Sibling Incest and Cultural Voyeurism in Günderode's "Udohla" and Thomas Mann's "Wälsungenblut"

by Stefani Engelstein
Sibling Incest and Cultural Voyeurism in Günderode's "Udohla" and Thomas Mann's "Wälsungenblut"
Stefani Engelstein
The German Quarterly
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University ofMissouri

Sibling Incest and Cultural Voyeurism in Giinderode's Udohla and Thomas Mann's


Christina von Braun has traced an intriguing reversal in the meaning of the word Blutschande overthecourseofthe nineteenthcentury.1 Whilethe ultimate disgrace to the bloodoriginally referred to incest,i.e., to sexualrelations between kin deemed too close, it had been transformed by the twentieth century into a shamefulexogam)', abetrayaloftheracethrough sexualrelationswiththe "other," andnot justanyother,but specificallywith theJewishother.Braunsuggeststhat the transformation of the word signals a unidirectional shift in dominant anxieties,fromfearofincesttofearofinterracialrelationships. Myclaimis,however, that asearlyastheeighteenthcenturythenightmareorfantasyofincestalready encapsulatedwithin itselfthefearofotherness,whilethetwentieth-century definition of Blutschande had not infactdriftedveryfarfromitsincestuous origin.

Againstthefermentofculturalencounterintheeighteenthcentury; the prevalenceofthe overdetermined motif ofincestin the culturalimaginationcanberead intwo differentwayswhichsituneasilywith eachother,butarenonethelessinterdependent. First, incest fantasies constitute a conservative response to anxiety overconfrontationwith otherness,in the formofa modelofultimate insularity throughradicalendogamy.Accordingtothis model, incestisawayofconserving the purity of a race.? Second, andsimultaneously incest fantasies constitute an apocalypticvisionofthedissolutionofcivilization (i.e., ofWesternorGermanculturedefinedascivilized) inamimicryof"primitive"sexualbehavior.Thus,evenin theveryactwhichguaranteesthe biologicalsegregationofagroup,the efficacyof biological segregation iscalled into question.This particularalignmentoforientalismwith sibling incestoriginated in the mid-eighteenthcentury and persisted into thetwentieth, adaptingitselftonewculturalconstellationsasthey arose. While thefirstworkthat Iwill address,KarolinevonCunderode's Udohla (1805), takes place in India and rests upon the assumption that Hindu law permits siblings to marry; thelastworkunderconsideration,ThomasMann's Walsungenblut (written 1905, firstpublished 1921), projectsthechargeofincestonto GermanJews. Aswe willsee, thesignificanceofracialandculturalanxietyintheincestuousimagination remainedremarkablyconstant, providingabackdropagainstwhichchanging perceptions ofraceappearinstarkcontrast.

TheGerman Quarterly 77.3 (Summer 2004) 278

Startinginthe mid-eighteenth century therewasanexplosioninthenumber ofworksofliterature,particularly Britishand Germanliterature,involving the themeofsiblingincest.Althoughscenesofintergenerationalincestpersisted (one mustthinkonlyofHeinrichvon Kleist's"DieMarquisevon 0 ..."),thefarmore predominantformofincestin literaturebeginning in the mid-eighteenthcentury wasthat betweensiblingsfThecommonmisperceptionthat theincreased representationof siblingincestbeganonlyin the mid-nineteenthcenturyshouldhave beenlaidtorestbyDanielWilson, who hasdocumentedalmostthirty talesofsiblingincestin European literatureduringthe longeighteenthcentury leading up to Romanticism."Nordidthe popularityofthemotifdiminishduringtheRomantic period. Thesheernumbersarestartling,andyet perhapsthisveryfrequency hasallowedthe theme to fadeinto the background and bluntedthe shockwhich would otherwise adhere to this taboo subject, and prompt investigation.'

Whereshouldwe lookforan explanationofthe suddenandintensepopularity of sibling incest in literature'( Alan Richardson, working with Britishliterature, connectsearlynineteenth-centurytalesofincestto the Romanticemphasis on sharedchildhoodsympathiesarisingfromacommonupbringing, aswellasto RomanticNarcissism,whichunitesthesisterwith thenarratororprotagonistasa newly-valuedfeminine partofhimself.Thekeytothisreadingliesinashiftinthe representationofsibling incestin British literatureoverthe courseofthe late eighteenth century. Whileearlierworksdepicted primarily unwitting incestbetween strangerswhoareunawareoftheirtrue familial relationship, BritishRomanticliteraturefavored incestuousrelations betweenthoseraised assiblings,whether biologicallybrotherandsisterornot.6Thisparadigmdoesnot hold,however, forGermanliterature. Wilsonisolates unwitting incestasthemostcommonformofsibling incest in pre-Romantic German literature, as it is in pre-Romantic British literature. However, inGermanliterature, loveforthe unrecognized siblingcontinuedto flourish asthemostpopularsibling-incestmotifduringandaftertheRomantic period. Erotic desire between unrecognized siblings cut short by a timely discovery of the true relationship include Lessing's Nathan der mise (1779), Schiller'sDie Braut von Messina (1803), and Grillparzer'sDieAhnfrau (1817). Some examplesdepartfromthisparadigm slightly. Forexample, theharperinGoethe's WilhelmMeisters Lehrjahre (1795) consummatestherelationship beforehissister's identityisrevealed andwishesto continuethe relationship evenafterthe revelation; and Tieck's Eckbert (1797) has repressed knowledge of his sister/wife's identity: However, neitherofthesepairswas raised togetherandhencetheirattractionis notbasedoncommonexperiences. Onlyinafewrareinstancesdosiblingswhowere raised togetherdevelopaneroticloveforeachother,suchasinGoethe's"DieGeschwister"(1776), buttheyturn outintheendnottoberelated. WhileShelleyand Byron, moreover, bothdepictincestknowinglycommittedbetweensiblingsraised together, Germanliteraturedoesnot produceanexampleofthisintentionallyconsummated incest until much later, in Wagner'sDie Walkure (1856), in Thomas Mann's Wiilsungenblut, and in Musil'sDer Mannohne Eigenschafien (1930--42).

