literary theory, particularly that of Jacques Derrida. She discussed Derrida’s provocative claim as a motivating factor in the protagonist's actions in Wieland's novels.
According to Piecsche, “Derrida's notion of the gift as impossible since, from the moment one even recognizes a transaction as a gift, it becomes weighted with obligations and therefore no longer qualifies as a pure present [and] affects every interaction the protagonists engage in on their life-long travels.”
Piesche established in this chapter that, “according to Derrida’s reading of the gift, the interpersonal actions itself can be read as a figure for the impossible, for whatever lies outside of symbolic systems.”