Gazing at India: Representations of Alterity in Travelogues by Ingeborg Drewitz, Günter Grass, and Hubert Fichte

by Monika Shafi
Gazing at India: Representations of Alterity in Travelogues by Ingeborg Drewitz, Günter Grass, and Hubert Fichte
Monika Shafi
The German Quarterly
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Gazing at India: Representations

of Alterity in Travelogues by Ingeborg Drewitz,

Giinter Grass, and Hubert Fichte

Was ist denn der Nachste!-Was begreifen wir denn von unserem Nachsten, als seine Grkzen, ich meine, Das, womit er sich auf und an uns gleichsam einzeichnet und eindriickt? Wir begreifen Nichts von ihm, als die Veranderungen an uns, deren Ur- sache er ist .. . Wir bilden ihn nach unserer Kenntniss von uns, zu einem Satelliten unseres eigenen Systems: und wenn er uns leuchtet oder sich verfinstert, und wir von Beidem die letzte Ursache sind, -so glauben wir doch das Gegentheil! Welt der Phantome, in der wir leben! (Nietzsche 109)

My dilemma was how to come as close as possible to the Other without losing my own identity. (Frischmuth 460)

Ingeborg Drewitz (1923-1986), Hubert Fichte (1935-1986), and Gunter Grass (1927-), three well-known representatives of postwar West German literature, occupy very different positions in the modern canon and can thus be better described by the differences than by the similarities of their texts. Each writer has produced avery large body of work, yet thematically and stylistically each explores vastly different areas of contemporary and past experience. Drewitz focuses in her realist fiction pre- dominantly on the largely unexamined and undervalued daily lives of women within historical and autobiographical contexts.1 Fichte, committed to exploring the realm of sexuality, defines writing as a form of ethnography, in which he tries to expand the understanding of the self and the Other.

His experimental, genre-transcending texts have been aptly characterized as "po- etic ethnology."2 Grass, the uncontested premier figure of German literature today, certainly defies a summarizing definition, but one might say that he investigates "the German question," i.e., Germany's national identity, as shaped both by its Nazi past and its postwar devel0~ment.3

Yet, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the separate literary paths these three authors followed extended beyond Germany. All three published narratives de- scribing travels to India, and they all at- tempted-albeit to varying degrees-to better comprehend the relationship be- tween the so-called First and Third Worlds. This common concern is also indicative of a growing awareness and interest among German writers and intellectuals regard- ing the problems of Third World countries which, since the late 1960s, they increas- ingly began to experience fir~thand.~

In 1978, Hubert Fichte published a collection of interviews called Wolli Indien- f~hrer.~

The title refers to his interviews with Wolfgang Kohler, a pimp from the Kiez, Hamburg's red-light district, who traveled twice to India and spent several months touring the country. Ingeborg Drewitz recounted her 1981 trip to India in Mein indisches Tagebuch (1983), and Gunter Grass depicted his six-month stay in Calcuttain 1986 in the travelogueZunge zeigen (1988). While Drewitz and Grass be- long to the group of writers directly report- ing from the Third World, Fichte's prose

The German Quarterly 70.1 (Winter 1997) 39

differs both in terms of genre (interview) and protagonist, yet the direct experience of the journey offers enough points of com- parison and contrast to be included in the following analysis.

I would like to examine how each trav- eler experienced and described the expo- sure to a culturally and economically very distinct reality, and to ask the following questions: How did these threevisitors con- ceptualize, represent, and textualize India, and how did they address the problem of mediation, the fact that their views and ideas were inevitably burdened by former and current images of India? Heather Hen- derson has described this epistemic di- lemma very succinctly: "But whatever the traveler's attitude toward mediation, the fact of it is unarguable: no one can see with innocent eyes" (239).I have chosen these particular texts because they deal with the same country and as such run a smaller risk of homogenizing dissimilarities under the economic umbrella term "Third World." India, moreover, has exercised a particular fascination for German authors and philosophers and for many centuries dominated Germany's exotic imaginaW6 Each text offers a distinct genre frame- work, ranging from interview and diary to Grass's travelogue, which encompasses several genres and media. These trave- logues thus also allow for an investigation of the discursive choices the authors make in order to describe India. How do the for- mal aspects of their travelogues, such as genre, narrative perspective, and style re- flect, for example, the writer's stance to- ward the other country? Finally, the inclu- sion of male and female authors allows for an inquiry into gender-specific paradigms which might influence their views on their stay in India.

Each text thus invites an analysis of the perceptions and mechanisms by which the respective travelers observe, describe, and judge contemporary Indian society and cul- ture. Although every visitor is clearly bound by the limits of hisher cultural iden- tity, it leaves them at the same time with enough room for very distinct and diverse interpretations of foreign realities, inter- pretations that are shaped not only by the particular personality of the observer, but even more by the epistemic and discursive grids he or she uses in facing alterity. I will thus argue that Drewitz resorts to a concept of work as the interpretive screen which protects and distances the visitor from India. To Grass, India presents anaes- thetic challenge which makes him question the meaning of art and his own role as an artist. Though approaching the country differently, both authors set India as the object of their inquiry. Drewitz and Grass, however, seem unable to recognize the po- sition of authority they assume, and by which they perpetuate precisely those eurocentric stereotypes from which they so urgently wish to escape. Wolfgang Kijhler, on the other hand, the protagonist of Fichte7s interview, experiences India as a kind of Bildungsreise which makes him question his own identity as well as the dominant media representation of India. By not assuming aposition of authority and knowledge, he is able to entertain a dialogi- cally oriented relationship with India and to deconstruct the hegemonic stance Drewitz and Grass are unable to aband~n.~

I have chosen to discuss Drewitz7s travelogue Mein indisches Tagebuch as a kind of model and to compare Grass's re- port with it. I shall then contrast these two authors' travelogues with Kijhler's text. Drewitz's account lends itself to this role of prototype for a number of reasons. In contrast to Zunge zeigen8 and Wolli Indi- er~fahrer,~

no critical analysis of Mein in- disches Tagebuch thus far exists.lO Though the book was briefly reviewed upon publi- cation in a number of German newspapers, scholarly attention has been lacking. More- over, the dual process of discovery and dis- placement which Drewitz traces in her di- ary can be adopted as a general paradigm for all three texts. Proceeding this way al- lows both for a detailed textual analysis of

Mein indisches Tagebuch as well as for spe-

cific points of comparison.