To understand the prevalence of sibling incest in the literary imagination, it is necessary to look beyond the newemphasis on childhood and shared impressions, and to investigate more closely the constellation of concerns with which incest was so often intertwined in literature. The result of such an analysis, surprising only at first glance, is the revelation of an overwhelming correspondence, in both German and in British literature, between the depiction of sibling incest and the thematization of the orient? Unlike its neighbors, Germany did not follow traditional modes of imperial expansion outside of Europe until the late nineteenth century. Germans, however, participated eagerly in the exploration, documentation, and ethnographic description of exotic cultures, particularly of India, the Middle East, and America. The fascination with the orient in eighteenth-century Europe follows a historical trajectory which can be traced to exploration, trade relations, and imperial conquests, all of which engendered a paper trail of travelogues, translations, and administrative accounts in Europe. Not only did the fixation on sibling incest arise simultaneously with the burgeoning interest in the orient, but the two often appear in tandem. It is not unusual to encounter works from the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries which claim, falsely,that some distant culture sanctions sibling incest: the Gabars (a branch of Zoroastrians) in Montesquieu's Persian Letters (1721), the Hindus in Karoline von Cunderode's Udohla,and, in Coleridge's notebooks, both the Magi (another name for Zoroastrians) and Otaheitans (Tahitiansrf In German literature, the threat of incest rarely arises without some reference to the orient and cultural hierarchies.

As Nike Wagner reminds us in Wagner Theater, her personal and interpretive work on her great-grandfather, "Vom Inzest als solchem kann man eigentlich nichtsprechen. DerInzestexistiert nuralsTabu."?Thevaunteduniversalityof the taboo can thus be read as a tautology: incest is defined as those erotic relationships with kin which are forbidden, and the relationships are in turn declared to be forbidden because they constitute incest. The demarcation of incest cuts directly to the core questions of identification-with a culture which defines incest, witha religion which forbids it, and witha family classified by it. Incest often appears as the lineofdelineationwhichsegregatesthecivilizedfrom theprimitive.10Theparticular attraction of incest as a theme lies precisely in the flexibility of its definition. Any claim about the permissibility of incest in one society inherently involves the judgment of an external culture.

These trends crystallize in Udohla, a little-read drama by Karoline von Gunderode which takes place in India.'! This play about identity in a colonial setting focuses on the internal dynamics of two cultures which occupy the same geographical space and form their cultural identities in dialogue with, and yet against, one another. While the drama explicitly analyzes the ideology of the colonial endeavor and the impact on the colonized culture, the conclusions it reaches about identity formation are easily transportable into an internal European setting. Because the two cultures under consideration share a geographical commitment, the story becomes one of multiculturality rather than one of foreign dominance. The interrogative nature of the drama depends on a strategy of inviting and then revoking identification with a range of characters who cut across the cultural spectrum. Returning frequently to "blood" in the form of family race, and violence, the play also suggests the variety of associations possible for the term used at the beginning of this article, Blutschande. I argue that the lack of any explicit European element in the play opens up the drama to a range of potential identification points and demands the active engagement of the audience. Left suspended and discomfited, the viewer must question the very dynamics of identity.

Like Christian Gellert's Leben der Schwedischen Grafi'n von G * (1748) and Lessing's Nathan der \%ise, Udohla includes a familiar familial muddle, in which characters prove to be mistaken about who is, and who is not, a relative. In all of these works, this confusion opens the potential for unwitting incestuous involvement. The plot ofUdohla is additionally complicated, however, by a gulf between two cultural groups in India which is at once coded as racial, religious, and hierarchical. Moreover, one of these groups, the subjugated Hindus, is represented as condoning sibling incest, a practice which is, however, culturally abhorrent to India's colonizers. Although the play was written in 1805 as the British East India Company was expanding its territorial control through outright war combined with the purchasing of alliances through offers of trading profits, Cunderode's play counters expectations by presenting as the colonizers not the British, but the Muslim Moguls. The rhetorical strategy of displacing a European empire with an imperial power considered both foreign and exotic by the play's audience establishes a distance between audience and dramatic action that allows an analysis of colonial relations which can strike closer to home through a detour.

The plot of Udohla hinges on the identityofa womanpresumedto beNarissa, the sister of the Muslim Sultan. The Sultan has fallen in love with this woman and wishes to marry her, but is hindered by his unease over transgressing against Muslim religious rules forbidding incest, and is further impeded by his political advisors, who warn him against the internal and external ramifications of such a decision. Marriage to his own closest Mogul blood relation is, startlingly; represented by this faction as a seduction by native Hindu culture because, within the framework of the story; sibling incest is sanctioned by the Hindus. Incest, while therefore preserving the bloodline, nonetheless represents a politically dangerous form of "going native." The Sultan's religious advisor, the Dervish insists,

Verfiihrung droht uns von der Hindu Yolk, Eshasset unsersLebens ernste Strenge Und sucht uns von derTugendSieges-Bahn ZuseinertragenUeppigkeit zu locken. Drum thut unsStrengenoth und festerSinn. Eingrofses Beispiel mufsder Herrschergeben Wiemandas heilige Gebotverehn.l/

Under the guise of the holiness of his cause, this adviser advocates what are clearly political strategies that hinge on resisting native culture. In order to maintain power, he reminds the Sultan, distance must be preserved between colonizer and colonized. The cultural disparity is figured as the distinction between orderly respect for the law and idle sensuousness. Without the trenchant commitment to their own traditions, the colonizers cannot preserve the fiction of superiority which is internally necessary as self-justification for Muslim rule. Cultural superiority and adherence to the rule of law not only gives the Muslims the right to govern, it also sheds a benevolent light on that government.

Such arguments would have sounded familiar and plausible to anyone who took an interest in the British East India Company's activities in India at the end of the eighteenth century. As Thomas Metcalf argues in Ideologies ofthe Raj,

By the end of Lord Cornwallis's years as governor-general (1786-93), the British had put together a fundamental set of governing principles. For the most part these were drawn from their own society, and included the security of private property, the rule of law, and the idea of "'

The development of the British legal and educational institutions in its colonies legitimized domination as not only natural, but also mutually beneficial. The Muslim right to rule in Cunderode's drama is similarly phrased in terms of the tutelage of a child to an adult and of a female to a male. "Schon viele Jahre herrschen die Mongolen / In Hindostan, und waren stets bemuht / zu Mannern dieses weiche Yolk zu bilden, / Allein unmund'ge Kinder bleiben Sie," (207) the Dervish insists. This deployment of gender codes to suggest a biologically natural and intimate relationship runs contrary to the Dervish's arguments above, namely, that seduction by the feminine Hindu culture is dangerous. Marriage is suggested as a trope for peaceful colonial relations only to the extent that its benevolence towards the colonized is depicted. When the influence is imagined to run in the other direction, the marriage metaphor is replaced by images of profligate and contagious sexuality."

By setting the drama in Delhi in the court of the "Sultan der Mongolen," Cunderode conflates several actual periods and regimes in Indian history. This conflation, whether intentional or not, allows Cunderode to draw productively on two different sets of associations. The Mogul Empirein India lasted two centuriesfromitsfounding byBaburin1526untilitscollapsethroughaseriesofwars of succession and the attrition of member kingships in the mid-to late eighteenth century. Babur claimed descent through the Mongol warriors Timur (Tamerlane) on one side,and Chingiz Khan on the other, and chose the name"Mogul" accordingly.While proclaiming these exalted ancestors amplified Babur's military reputation, the Mogulswere muchmoreimmediatelyTurkic thanMongolian, having been forced out of Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan. is By placing the action in apalaceinDelhi,however, Cunderodealsoalludesto an earlierTurkicMuslim dynast)', the Sultanate of Delhi, which ruled varying amounts of land from the capital of Delhi from 1206 until Babur's conquest in 1526. On the one hand, the choice of a Sultan's palace provides a setting familiar from tales of the Crusades or

of seraglios in the Ottoman Empire, conjuringup images of "Orientaldespotism" and women immured in harems. By referring to the Mogul Empire as well, Cundercde makesthe actionmuchmorecontemporaryand politically relevant, as the MogulEmpire immediatelypreceded the British one.

Asa colonizing powerwith a religion, heritage, and homelandinitiallydistinct fromthat ofitssubjects, theMogulstatewasseennotonlybyCunderode, butstill todaybyhistorianBurtonSteinas"theprecursorfor... the riseofthe successor empireoftheBritishcolonialists, whichenduredfornearlythe sameamount of time;that is,aroundtwocenturies" (164).Theshiftinthe policiesoftheBritish East India Company from commercial agreements to outright colonialization cannotbepinnedtoa specificyear. TheEastIndiaCompanyuseditsownstanding armyofcompanytroopsin the second halfofthe eighteenthcentury to consolidatepowerboth bydestroyingDutchand French settlementsandbyintervening militarilyin Indian regions. The British themselves did not seetheir intervention on the Indiansubcontinentasanalogous to the MuslimEmpire which preceded it. Infact,the presumedtyrannyofMuslimruleinIndiawasthought to bea justificationofBritishcontrolontwocounts:first, theBritish believedtheywouldprovideamoreenlightenedrulethan the previousempire; second, theexistenceofthis previousempireprovedthat theHindupopulationwasincapable of,oratleastunpreparedfor, self-rule. Simultaneously;thedepictionofIndiaasaterritory divided intotwodistinctculturesfundamentallyatoddswitheachother-anoppressive imported Muslim regime and an oppressed native Hindu populace -was a cornerstoneofBritisheighteenth-centuryreportingonthe region. Cunderode'splay; however, depictsHinduaswellasMuslimadvisors at theSultan'scourt.Infact, beginningwith Babur'sgrandsonAkbar, theMogulrulersdidappointHindusas wellasMuslimsto positions ofpowerinthecourt.This policycaused tensionbetween the royalfamilyand the religious leaders. Cunderodecouldhavebeenaware ofthistensionifshehad access toAlexanderDow's firstvolumeof The History of Hindostan (1768). Dow reports, "It is however well known, that the Emperor [Akbar] afterwardsgreatlyfavoured theHindoofaith,andgavemuch offence to zealousMahommedans, bypracticingsomeIndiancustomswhichtheythought favoured ofidolatry."16Giinderodewouldnothaveneededsucha specifichistoricalreferentto choosethistensionascentraltoher play; however. Suchtensionis inevitableineverycolonialendeavor. Ultimately;theplayisnotaboutIndiaata specific historical moment, but about the unavoidable cultural adjustments which proceed from multicultural coexistence.