Exploring representations of India in works which rank as important, but not as major, in each author's ceuvre might seem to focus on a somewhat peripheral aspect of their writing. Travelogues, however, al- low us to explore the concept of identity which has become the "rallying place" (Boeh- mer 8)of contemporary multicultural and postcolonial discourse. If the theme ofiden- tity provides a "theoretical framework around the international discussion of cul- ture,"ll then travelogues can be read as specific examples of how we construct and interpret self and Others.12 They provide, as Dennis Porter has argued, "a particu- larly rich field of inquiry for anyone inter- ested in the way we conceptualize and rep- resent the world, categorize its people to a variety of overlapping schemas ... and per- ceive our own (apparently central) place within this imaginary global geography7'


These three travelogues thus represent test cases for studying the complex and con- tradictory processes involved in conceptu- alizing and representing self, difference, and Otherness, precisely those issues which are at stake in any cross-cultural ex- ploration undertaken in a postcolonial world. In this regard, the analysis might also offer an example of how to combine questions grounded in Cultural Studies, such as the discussion of identity and alter- ity, with literary texts which permit us to pursue these pertinent issues without abandoning a literary and aesthetic frame- work. Travelogues also allow for expanding a narrowly defined eurocentric or "germa- nocentric" (Clausen and Friedrichsmeyer 268) view of literature and culture, and they can help foster the more international and multicultural form of Germanistik which has increasingly been advocated.13

Tracing Drewitz's, Grass's, and Fich- te's textualization of India can teach us how they constructed, represented, and narrated different identities, whether or not they used forms of "imaginative com- mand" (Boehmer 5),and to what extent the encounter with the Other led to a reconsid- eration or change of their own selves.14 These three travel writings also show how the authors build on and expand previous images of India, and how their own discur- sive and epistemic patterns confirm or re- define these inherited symbolic schemes. "Professional" travelers like Drewitz and Grass who, in addition to the new geogra- phy and culture, are also confronted with the literization of these experiences, are by definition always traveling and writing in someone else's footsteps. Charting terri- tory, in particular India with its unique po- sition in Germany's imaginary, means they had to distinguish themselves from their predecessors as well as from their contem- poraries, the tourists.15

Since the eighteenth century India had held the imagination of German (and other European) authors and philosophers firmly in its grip. Though the content of these fantasies differed considerably, the underlying structure stayed largely the same. India was posited as Germany's Other, possessing precisely those resources and riches Germany was seen as lacking:

Indien ein gesuchtes Land der ver-

schiedensten Schattierungen gewesen. Es

hat immer wieder als Projektionsflache

sich angeboten, als Gegenbild zur euro-

paischen Welt, als Kulturalternative .. .

Man hat in Indien immer nach etwas ge-

sucht, was man in Europa nicht mehr

fand, dessen Verlust man hier einklagte

. .. Indien ist zu einer Chiffre fiir diese

Sehnsucht geworden. (Kade-Luthra


Within the German context, it was Jo- hann Gottfried Herder who was most in- fluential in creating India as a superior and exotic alternative to German culture. In

Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1784-1791), Herder, who was familiar with both contemporary trave-

logues and translations from Sanskrit, de- veloped the mythical picture of India as the cradle of mankind, origin of religion, poetry and wisdom, and he portrayed the Indian as the bon sauvage who lived in peace and harmony within an exquisitely beautiful nature.l6 Romantic authors such as Fried- rich and August Schlegel, Novalis, and Jean Paul eagerly inherited this projection and integrated it into their concept of Universalphilosophie (Kade-Luthra 19). India, however, was not only the focus of philo- sophical speculation (most notably in Schopenhauer's work) and literary imagi- nation, but also the topic of intense schol- arly and philological inquiry. By the middle of the nineteenth century, German scholars were regarded as the leading authorities in Indologie. Around the same time, the open- ingofthesuez Canal (1869) made traveling to India easier and faster and allowed for a firsthand impression of the country. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Ger- many witnessed nothing short of an Indienmode, as documented in the immensely popular novel Indienfahrt (1916) by Wal- demar Bonsels, who spent about a year in thecountry. In thelargely autobiographical Indienfahrt, Bonsels uses India as the ex- otic backdrop for his own spiritual quest, but he shows very little interest in the coun- try itself. The India reports by Hermann Hesse, Max Dauthendey, Stefan Zweig and Hermann Graf von Keyserling also partici- pated in this trend, revealing Germany's long-standing fascination with Indian cul- ture.17 Yet, these voyages were mostly ex- ercises in nostalgia, celebrating India as the last refuge of spirituality in themodern, technologically dominated world. By the time of the Weimar Republic, attention had shifted to American mass culture and to the revolutionary upheavals in the former Russian empire.18 After World War 11, the newly independent India lost its status as the exotic territory par excellence and the romantic image was replaced by a Third World or developmental discourse which, as Arturo Escobar has argued, is governed

by principles similar to those governing the colonial discourse:

The development discourse defined a per- ceptual field structured by grids of observation, modes of inquiry and registration of problems, and forms of intervention; in short, it brought into existence a space defined not so much by the ensemble of objects with which it dealt but by a set of relations and a discursive practice that systematically produced interrelated ob- jects, concepts, theories, strategies, and the like. (42)

By examining economic development as a form of discourse, Escobar is able to draw attention to how the interaction of knowl- edge and power produced the current im- ages and signifiers of the Third World, which describe it almost exclusively in terms of misery, poverty, illiteracy, and overpopulation. Both the specific defini- tion of poverty-the essential trait of the Third World-as well as types of economic development were, however, as Escobar contends, based on Western ideas of eco- nomic growth and profit, and as such have to be understood as "a historical construct that provides a space in which poor coun- tries are known, specified, and intervened upon" (45). This view of India as incarna- tion of poverty and deprivation isironically and drastically summarized by Wolfgang Kohler: "Halbverhungerte Kinder! Als Europaer lebst du dann in einem phantasti- schen Bungalow mit Dienern und kannst fur ein paar Pfennige essen und lieben und am Fenster gegenuber drucken sich die halb- verhungerten Kinder die Nase platt mit aufgequollenen Bauchen" (445).

Whereas Wolli Indienfahrer takes a critical stance toward this representation of India as propagated predominantly through the media, Drewitz and Grass seem to be largely unaware that their de- piction of India is firmly situated within this developmental paradigm based on the privileged position of the Western observer. Though they explicitly reject the exotic and commercialized romantic India projection, they are less able to recognize how their stance toward the country contributes to and continues the Third World stereotype.