The pervasive useofBritishrhetorical strategies bythe Mogulsin Udohla both familiarizes the Moguls by bringing them into an analogous relationship to Europeans, andsimultaneouslyrenderstherhetoricitselfsuspect, providinganimplicit critiqueofBritishpolicy. TheimageofHinducultureaslanguidandsensuousis complicated, though not invalidated, by the existence of a plot, howeverineffectual,tooverthrowMuslim rule, aswellasbythe longingsofthemaincharacter, Ewana,for freedom fromtheHarem,andperhapsmostimportantlybytheremindersofthe HinducourtierSinooftheexistenceofasetofHindulawsandpractices which predate the temporary Muslim reign. Hindus, while still gentle, are nonetheless politicalactors here.V

The strategy of simultaneously familiarizing and defamiliarizing is repeated with the Hindus, for whom the primary point of identification is the woman thought to be the Sultan's sister Narissa. Udohla, although the title character, is muchlesswelldeveloped. Heisonlyahalf-heartedheroicrebel.Here,Cunderode follows a recurrent pattern often noted in nineteenth-century European literature. The gender divideis mapped onto the cultural divide,creating an opposition between masculinecolonizers, whetherEuropeanorMuslim,and feminine orientalsubjects.Whiletheorientalwomanthus becomestheidealofgentlefemininity; the oriental male appears as castrated, powerless, and uncanny f Udohla travelstocourtindisguise not tooverthrowtheSultan,butinanattempttofree his father, a captured rebelleader. He is too late, but once at court he encounters and promptly falls inlovewith the alleged Narissaaswell.The finaldenouement reveals her to be not the Sultan's sister, however, but the rebel's, Udohla's, sister, originallynamedEwana.Asan adolescent, Ewanawas convincedto playthe role ofNarissabyharemguardseagertoescapepunishment for failing to preventthe flight of the real Narissa from the harem with a lover.

Eventuallythe SultanallowsEwanato leavecourt with herbrother usingthe words "Lebtwohl,"the famouswords withwhich Goethe'sThoas released the siblings Iphigenie and Orest in a drama published sixteen years earlierwith very similarthemes. Like Iphigenie, Ewana begsfor this mild blessing as a token of forgivenessforher desiretoleave. CundercdethusexplicitlylinksUdohla to Iphigenie aufTauris (1779), an associationwhich clarifies the thrust of her work. Alreadyin Goethe'splay;WDanielWilsondiscoveredthe precursorsofanimperialideology inGreekbehavior. HavingcometoScythiawiththeignoblegoalofstealingaveneratedreligious statue, the GreekPylades employsclassic self-justifyingrationalizationsabout superiorGreekabilities to treat the iconappropriately. "Hierwird also ein Aspekt der Ideologie des Imperialismus wahrend einer seiner gro~ten Epochenangedeutet-eineIdeologie,dieinderKreuzzugsideologieihregeistige Wurzelhat."?Colonialpolicydemandsthe sacrificeofethicalbehaviortoefficient government,ademandwhichcanbejustifiedbytrumpeting themoralguidance of the colonizers or by emphasizing the moral deficiency of the colonized, and hencethelossofthe rightto betreated morally. Inherlater play; Cunderodetransforms the Iphigeniematerialinto a moreidentifiable politicalparablebyprojecting the captivesisterand rescuingbrotherinto acolonial settinginwhich neither the colonizers northe colonizedhaveaseparatespacetowhich to return. Inthisway; Cundercdeboth underscoresaproblematicjustificationforculturalsegregationin Goethe's play; and allowsa deeperexplorationofthe formation ofculturalidentity relevantwithin Europeaswellasinits dealings abroad.Byeliminatingthe easy identificationwithIphigenieasamediatingandidealizedversionofthe audience,Cundercde provides a much more disquieting viewing experience. By rendering

explicit the eroticism in the intense sibling relationship of the earlier play, Cunderode finally throws the audience back upon a contemplation of its own prejudices.

Ewanaemerges firstasthe strongestcandidatefortheaudience's sympathy; but alsobecomes the strongestvehicle forcritique. Asa culturalinterloperresiding againstherwillintheharemofaMuslimSultanwhowishesto marry her, Ewana follows alonglineageofheroineswhoappearedinthepopulareighteenth-century operasandoperettasaboutEuropeanwomen trappedinTurkish seraglios, which inturn influenced suchworksasLessing'sNathan der ~ise and Goethe'sIphigenie aufTauris .20 Like the typicalEuropean heroineoftheseworks,Ewanastruggles to maintainher religion, longsforthe relative freedom sheenjoyedinthesocietyin which she grew up, and refuses to marry the Sultan in spite of his status and wealth.Thissimilarityisnoteworthy becauseEwanaisnot European, butrather an IndianHindu.WhileaccountsofMuslimmistreatment ofwomen hadalong history in European literature,Cunderodewas writing at a moment in which the statusofHinduwomenwasthesubjectofa ragingdebatein Europe. Thepractice ofsati,inwhichHinduwidowswereexpectedor forced toburntodeathontheir husband'sfuneral pyres, wouldbeamongthefirst socialcustomstobe abolished by British governance of India as a colony-" Some Romantic authors such as Friedrich Schlegel, however, idealized thepracticeasemblematicofthewisdomof India, which recognized the true unifying nature of 10ve.22Karoline von Gunderode herself celebrated satiin a poem called "Diemalabarischen Witwen."23 In Udohla, however, Cundercde omits any reference tosati. Ewana'scomplaintsare entirelyaccessible to her audience.

Ewanafindsherselfinamore hopeless situationthan hercaptiveEuropean predecessors. Hersubjugationisnotonlypersonalbutalsopolitical,asEwanaherselfseemsto recognize. Sheusesadeftrhetorical movetointroducewomeninto the arenaofpolitical and social actorsbycounteringthe stultifyingeffectofacommon metaphorforboththe feminine andtheoriental. Whenthe Sultandescribes "DieFrauenIndiens" as"welke Blumen," Ewanacounters, "Sind IndiensFrauen welkeBlumenimmer/ SoIaf michweinenumihrtraurigLeos" (213).Ewana'sretort transformstheimageofwomenasnaturallyweak,melancholy;andpassiveto oneinwhichtheyareweakenedanddismayed byaparticularsituationinwhich they find themselves. Ewana suggests that women's disposition is the result of theirsocialandpoliticalposition,andthereforeopento change. Ewanahasinfact beenweepingoverherown fateinthe previous scene, inwhichshehasalsocomparedherselfto flowers. Mourningherlossof freedomasaresultof leavingher peripatetic father for a palace in which she is confined, Ewana sighs, "In diesen Mauerntrauern aIleBlumen" (213).24 If, astheSultan's moresweepingexpression suggests, women outsideaswellasinsidethe harem'swallswilt, then Ewana's questto leave the palace takeson a morepessimistic hue.This pessimism pointsto onemajor difference betweenthisdramaandtheoperasdescribed byWilson, or Goethe'sIphigenie aufTauris. Here, theexistenceofapoliticalaswellasapersonal dramahampersthe possibilityofahappyending. Whiletheheroinesofthe earlier workscouldreturn to Europe, Ewanawillnot escape Muslimruleevenifshesucceedsinleavingthe palace. Ewana'scaptivityisthereforerepresentativeofthestatus of a large population for which neither wholesale expulsion of the other nor flight is an option.

A briefturn to Goethe'sIphigenie aufTauris will clarify the significance of this distinction.Overthelast severaldecades, theunderstandingofIphigeniehas fortunately movedawayfromadulationofherastheperfecthealerorthebeautiful soul.25 Criticsstartingwith Wolfdietrich Raschhavechallenged thisiconoclastic receptionofthedrama'stitlecharacter, pointingout Iphigenie'swillingness todeceive the Scythiansand herstruggle foran understandingofdivinitywhichwould justifythebehaviorshebelieves tobemoral.26DanielWilsongoesonestepfurther, persuasivelyarguingthat Thoas,not Iphigenie,istherealsaviorinthedrama,ashe notonlyrescuesOrest,Pylades, andIphigeniefromexileandpunishment,butalso rescues himselfthrough an autonomous act ofwillfromthe barbarityofwhich he standsaccused.VWhilethesereadings tendtodiminishIphigenie'sroleasthecentralemblemofhumanismin the dramaand the sole characterworthyof inquiry; these interpretations strengthen her position in one respect. It is precisely Iphigenie'sinconstancywhich makeshersoeffective asthe idealized pointofidentificationfortheaudience. Iphigenievacillatesbetweentwo ideologies:ontheone hand the adherence to truth, dialogue, and trust in the generous rationality of Thoas,andon the otherhandloyaltyto herbrotherOrest,the Greeks, and theirbeliefin theirgod-given superiorityas justificationfordominance. Ascompatriotsof Iphigenie andasEuropeans inastrangeland,Orestand Pylades arealsoimplicitly sympathetictotheaudience, butlikeLessing'sTemplar, theirfamiliarity servesasa lure,exposing the prejudice ofthe audience andleadingto alessonintolerance. Theaudience isthus expected to begininthe positionofOrestand Pylades and progress through Iphigenie's ambivalence to arrive at her enlightened concluding stance. However, even at the play's conclusion Iphigenie's tolerance is a form of condescensiondependentonculturalsegregation. Inthe face oftheviolentanddeceptivebehavior of Orest and Pylades, and in spite of Thoas' s proven devotion both to her and to the humanism she espouses, Iphigenie nonetheless chooses Greece overScythia, OrestoverThoas,bloodoverethics. Whileshejustifiesthis choiceintermsofhercapacityto purifyherfamilythroughherreturn,itisclear that sheviewsherdepartureasthefulfillmentofalong-held desireratherthanasa sacrifice.