Mein indisches Tagebuch is based on Drewitz's five-week visit to India in No- vember and December 1982. In the short foreword to the book, Drewitz explains how she perceives and describes the foreign realm. She begins by listing the extensive preparatory readings from which she drew the conclusion: "Ich hatte Angst vor dem Elend" (5). By singling out misery or pov- erty, Drewitz recalls the most common sig- nifier of the Third World discourse, but then she continues: "Dennoch versuchte ich, mich den Erfahrungen unbefangen zu stellen, taglich Buch zu fiihren" (5).The desire to be impartial, "to see with innocent eyes" must fail, however, as long as one's dependence on existing representations is not recognized. This contradiction between aspiration for an unbiased, original en- counter and the reality of mediation is also mirrored in Drewitz's narrative represen- tation of India. Mein indisches Tagebuch vacillates between "keeping account," i.e., providing statistics, glossaries, excerpts from newspaper articles, and weather in- formation, and a personal, subjective mode which stands in stark contrast to the re- port-like style of most of the text. Drewitz concludes the foreword by calling her en- counter with India a failure: "Es ist mir aber nicht gelungen, Indien, das Land und die Menschen zu lieben, obwohl ich Land und Menschen lieben mochte" (6).This in- itial statement of defeat provides a crucial code by which we can follow Drewitz's growing sense of distance. A very limited awareness of the Third World paradigm structuring her view of India as well as her hope for an impartial gaze at the country form the two main paradigms of her voy- age, so that a complex pattern of displace- ment and discovery structures both the

journey and the journal. Ingeborg Drewitz's visit to India was in- itiated by an invitation from the German cultural organization known outside India as the Goethe-Institute. It is crucial to note that Drewitz did not go to India in order to fulfill a lifelong dream or longing for the Exotic. No spiritual or romantic quest, but a professional opportunity led her to this country. Desire as one of the prime motiva- tions for any wandering had in her case been displaced by a business or work-like attitude, which informed not only how Drewitz traveled, but also what she saw and how she wrote about it. Clearly, she did not come to India in order to experience the unknown or to leave cultural constraints behind her. In contrast to former explorers such as Hermann Hesse, India is never marked as a place for potential freedom or escape, and the author explicitly rejects the romantic tradition of exoticizing the coun- try. In Drewitz's grand tour, duty replaces desire and travel is truly reinstated as tra- vail.

This particular travel framework was to some extent created by the Goethe-In- stitute.lg Travel arrangements, itinerar- ies, excursions, meetings with Indian art- ists and intellectuals, or visits to slums had all been organized by the various Goethe- Institutes, so that Drewitz's own encoun- ter with India was from the start prepared and mediated by an institutional site. This intermediary obviously spared Drewitz most of the hassles, problems, and sur- prises of a self-directed trip but, by the same token, it also limited her explora- tions. Drewitz toured India as a West Ger- man cultural RI.F!, delivering a series of lectures and thereby enclosing herself in a work-defined intellectual closed circuit. She seems, however, to be rather unaware of the extent to which this particular posi- tion predefined her experience.

Drewitz clearly states the professional purpose of her trip and draws attention to its narrative corollary, the diary, in the aforementioned foreword: "Dennoch ver- suchte ich .. . taglich Buch zu fuhren . . . Das Tagebuch ersetzt keinen Reisefuhrer, wir hatten ja Arbeit zu leisten, nicht dem Kul- turtourismus zu fronen" (5). By setting her stay in this quasi-professional manner, Drewitz invokes not only the rhetoric of anti-tourism, but also the "rhetoric of dis- covery" to which, as Ali Behdad has shown, the themes of work and hardship are cru- cial:

Pain as opposed to pleasure, work in con- trast to leisure, and hardship as against comfort are precisely what distinguish the orientalist adventurer from the tourist; these are the marks of "serious" adven- ture that foreground the voyage of dis- covery within a heroic perspective. (104)

Work, pain, and hardship surface con- stantly in Drewitz's narrative, but they de- note not physical, but emotional or mental discomfort caused by the disturbing sights of India. Consequently, she almost obses- sively avoids any notions of leisure or pleas- ure. By negating joy, she attempts to mini- mize her own privileged status and to em- phasize that she is not on aleisure or tourist trip. Since the main focus of her exploration and narrative are the poverty and inhuman living conditions of the masses, Drewitz does not allow herself to relax or to redirect her attention to pleasant and attractive sights. If she is inadvertently overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of a landscape or a monument, she quickly redirects her gaze to the description of misery:

Ganz aufgesogen von der fremden Schon- heit, den Weltschopfungstraumen einer so anderen Kultur hingegeben, wahrend das Meer gegen den Strand anstiirmt, im Vollmondlicht gespenstisch weil3e Raub- tierzahne zeigt. Nachher im Dorf ein junger, von Lepra zerstorter Mann, der zusammen mit sei- ner schonen jungen Frau und dem Kind bettelt. (59)

In Drewitz's India account the heroic adventure of the nineteenth-century ex- plorer is thus replaced by the "work" of the contemporary writer who observes and

narrates the Indian "Elend."20 Misery be- comes the leitmotif of her journey, and In- dia is in fact equated with "Elend," as a very telling observation, made en route, on the flight to India reveals: "Das Elend dort unten aus solcher Entfernung auch nur zu denken, macht schwindelig!" (9) The van- tage point of the airplane reveals Drewitz literally and symbolically in the position of authority and judgment. In this, as in nu- merous other comments, Drewitz, how- ever, does not mention herself as the sub- ject of the observation. She employs, for example, the same stylistic device in de- scribing her arrival in New Delhi: "Die Fahrt in die Stadt. Sehr breite StralJen, rechts und links Elend und Reichtum, grofie Parks. Slumzelte" (10). The use of these ellipses creates a feeling of dija uu, for it does not seem to matter who sees, since the sites are already known world- wide and therefore only require a generic enumeration (Elend, Reichtum, Parks, Slumzelte) for everyone to be im Bilde. Both the content and the form of Drewitz's remarks demonstrate the extent to which her journey is influenced by the dominant Third World discourse which preconditions and even determines her view of India well before she has actually seen the country. Keepingin line with the professional, work- related nature of this tour, she does not travel to see the unknown, but to record the familiar.

A similar approach informed Grass's stay in Calcutta. The author had visited India for the first time in 1975 and fiction- alized this experience in the chapter "Vasco kehrt wieder" in his novel Der Butt (1977). India, and in particular the West Bengal capital Calcutta, continued to haunt him, and eleven years later he returned with his wife Ute for a lengthy stay in the city. The travel report Zunge zeigen (1988), which comprises a hundred-page prose section, fifteen drawings, and a lengthy poem in twelve parts, contains the literary and vis- ual representations of this experience. In this autobiographical account (Grass is the first-person narrator), Grass calls himself a "Mifivergniigungsreisenden" (9) and goes on to explain:

Wovon ich wegfliege: von Wiederholun-

gen, die sich als Neuigkeiten ausgeben;

von Deutschland und Deutschland, wie

schwerbewaffnete Todfeinde einander

immer ahnlicher werden; von Einsichten,

aus zu naher Distanz gewonnen; von mei-

ner nur halblaut eingestandenen Ratlo-

sigkeit, die mitfliegt ... Tausende Kilome-

ter weit weg vom subtilen Flachsinn einst

linker, jetzt nur noch smarter Feuilletoni-

sten, und weg, weg von mir als Teil oder

Gegenstand dieser Offentlichkeit. (9)

Equally strong as his desire to return to India is thus his desire to leave an uncom- fortable situation in Germany, in particular the criticism his most recent novel, Die Rat- tin (1986), had received. India thus pro- vides him with an escape long sought after, so that his encounter with India is influ- enced by his frustration and disillusion- ment with the stateofaffairs, both personal and political, in Germany. As in earlier In- dia literature, the country is thus again pos- ited as non-West or non-Germany. In con- trast to Drewitz, however, Grass is aware of his own preconceived notions about In- dia and asks: "Ich weilj, da13 in Bombay, spatestens in Calcutta der Igel mit dem bekannten Spruch schon wartet . . . Also wird nur das Hima extrem und anders sein?" (10). Grass attempts to control and, if possible, to eliminate these images of In- dia by choosing a native lifestyle and by constructing the travelogue in a postmod- ern fashion.