Thoas'shospitalitydoesnot createanobligationforIphigenie to marryhim, but heroutrageat hismarriage proposal raises seriousquestionsabouthermotivationsand desires. Byherown admission, Thoashasbehaved onlykindlyandhonorably towards her, yet her reaction to his wooing is described in terms of a near-physicalrevulsion. WhenArkasasks "WillstduseinWerbeneineDrohung nennen?" Iphigenie answers, "Es ist die schrecklichste von allen mir."28 Helga Geyer-Ryanhasarguedthat thedramapresentstheprototypicalformoftheintersectionofsexualdiscoursewith racistideology; andinfactowesitslongpopularity to the continued relevance of this dynamic: "First, the white woman is sexually threatenedbythebarbarianor savage; andsecond, thebarbariansarereallyyearningforallthat is Greek."29WhileI agreewith Geyer-Ryan'sbasicclaimthat the structural impossibility of a marriage between Iphigenie and Thoas dependson a proto-racistdynamic, sheunderestimates thewayinwhichtheplayitselfanalyzesthisverydynamic. Iphigenie'sfearthat Thoasplans'vomAIter/ Michinsein Bettemit Gewaltzu ziehen" (12) isshown to beawildexaggeration ofhisintention.Herwordsfindanechointhe false andunprovoked assumptionsof Pylades, who accuses the Scythians of purchasing her (32) andinsistson themoralunsuitabilityofScythiafortheholystatuewhichheandOrestintendto steal (27, 51). Pylades's justifications are so clearly self-serving rationalizations that even the similarly-minded Orestremarks wryly"MitseltnerKunstflichtstduderCotter Rat/ UnddeineWunscheklugin eins zusammen" (27,emphasisoriginal). The dramadoesnot justifythe prejudiceofitscharacters, Iphigenieincluded. Structurally, however, italsodoesnot movetowardsaculturalreconciliation moreintimate than Thoas's "Lebt wohl."Iphigenie explains herrefusal ofThoas'smarriage proposalwith the following words:"VondemfremdenManne/ Entfernetmich einSchauer; dochesreilst/ MeinInnerstesgewaltigmichzumBruder" (39). While thereisnoexplicitlyeroticaspecttoIphigenie'srelationshipwith Orest,herattachment to her brother is both passionate and exclusive of any exogamic tie.3o Iphigenieherselfconnectsher aversion toany"strange" mandirectlytoher ''violent"attachment toherbrother, affixingthetwo mentooppositeendsofacontinuum.Iphigenie'stoleranceofothernessgoesonlysofar; notonlydoesitbalkatintimacy, itrequires physicalseparation. Meanwhilethe "violent" pulltowardsher own blood,inafamilymarkedbyacurseofinternal violence, hastobeviewed with suspicion.

WhileGoetheleaves onlysubtlehints ofthe lingering culturalprejudice underlyingIphigenie'srejectionofThoas,Cunderode'sEwanaespouses anideologyof segregation whichcanbereadinto herrejection ofthe Sultan'ssuit.Like Iphigenie, Ewanastruggles againstthedemandforduplicitymadebythosearoundherwho believe theirown safetyisat stake. However, shehasherown motiveforcontinuing the charadewhich identifies her as Narissa, the Sultan's sister. It is only her identityashissisterwhichhaspostponedtheirmarriage. UnlikeThoas,theSultan makesnoofferofmarriagetotheobjectofhis desire; hemerelyexpresseshiswill. Heconsultshisadvisors, butnothisfuture bride. Deprivedofavoice, Ewanaclings toheridentityas NarissaastheonlybarriertotheSultan'smarriage plans.When bychancehe discovers herdisguise, Ewanarefuses hisrenewedadvances with a newexcusethathe accepts; sherevealsthatheisherfather's executioner.Ewana's fatherwas a rebel againstthe Sultan'sruleandwas in factexecuted on the Sultan's orders. Ewanahasonlyrecentlydiscoveredhisfate,however, andherhostilitytowardsthe prospectofmarryingtheSultanlongpredates thedenouement.Herinsistence to the Sultanthat "Des Vaters Blutbelastetdeine Seele" (229) is significantlyoverdetermined.TheSultanisthe killerofEwana'sfather, butalsothe(unwitting) abductor of his daughter, and the oppressor of his people. She is more honestwhen she declares "dennichbinvondirgetrennet/ Durch alles, wasdem Menschen heilig ist, / Durch meines Volkes Sitten und Gesetze" (230). This, Ewana'sonlytenuousappealto universals, immediatelyreversestheuniversalizingtendencyofthefirstlineintoastrongendorsementofparticularity. Ewanais horrifiedat thethought ofmarriagetotheSultanbecausehebelongs toadifferent culture.f