Grass spent about six months in Cal- cutta. He had intended to stay longer, but Ute's numerous health problems forced them to cut short the visit by about half a year. In any case, Grass had chosen not to tour India, but to live in a specific city, es- tablishingadaily routine, by which he tried to create an "authentic" Indian environ- ment for himself. To the extent possible, Grass wanted "to go native" in order to reduce his position as outsider. In contrast to short-term visitors such as Drewitz, Grass had the opportunity to cultivate some of the daily rituals, habits, and occu- pations by which we turn a foreign place into home, thereby rendering the unfarnil- iar or foreign familiar. The numerous ref- erences to living conditions (in lower-class neighborhoods), to daily rides on hope- lessly overcrowded trains, as well as to the local fare of "Reis, Dal, Fisch" (94), serve to show his efforts at integration. Setting up house in Calcutta-and Grass repeat- edly mentions the huge "Seefrachtkiste"

(7) which contains the material elements (books) necessary for his temporal roots- the city becomes the place to live and work. During his stay Grass was involved in a production of his play Die Plebejer proben den Aufstand, but the main work he carves out for himself is to observe, describe, and draw Calcutta. While both he and Drewitz use the concept of work to encounter India, thereby objectifying and distancing them- selves from the realities they see, Grass de- fines India as an aesthetic project which requires his continued response as an art- ist.Z1

In both instances, however, India is equated with misery, and both Drewitz and Grass make it their cause to report primar- ily on India's poverty and agony. Descrip- tions of incredible destitution and depriva- tion thus form the core of both authors' experiences and recordings. In all three sections of Zunge zeigen, Calcutta's paue- ment dwellers function as a leitmotif, while Drewitz emphasizes the countless beggars, including children cruelly crippled for the purpose of begging. Beyond their daily and unavoidable exposure to agony and impov- erishment, both authors intentionally seek out even more misery by arranging for ad- ditional visits to slum areas where they talk to inhabitants and social workers. Grass, in particular, makes it his mission to see as much of Calcutta's underworld as possible. He selects as a guide the young writer Daud

Haider: "Er bietet an, uns die Stadt bis in die schwarzesten Winkel hinein zu zeigen" (38).Although Grass himself is sometimes amazed by the ease with which Haider en- ters into people's homes (slums, ruins), he does not seem overly concerned about the double voyeurism he is practicing during these excursions. For not only does he visit these places in order to find out how much dirt, squalor, and injustice it is possible for people both to inflict and to endure, he also frequently draws or sketches these sights. By looking and then materializing his gaze, Grass is treating the people as objects of his social and aesthetic inquiry.

Drewitz is almost as eager as Grass to see a maximum of dreadful sites, but her focus differs from his in one important way. Most of her encounters and visits describe the situation of women in India, whereas for Grass gender is not a category which informs his view of India. Drewitz reports not only on the problems of the educated female middle class, but also records the dowry-based plight of lower-class women. Whether she is describing urban or rural conditions, or life in the slum or villa, she always highlights the conditions and chal- lenges for women. She also criticizes mid- dle-class women for their lack of activism on behalf of the rural or slum population (20-2 1).Paying particular attention to gen- der discrimination, however, does not in- clude paying attention to particular wom- en. Drewitz rarely endows the women in India with a distinct personal voice. By describing them as "Frauen der Mittel- schicht" (351, "Frauen die Wasche im Flu13 waschen" (52), or "eine alte Frau" (641, she does not appear to recognize them as indi- vidual subjects.

The particular thematic focus on misery leads in both texts to a very similar narra- tive technique, though their descriptions of Indian poverty are embedded in different genre frameworks. Zunge zeigen and Mein indisches Tagebuch are both narrated in a chronological, linear fashion, delineating the progression of visits and events. The "itinerar[ies] of the sign and the traveler" (Lawrence 25) thus follow each other closely, particularly in Drewitz's report. Recording the succession of visits and ap- pointments creates in both texts a sort of Reihungsstil, from which the reader soon knows what to expect. In order to control the daily onslaught of deeply disturbing and frightening encounters, both authors resort to realistic, very factual descriptions. Particularly striking in this context is their use of the same rhetorical devices. Numer- ous ellipses, paratactic, asyndetic sentences, and an overabundance of details construct in both narratives a camera-like gaze. Since the two authors use the same lens and the same perspective, their pic- tures become often interchangeable, if not identical, as the following two examples, taken from Drewitz's depiction of a bazaar in Hyderabad and from Grass's portrait of a slum in Calcutta, reveal:

Anschlieljend Ladchen an Ladchen mit Topfen, Schusseln, Geschirr aus Edel- stahl, aus Plastik. Dann die Reihe der Eisenwaren-und Ersatzteilhandler. Zwischendrin einmal eine Apotheke, ein Gewurzhandel. her den Ladchen ge- schnitzte Balkone, geschnitzte Fenster- rahmen, Erkerchen, ungepflegt, zerbro- chen und ohne Farbe. Und auf den Karren an der Stralje die riesigen Bananenstau- den, Gemuse, suljes und trockenes Ge- back. (Drewitz 78)

Dacher, gefugt aus Teerpappe, Plastikfet- Zen, Sperrholz und restlichen Dachzie- geln, mit Lumpen verstopft, jedes Dach anders verfilzt. Sacke, Strohmatten, von Steinen und Knuppelholz beschwert. Blech auf Blech rostend, drauf Autorei- fen, schlappe Schlauche, plattgewalzt eine Kuhlerhaube. Und ineinander ge- staucht: Korbe, Siebe, Kisten. (Grass 27)

Through such depictions Drewitz and Grass reduce India to an agglomeration of sights, smells, colors, and materials which cannot form a cohesive entity. What they record, however, appears fragmented to the

observer, but not necessarily to the people in the bazaar or slum. Mary Louise Pratt has described this particular stance as "the white man's lament," which remains "re- markably uniform across representations of different places, and by westerners of different nationalities" (220).Pratt identi- fies these forms of critique, disgust, or dis- tance as typical for the contemporary writer traveling to Third World countries where they may change the content of their gaze, replacingexoticized landscapes by de- aestheticized cityscapes, but not the posi- tion of authority: "Lament as they might, these seeing-men do not relinquish their promontories and their sketch books. . . . They are still up there, commanding the view, assigning it value, oblivious to limita- tions on their perceptual capacities, their relations of privilege perfectly naturalized"