The perspective presentedbythedramaismorecomplex than Ewana's. The specific prejudices ofthe SultanandhisMuslimcourtiers, who positnaturallydeterminate racial categories, and repeatedly describe the Hindu characteras childlike, sensuous, lazy; and inconstant, are challenged by the Hindu rebellion led by Ewana's father, and even more forcefully by Ewana's own complex identity. By successfully "passing" as the Sultan's sister Narissa, Ewana undercuts claims to naturalracialdistinctions. Inaddition,this "passing"isnotsimplyasuperficialdisguise. Shevacillatesbetweenthe religionofheradoptedhomeandtheonesheremembersfromherchildhood. Inthewordsofacourtier, Ewanais"eingeraubtes Madchen[das] ergezwungen/ UnduberredethabezudemSchritt,/Alsunsers SultanSchwesterzuerscheinen" (224).Theastonishinguseofboth"gezwungen" and "uberredet" corresponds to Ewana'sown memoryoftheincident,andcanbe readas a culturalaccommodationwhich is simultaneouslyinternal and external. Ewana'sidentity lies neitherwhollyinhercontrolnorwhollyoutsideit.Whileher roomto maneuverisconstrained, shestillpossesses somepowerto makeherown decisions throughout the play; and particularly at its conclusion.

Udoh/a suffers from the underdevelopment of characters other than Ewana, butitdoesgrapplewith amuchmorenuancedviewofidentitythan Iphigenie auf Tauris.Ifitscharactersremainmoreopenlycommittedto theparticularityoftheir owncultures,theconstructionofthat particularitythroughrhetoricandmisunderstanding is also more explicitly articulated. The cultures themselves show a flexibility and adaptabilityto eachotherwhich isperceived asthreateningbyboth sides.Whilethedramaconcludeswith aseparation,theseparationremainsnecessarilyincomplete, sincebothculturessharethesame space. Withnomediating perspective, thetwo "barbarian"groupsarelefttonegotiatetheiridentityin relation to eachother.Fearofcontaminationisexpressed equallyinthisplaythrough over-familiaritybetweengroupsand illicit marriagewithin the family.32 Thereis no saferetreat.

Susanne Zantop has isolated a short time span from the 1770s to the early nineteenth century in which the colonial romance as a genre flourished in Germany; asitdidindeedacrossEurope.PInthese stories, thesuccessfulrelationship between a European man and an admiring, sexually inviting, and loyal native woman enactsafantasyofproductive colonization. Suchfantasies overwrotethe actualrapeswhichtypifiedEuropeancolonization, andsimultaneouslynullified the threat of the supposed sexualvoracityof the primitive woman, while providingamodelwhichlegitimated permanentEuropeandominance. Duringthe periodbeforeandafterthiseraofthefantasyromance, sexualcontactbetweencolonizerandcolonizedinliteratureregularlyendedintragedyor horror. Againstthis background, Karoline von Cunderode'sdrama Udohla stands out as a fascinating departurewhich rejects theromancebetweencolonizerand colonized, but ends with anambiguitywhich exposes theaudience's ownvoyeuristic tendencies. As Udohla closeswith the releaseoftheHindu siblings,Ewanaand Udohla, theobserverislefttitillated,curious, andunsatisfied. Inamovewhich forcesontotheaudienceanawarenessofitsownvoyeuristic desires,theplayendswith nohintof whether the incest,whose ethical, religious, cultural, and political acceptability hasoccupiedmostofthe dialogue, willactuallybecommitted,andnoposition from which it would be appropriate to condemn it.

Ido not mean to suggest by this analysis that Cunderodeanachronistically rejectscharacterizationsofHinducultureasemotional, sensuous, andspiritual. She does,however, reversethevalenceofthesetraitsandsheimpliesthat theyareconsistentwith politicalsubjecthood, thusdenyingtheirapplicabilityasajustificationforplunderingandsubjugation. Inspiteofthispoliticalcommitment,shecan beseenasa participantinan orientalizingvalorization ofIndiawhichwould become more pronounced over the course of the early nineteenth century. While EdwardSaid, who ushered in a theoretical movementwith the publication ofOrientalisml 34 remained himself uninterested in nineteenth-century German attitudes towards the orient because Germany did not have any colonial holdings untillateinthecentury; anumberofscholarshavebegunto exploreGermanorientalism,aswellasits pre-colonial, colonial, andpost-colonialattitudes.Alongheld belief in the neutrality or even benevolence of German orientalismhas recently beenchallenged byscholars suchas Kamakshi MurtiandSusanneZantop,who pointoutthat theknowledgegatheredbyGermanIndologywas indeedusedto furtherthecolonizingeffortsofotherEuropean nations,aswellasto encourage the eventual entry of Germans into the colonizing business.P Nonetheless, the crucialaspecthereistheinternal significanceofGermanorientalism, andtheimagesofsiblingincestwith whichitwassooftenconnected, intheformationofa German cultural identity.