While Grass captures "die (ungeschrie- bene) Lthetik der hut" (63)in his nar- rative and sketch book, Drewitz resorts to medical terminology in order to interpret Indian realities. Her daily exposure to slums and squalor-viewing shape her per- ception of India as a "sick" country. Cal- cutta, for example, to which she repeatedly refers as "0Calcutta," is "wie eine tiefe, eiternde Wunde, die nicht heilen kann" (45),the slums are "die Schwaren Indiens" (103),and Bombay is summarized as "die Riesenstadt ... mit ihren grorjen Wunden" (43).Framing India within such a discourse of diseased and suffering bodies inevitably leads the author to search for cures or an- swers. Since she is unable to identify or find any remedies or explanations, India remains for Drewitz an impenetrable con- glomeration of colonial legacies, missed re- forms, and corrupt politicians. By fore- grounding the chaos, incomprehension, and destitution of Indian cities, Drewitz adopts what Pratt has called the position of the postcolonial metropolitan writer whose impulse it is "to condemn what they see, trivialize it, and dissociate themselves utterly from it" (217).Despite her compas-

sion and empathy, Drewitz is thus unable to question or even to see her hegemonic stance and its accompanying discourse of authority and domination. She never con- siders the "politics of location,"22 and thus fails to recognize that she is constantly framing India as the object of her inquiry and that her own position discursively re- inscribes precisely those power structures whose political manifestations she hopes to critique. Indicative of this attitude is the almost complete lack of any dialogue in her text. Although Drewitz briefly reports on the opinions and ideas of Indians she meets, she almost never endows them with their own voice. They remain the quiet partners of a discourse dominated, if not drowned out, by the German's speech.

A similar lack of dialogue characterizes Grass's text. Indians figure as guides, driv- ers, hosts, even colleagues, but their stories remain marginal and ultimately unimpor- tant in the German encounter with India. Yet, it is mostly through the translation ef- forts of these "natives" that Grass and Drewitz can ask questions and make them- selves understood. The "silence" of the In- dians thus conceals the authors' lack of lan- guage. Unable to speak Hindi, Urdu, or any other of the numerous Indian languages, and without the same degree of fluency in English as their bilingual counterparts, both authors must rely on the interpretive screen provided by those whom they simul- taneously silence. The fact that neither author comments on the shortcomings of their limited linguistic access seems to im- ply that the native speech must lack the complexity that would warrant such con- cerns. Grass, who can perceive the Indian languages only as sound, but not as com- munication, is even able to bend his own incompetence into an inferiority of the lan- guage itself: "Neunzehn einzelne Dichter lesen sich vor. Es hijrt sich wie Regen an: Tagore, Tagore" (94). Neither in Zunge zeigen nor in Mein indisches Tagebuch can "the Empire speak back."

The representation and textualization

shown in these two reports thus confirm, on the one hand, the "official metropolitan code of the 'third world,"' which Pratt de- fines as a "discourse of negation, domina- tion, devaluation, and fear that remains in the late twentieth century a powerful ideo- logical constituent of the west's conscious- ness of the people and places it strives to hold in subjugation" (219). Yet, as much as both Grass and Drewitz participate through their work-centered approach in this discourse, which empowered them to gain control and hide their fears, at the same time certain discursive strategies in their texts seem to expose and to uncover elements which disturb and break this standard western code. Not only are both authors very much aware of the neocoloni- alist policies contributing to the state of affairs in India, but also more importantly, at certain points, either directly (Grass) or indirectly (Drewitz), they challenge their own authoritative stance.

Grass achieves this first of all by using a multi-genre framework. Splitting his re- port into a narrative, a poetic, and a visual part demonstrates that no single form can do justice to the complexities of India's so- ciety and that he is struggling to material- ize what he sees. Grass treats the same themes in all three media, quoting for ex- ample from the prose part in the poem and inserting text passages into the drawings. By describing parts of Indian reality, most notably the Hindu goddess Kali in a surre- alistic manner, he also breaks the monot- ony of depressive reporting, and allows at times for a grotesque, rather than a mi- metic approach. Grass, like Drewitz, traces his itinerary through India by way of places and sights, but he stages his wanderings as an intertextual encounter with former ex- plorers, travelers, and writers. His most important companion is Theodor Fontane, who serves not only as a link to nineteenth- century British, Indian, and German his- tory, but also as a mediator between Grass and his wife Ute.23 With Fontane and other authors from earlier centuries such as

Lichtenberg, Schopenhauer, and Thomas Mann, Grass contemplates colonial lega- cies, neocolonial dependency, and above all the failure of the Enlightenment and its belief in rationality: "Was ist Indien? .. . Des Empires Nachlalj: die Groljmacht auf Kriicken? Oder die letzte Zuflucht bankrot- ter Vernunft? Was sollte sie hier sanieren?" (92).

Drewitz's report, on the other hand, is devoid of such textual mediation. She fol- lows a strictly documentary path which does not allow for the type of multiple ac- cess to India that Grass creates through his use of intertexuality, self-referentiality, and blending of genres. In contrast to Grass's postmodern approach,24 Drewitz does not seek the company of literary forbears and quotes instead extensively from newspaper articles. Her very first journal entry is in fact a quote from the German press about a tornado in Gujarat, thus revealing from the start her close reliance on media infor- mation about India. On the one hand, Drewitz presents the diary as a primarily personal, and not as a literary text, but on the other hand, she tries to negate her own subjectivity as much as possible. In con- trast to Grass, Drewitz deliberately avoids using the travel narrative as a discursive space. Though the title refers to and even stresses the presence of a self (Mein),the diary seems to lack a distinct personal voice, for Drewitz attempts to turn an auto- biographical mode into an impersonal ac- count. I believe that she employs this self- effacing strategy in order to achieve a more objective, purportedly more impartial ac- count of India. For the same reason, she neither describes the five other women in- tellectuals who were invited along with her, nor does she render much information on the people she meets in India.

This narrative strategy backfires, how- ever, in several ways. First of all, Drewitz herself notes at one point the paradox of trying to negate the subjectivity by which she perceives India: "Die irritierende Erfahrung ... mich selbst nicht wahrzu-

nehmen und doch verletzt zu sein, fast fie- bernd vor Ratlosigkeit" (81). Secondly, Drewitz violates the decisive rule of travel writing, which is the "reliance upon narra- tive voice" (Kowalewski 8). As Michael Kowalewski has argued, it is less the plot of discovery than the "narrative intelli- gence" that "shapes a travel book's imagi- native texture" (8). By negating this core principle of travelogues, Drewitz deprives herself of a more personal, more inventive encounter with India. Replacing the crea- tive and aesthetic possibilities of travel and self-exploration with the detailed account of a work-defined stay-in which even the price of a hotel room is recorded with a con- siderable amount of guilt-leads to arather one-sided and predictable account. Drewitz experiences India primarily as a place of immense misery which excludes any other concern or interest. This focus is reflected not only in the content, but also in the nar- rative strategies of the diary, i.e., in its un- easy combination of subjective modes and factual reports. Ultimately, Drewitz remains locked in the discursive and epis- temic framework she had established even before she arrived in India. The incessant gaze at the poverty stifles both the author and also her readers. The exclusive focus on the extraordinary dimensions of so much torment effaces not only the specific- ity of Indian people's lives, it also excludes the possibility of a mutual exchange, let alone the transformation of the observer.

Not surprisingly, India provokes mostly negative emotions in Drewitz, such as a "tiefe Traurigkeit," "Hiflosigkeit" (14), "Zorn ...hilflose Wut" (73), and a recurring fear. This well-known fear of being over- whelmed by India is countered by the rest- less, almost hectic daily schedule of lec- tures, visits, discussions, and excursions. Drewitz visited six major cities in five weeks (her itinerary included Delhi, Bom- bay, Calcutta, Madras, Hyderabad and Bangalore), at a speed which incidentally mirrors the touristic mode of "doing India." But the more Drewitz sees and discovers,

the less she is able to comprehend or accept

the reality surrounding her. Upon arriving

in New Delhi, she refers, for example, to

the city as "beklemmed ortlos. Noch" (lo),

but the hope expressed in the "noch" has

not been fulfilled. Five weeks later, the city

of Hyderabad is yet another "Nirgendort"

(69).The initial lack of spatial orientation

has not been overcome. On the contrary,

discovery and displacement turn out to be

mutually dependent experiences.

In her final entry, which functions as a kind of summarizing statement, Drewitz declares: "Ich werde nicht wieder nach In- dien reisen, denn ich weilj, da13 ich hier nichts, gar nichts ausrichten kann" (103). Her inability to make sense out of India as well as her inability to provide help leave her confused, irritated, angry, and sad. Yet, she ends herjournal on a rather surprising note. The last two sentences read:

Ende der Aufzeichungen.

Ich will nicht vergessen. (106)

These two phrases provide both a clo- sure and an open end to the travelogue. In finishing her written account of India, Drewitz nevertheless allows these experi- ences to further disturb and haunt her. She terminates her inquiry, but the displace- ment continues. The country remained for her an incomprehensible, shocking Other, yet it does not "other" her or her realistic mode of writing. Though she tries her very best to understand and appreciate India, she cannot cross the epistemic, visual, and textual boundaries of the Third World dis- course, thereby excluding the recognition of her observer position.

Grass, on the other hand, ends his nar- rative in the opposite way by alluding to the possibility of a return: "Als sie die See- kiste zuriickschickten ... sagte er: Wenn wir jemals wieder hierherkommen, neh- men wir wieder Fontane mit ..." (101).As the apocalyptic vigion of the poem shows, Grass is no less pessimistic than Drewitz about Calcutta's and India's future, which

he, too, sees in terms of poverty and depri- vation. But he is able to shift his experience of displacement into the artistic realm, re- creating it as an artistic challenge and a pursuit he is intent on mastering.

Hubert Fichte's Wolli Indienfahrer presents yet another mode of understanding and describing India, which distinguishes itself by an unusual sense of self-aware- ness. Like Grass and Drewitz, Wolfgang Kohler (and Hubert Fichte) are bound by their own epistemic and symbolic system, but within these confines Kohler is able to enter into a more dialogic relationship with people and realities he does not under- stand.

Gerd MattenMott has argued that in- terviews and interview strategies form the core of Fichte's work, a work which is driven both by journalistic and scholarly, as well as by poetic intentions:

Fichtes Einstellungzu seinen Stoffen ent- spricht darin vie1 eher der des recherchie- renden Publizisten als des kontemplati- ven oder raisonnierenden Schriftstellers traditioneller Herkunft. Er will etwas herausbekommen und das Erforschte un- gemindert offentlich machen. Diese Be- wegung von innen nach auljen scheint mir eine Grundfigur des Werkes zu sein: das Enthiillen, Vorzeigen, Ausstellen, Be- kanntmachen. (71)

Fichte was an author obsessed by a re- lentless, almost self-destructive quest for encyclopedic knowledge which leads him to journey around the world, and he chooses the syncretism of Afro-American religions and rituals as one of his fields of inquiry. Texts such as Xango. Die afroamerikani- schen Religionen I, I1 (1976),Petersilie. Die afroamerikanischen Religzonen 111, IV (1980), and Lazarus und die Waschmaschine (1985) are prime examples of his ethnopoetic approach to cultures.25 This pursuit of foreign cultures is, however, pre- ceded by the pursuit of cultural Otherness within Germany itself. Influenced by his own biography, Fichte documents the stories of homosexuals, prostitutes, and pimps who figure in the bourgeois order as objects both of contempt and desire. Wolli Indienfahrer, which contains seven inter- views with people from the St. Pauli dis- trict, participates in both discourses, since it bridges Fichte's quest for the foreign out- side of and the exploration of the foreign found within German borders. Hartmut Engelhardt has suggested we view Wolli Indienfahrer as an Entwicklungsroman in which the author transforms a real-life fig- ure into an aesthetic mode:

Der Romancier ... erfindet keinen Le- benslauf, sondern sein Tun greift in ihn ein und bricht ihn dem eigenen Bild ge- malj . . . so, dalj das asthetische Interesse an ihrem noch nicht zum asthetischen Gegenstand gewordenen Leben dieses in der alten Form unmoglich macht. (164)

Kohler's trip to India can thus be seen as a Bildungsreise through which he finds a different perspective on his self and (his) life in GermanY26Yet, asEngelhardt points out, by creating this new identity, he relin- quishes his former pimp persona. Though Fichte never visited India himself, he par- ticipates in the voyage insofar as he selects and shapes the materials of Kohler's expe- riences along the lines of a formative jour- ney, choreographing the interview in such a way that his own ethnographic interests also come to the surface. His questions thus elicit the travel narrative as embedded in the fabric of Wolfgang Kohler's life story, and they also focus on the theme that Fichte sees as the main driving force be- hind any journey: sexuality.

"Why can't one sit sti11?"27 D.H. Lawrence's question on the motivation for travel has recently received much critical attention. Dennis Porter in particular has examined the psychological forces which lure us away from home. Following Freud, Porter sees travel as driven by powerful transgressional impulses, by an intense desire which relates the geographic to the

erotic exploration. This desire for the un- known, for the foreign territory both at- tracts and frightens the potential traveler, and the ambiguity of leaving home often translates into an acute sense of dislocation which, according to Frances Bartkowski, "restages a profoundly psychoanalytic and political moment" (xviii). Looking at the motivation for a particular journey thus gives us an important first indicator of how the person will approach and perceive the unknown country. In Fichte's case, the es- say "Mein Freud Herodot," considered to be Fichte's most comprehensive poetic statement and self-description, gives the following rationale:

Nicht: Wissen ist Macht!-sondern: Rei

sen ist Wissen.


Der erste Prosaschriftsteller schrieb die

erste Psychopathologia Sexualis-grazio-

ser alsFreud legt Herodots Text nahe,

d&, da man des Sex wegen reist, Reisen

ein sexuelles Bediirfnis sei-schreiben

und aufdecken! ("Herodot" 329-30)

This triangulation of travel, knowledge, and sex describes Fichte's approach to the tour and its textualization: wandering and writing are mutually dependent. The same triadic structure characterizes Wolfgang Kohler's exchange with India, as disclosed by Fichte.

The title Wolli Indienfahrer emphasizes not only the importance of the pro- tagonist, but also indicates the framework in which Fichte sets this character. Zndienfuhrer evokes the nineteenth-century ex- plorer and traveler, for whom the journey was an exercise in knowledge gathering, patience, and endurance. Indienfahrer thus postulates a more traditional, a slower and more careful way ofvoyaging than that undertaken by contemporary tourists. The term also contains a reference to the afore- mentioned Indienfahrt by Waldemar Bon- sels, the popular travelogue which constructed India as the exotic refuge for civi- lization-weary Europeans (Reif 447). The juxtaposition of the historical category Zndienfahrer with the personal, affectionate nickname Wolli shows Kohler's experiences to be part of a Bildungsreise which hinges on his stay in India.

Fichte's participation and involvement in the interviews is demonstrated above all by the sequence and the substance of his questions. He aims not at a straightforward narrative about India, listing more or less comprehensively events, visits, and sights in the manner of Drewitz and Grass. In- stead, he tries to uncover the effects of the India experience on his protagonist. Fichte is primarily interested in the transformation India brings about for Kohler, and the questions about India thus dovetail with questions about Kohler's friends, child- hood memories. and his various relation- ships with women. Fichte phrases and ar- ranges these questions very cautiously, ap- proaching the of India in ever narrowing circles. He asks, for example, whether Kohler, who is currently reading Gandhi's autobiography, thinks he would have gotten along well with the famous man. Next, he inquires about how Gandhi would have fared in Kohler's circle of St. Pauli friends, and from there he moves to Kohler's first impression of Germany and his friends after his return. Connecting and relating decisive points from Kohler's biog- raphy-and this includes an extensive dis- cussion of his sexuality-to India thus be- comes the work of the author Fichte him- self, who uses India as the medium by which to reflect back on a German identity and life. Thus, Wolli Indienfahrer first es- tablishes a dialogic genre framework within which a dialogic encounter with the foreign country can then unfold. As a re- sult, Fichte and Kohler do not trace the

journey in a linear, chronological fashion, but rather in a back-and-forth movement between Indian and German realities. If Grass's and Drewitz's travels were a move- ment from Germany to India, Fichte's pro- tagonist seems to move in the opposite di- rection, because his narrative establishes

India as the main point of reference from which to look back at Germany and at him- self:

Kohler's first interest in India, however, was purely as a tourist. In February 1975, he and his wife had joined friends on a three-week luxury tour of India, traveling from Bombay to Ceylon and Goa. Intrigued by what he saw, Kohler decided to stay until May, going by bus from southern India all the way to Calcutta and Assam. In October of the same year, Kohler returned to India, this time accompanied by his wife. Again he toured large parts of the country, but focussed on the tribal people of Assam, among whom he and his wife spent most of their time. This second stay lasted until July 1976. Kohler's self-directed tour lacked, of course, the institutional frame- work on which Grass and Drewitz could rely. His trip was therefore much more firsthand, direct, and difficult. On the negative side, the unmediated exposure to India led to very serious medical problems, but it also allowed for a more complete im- mersion in the foreign culture. Free of pro- fessional and institutional duties, Kohler allowed his curiosity to guide him. What originated more or less as an accidental en- counter with the country thus grew into a deep and sustained interest, and eventu- ally became a turning point in Kohler's life. For not only did he plan to conduct further research on tribal people and their environ- ment, but he also perceived India as a kind of spiritual- or Bildungserlebnis which largely invalidated his life as a member of the Kiez.

Guided by Fichte's questions, Kohler stresses this learning process as it relates both to his personal growth and his political insights. He comes to reject, for example, the dominant media presentation of India as a Third World country:

Woher habe ich mein Wissen? Das habe ich aus Massenmedien und aus Massen- medien hatte ich mein Wissen iiber Indien unddas hat sich herausgestellt, dalj ich da absolut auf dem Holzweg war, dalj das eben alles nicht stimmt . . . Ich kann aus einer Wohnung nur die Drecksecke zeigen und ich kann in einer Wohnung nur die gute Stube zeigen und beides stimmt nicht, sondern die Wohnung. (496-97)

Kohler is obviously confronted with the same sights as Grass and Drewitz; in fact both he and Grass describe a very similar scene, namely their embarrassment and helplessness when faced with a person dy- ing on the street (Fichte, Wolli 44748; Grass,Zunge 14). Yet Kohler does not make India's poverty the main focus of his nar- rative. His view of India thus allows for a far greater variety of sites and experiences. This does not spell indifference toward the socioeconomic conditions, but a refusal to see everything within the Third-World paradigm. Moreover, in contrast to Grass and Drewitz, who never question the ap- propriateness and justification of their gaze, Kohler is aware of the voyeurism in- herent in traveling and ph0to~ra~hing.28 His attitude towards India is clearly in- formed by the 1960s culture, in particular his focus on Gandhi's concept of nonvio- lence (Kade-Luthra 32).At times, his com- ments reveal a great deal of political na- ivete and credulity, and he also makes sweeping remarks such as "also den lieben Inder findet man mehr in Sudindien" (4331, or "der Inder ist enorm am Geld in- teressiert" (451). Yet, he is also able to see the limits and biases of his "knowledge." More importantly, he does not rely on the metropolitan discourse, so pervasive in both Grass's and Drewitz's accounts. Kohler allows, for example, tribal people, nature, and animal wildlife to be part of his experience. Grass also frequently mentions animals, but the crows, rats, and cows he describes or draws are used as metaphoric expressions of Indian misery; they do not merit any attention in themselves.

Not surprisingly, in Kohler's account Indians appear not as face- and voiceless victims, but as individual human beings en-

dowed with a specific story, who also ques- tion him about his cultural practices. In fact, when asked what interested him most during the first trip, he refers to the differ- ent people he had met (449). His particular interest in the tribal communities even lead him to influence and to try to change their economic and agricultural struct~res.~g

In retrospect, he admits to the pre- tentiousness of such efforts. His naivete and ignorance are likewise evident in his remark that he did not speak any "Indisch" (444). Also, in contrast to the repulsion, criticism, and distance that Grass and Drewitz display toward the sights of holy cows, burial rituals, and temples, it is pre- cisely the religious side of Indian life that continues to attract Kohler. He rebukes the corruption and hypocrisy shown by many priests, but at the same time he allows him- self a spiritual encounter with Hinduism. He stresses, however, that this "conver- sion," as well as any other experience, has to be understood within the different cul- tural framework provided by India:

Und wenn ich bier neben meinem Bett jetzt auch diese Ganeschfigur habe, das ist nicht dasselbe, als wenn diese Figur in Indien ist. Gandhi in Indien zu lesen, ist was andres, als Gandhi hier zu lesen. Auf eimal merkst du, dalj Philosophie such geographisch bedingt ist, und das stellt doch sehr viele Sachen in Fratze. (453)

It is precisely this type of questioning and self-reflexivity (coupled with naivete) which distinguishes Kohler's narrative. He recognizes that different grids of knowl- edge produce different views of "India" and that discursive mechanisms are ultimately rooted in the position (and the authority) of the spectator. In contrast to Drewitz and Grass, Kohler thus does not engage in what Porter calls "cultural cartography" or as- signing "fixed identities to regions and races that inhabit them[,] . . . situating one- self once and for all vis-a-vis an Other or others" (Porter 20). It is a telling example of Kohler's attitude that he wears Indian clothing, thereby symbolizing his ability to de-center himself and to cross cultural boundaries at least partially or playfully. Though in terms of concrete help, his in- terference with tribal communities was certainly inappropriate, false, and preten- tious, seen within thecontext ofthejourney it replaced the passive act of seeing by an act of intervention. It moved the traveler from the position of observer to that of par- ticipant who, instead of inspecting and judging, engages himself with Indian reali- ties.

In Wolli Indienfahrer the discovery of India and the discovery of self go hand in hand. By distancing himself from the Third World framework, this Indienfahrer disrupts the current binary (medial) mode of viewing India. Thus, in his account, the German center which Grass and Drewitz confirm at every turn no longer holds as the ultimate point of reference. Unlike Drewitz and Grass, Kohler does not erect a protective discursive screen in order to keep India at bay. Defining India as "work" or as an aesthetic challenge to be mastered


produces an encounter based on the tools necessary for work and mastery: diligent preparation, rationality, authority, and dis- cipline. Precisely these very same tools, necessary for the colonization of the conti- nent, now double to intellectually solidify the results of the oppression: Third World chaos and poverty. Unsettling this (neolco- lonial perspective would require a cognitive and emotional distance toward one's own position, privileges, and anxieties. This ne- cessity of challenging the cultural author- ity and identity of the observer has been far better recognized by Fichte (and Kohler) than by Drewitz and Grass, who ultimately do not allow India to gaze back and to question them.


'For an introduction to Drewitz's prose, see Briiggemann and Ullrich.

2Helmut Heissenbiittel had first coined the

term "poetische Anthropologie," which sub-

sequently became a common characterization

for Fichte's oeuvre. For a discussion of this

category, see Clement.

3See Durzak, Mayer (1988).

4See Lutzeler, "The Postcolonial View," for an excellent overview of recent reports of Ger- man-speaking authors from the Third World and Sareika for the description of the Third World in West German literature of the 1960s.

5Wolli Indienfahrer is based on an earlier

interview collection, entitled Interviews aus

dem Palais dJAmour (1972).

6For a broad overview of the influence of

India in German literature and philosophy, see

Kade-Luthra (9-37).

7Konstanze Streese has argued that the cri- tique of colonial oppression requires a dialogi- cal structure. "Von kolonialismuskritischen Texten ware daher zu fordern, dalj die aufdeck- ende Reprasentation der 'eigenen' Kultur im kolonialen Kontext sich im Dialog mit den Stimmen der 'anderen' Kultur realisiert, die dann als solche ernst genommen wird, anstatt wie in der Kolonialliteratur nur narrativer Hintergrund, ideologisches Gegenmodell oder Objekt des eigenen Sprechens zu sein" (11).

8Zunge zeigen has received extensive jour- nalistic and scholarly attention. For on over- view of newspaper reviews, see Onderdelinden. Critical analyses include Shafi, Ganeshan, and Mayer (1992).

gBeckermann contains reprints of newspa- per reviews by Engelhardt, Raddatz, and Kolbe (161-73).

1°Lotz briefly discusses Drewitz as one ex- ample of West German travel reports from In- dia (505-06). Haussermann contains reprints of two brief newspaper reviews (106-08).

IlLutzeler, introduction, Multiculturalism In Contemporary German Literature 453.

121n addition to the studies by Pratt and Porter, Bartkowski (xv-xxviii), Kowalewski, Mae G. Henderson, and Streese provide very useful insights.

l3A comprehensive overview ofthis discus- sion is offered by McCarthy and Schneider.

14Based on her own extended stay in Tur- key, the Austrian writer Barbara Frischmuth provides an excellent summary of the ambigui- ties involved in viewing and representing dif- ferent cultural identities: "The attempt to ap-

propriate this Other ... will and must fail as

long as one stubbornly clings to one's own iden-

tity. But how can I write without this identity,

the very thing that makes my narrative stance

possible?" (460).

15Lawrence explains this point as follows:

"The search to make it new is crucial to travel

writing, from voyages of exploration to tour-

ism. Even voyages of discovery betray anxiety

that someone else's marker has preceded the

explorer both geographically and textually"


16For an extensive discussion of Herder's

image of India, see Willson 50-71 and Figueira


17See Reif 442-51.

18For the shift in travel destinations and

interests, see Gleber.

19In India the Goethe-Institute is named

Max Muller Bhavan in honor of the nine-

teenth-century Indologe Max Muller.

20See Lotz 505.

21For a detailed discussion of Grass's aes-

thetic approach to India, see Mayer (1992),

Mayer (1993), and Shafi 34748.

22Adrienne Rich qtd. in Blunt and Rose 7. 23For a discussion of the relationship be- tween Grass and Ute, see Shafi 34546. 24For a discussion ofZunge zeigen as a post- modern travelogue, see Shafi. 25For a detailed discussion of Fichte's poet- ics, see Bohme 18-29.

26See also Kolbe 172-73.

27Qtd. in Porter 13.

28"I~hliebe Fotos. Ich bin ein Fotofan. Aber ich komm mir immer vor, als ob ich unerlaubt durch ein Astloch gucke, wenn ich fotografier. Das geht so weit, dalj ich ein Nashorn um Er- laubnis fragen mochte, ob ich es fotografieren darf" (486).

29Kohler had bought two oxen and a plough for one tribe (478).

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