Sheldon Pollockhasexpressedtheeventualoutcomeofthevalorizationofan imagined formofIndiancultureinnineteenth-centuryGermanyasthe "convictionthat theoriginofEuropeancivilizationwastobefoundinIndia(oratleast that Indiaconstitutedageneticallyrelatedsibling)."36 Inthe absenceofactualGermancolonies, Pollackpointsout,theGerman"othering'andorientalizationwere played out at home" (77). Inthemappingoffamilyrelationsonto global positions, thesiblingsIndia/Germanywereconstructedinoppositiontothe Semitic peoples."Thefearofincest,andthefearof "goingnative" bycommittingit,which Cunderodehadcritiquedfromapositionopposed to racial determinism, wassuddenlyattackedfromtheracialist perspectiveitself. AsIndiawassubsumedunder thecategory'Aryan" inwhichthe Germansrepresented themselves asthe standard,the "geneticallyrelatedsibling" Indiaceased to representthe ultimateother, and intimations of sibling incestsimultaneouslyshiftedaway from Indology:

In the new Aryan/Semiticor German/Jewishdualismthus created, the fearof inter-racialcontaminationofthe blood-linewouldseemtohavesuperceded that ofin-breeding, aprocessdistilled into the shiftingmeaningofthe wordBlutschande asnotedbyChristinavonBraun.Infact,however, thespecterofincesthadnotdisappeared. Followingtheoldpattern,thechargeof siblingincestcametobelevied againstthenewmost-radical "other,"theJews. SanderGilmanhasdocumented the roleofincestasacommonplace in nineteenth-centuryanti-Semitism, which vacillated between condemnation of the clannish isolationism of Jews and condemnationofintermarriage. '~tisemitism in the latenineteenth century sawthe Jewsasanessentially'ill'peopleandlabeledtheoriginsofthat illnessasincest/inbreeding, 'consciousness of kind."'38 The dynamic documented by Gtinderode in whichincestisprojectedonto theother,andyet becomesdangerouslyseductive,is now redeployed on a new field, allowing the double-edged threat of incest to emerge anew.

This new application of the incest constellation can be traced in Thomas Mann's Walsungenblut, abitinganddisturbingresponse to RichardWagner'sDie Walkiire. Afterdecadesofneglect, thisnovellahasexperiencedintenseanalysisover the last fifteenyears, particularly focused on its attitude towards its assimilated Jewishprotagonists. Wagner'srelentlessly Germanic depictionof siblingincestin Die Walkiire wouldseemaspureas possibleanimageofincestasa defensive position against contamination by the other. However, it still admits of reversal in Mann's story;wheretheincestoftheTeutonicprototypesofthechosenGermanic raceissatirizedasareflection ofthe barbaric behaviorwhichlurksunderthe surface amongtheseemingly civilizedJewishchosenpeople: aversionof"goingprimitive."Inhisassaulton Wagnerandhismyth of racialorigin, Manndoesnot hesitate toattacktheJewsaswell.Whilethe novella succeedsasastingingmockeryof Wagner, it nonethelessreintroduces a reified and static notion of race. Predictably; the incest in the novella heightens the distinctiveness of racial markers. It is no accident that the "Merkzeichen" (325) and "physiognomischen Eigenttimlichkeiten" (324) of the JewishAarenhold's 'Art" become most noticeable in the moments before andafterthe incestuousact. Significantly; thiseventwhichestablishes the reflective identity of the Jewishwith the Wagnerian twins accentuates racerather than eliding it.

In a work primarilyabout mirroring, straightforwardimitation gives way to multiplyingreflectionsandrepetitions. Evenmoreexplicitlythanin Udohla, the attractionofincestasspectacleishighlighted. Here,thereisnodoubtthattheincesthastaken place, onceintheoperaandoncebetweenthecharacters. Inthefirst instance,the incestispresentedon stageina performance ofWagner'sDie Walkiire, leavingonlytheconsummationitselftotheimagination. Inthe secondinstance, the Aarenhold twins, who were among the audience, act out the missing moments in private. Siegmund and Sieglinde Aarenhold, Mann's Jewish twins, are quite self-consciously imitating Siegmund and Sieglinde of the Wagner opera. However, thedescriptions ofthe scene at theoperaandoftheincestitselfcomplicatethis simple unidirectional modelofimitation.The narrativementionof"das verhafste, respektlose und gotterwahlte Geschlecht, aus welchem ein ZwillingspaarseineNot undseinLeid zusofreierWonnevereint...,"39wasintendedto produce, soManninhis 1921 essay"Zurjudischen Frage," "Verwirrung: desLesers namlich, dernichtmehr weifs,vonwelchemGeschlechtdieRede ist."4oTheclear implicationis that the behavior, status, and racial consciousness of the seemingly originalWagnerianpaircaninfactbeequatedwith that ofthe secondpair; i.e.,the GermanicWalsungsarethemselvesalreadyamirrorimageofthe[ews." The Aarenhold twins' willingimitationoftheopera'splotistherefore acopyofa copy. Mann has exposed Wagner caught in precisely the double-bind Cunderode ex

plores. Inhisattempt tocreateamythicallyoriginalandpureTeutonic race, Wagner has in fact reproduced the object he scorned.

Thelayers ofrepetitionandreflection builtinto the actofincestarefurtheremphasized in the description ofthe eventitself. The sexual actisno radical departure forthe twins, but rathera reprisal ofthe fondling inwhich they engaged before visitingthe opera. The statusoftheiramorousexchange asrepetitionisemphasized bytheexactduplicationnotonlyofactionbutof language. Beforetheopera:

Sie kufste ihn auf seine geschlossenen Augen; er kufste sie auf den Hals, zur Seite des Edelsteins, Sie kulsten einander die Hande, Mit einer sulsen Sinnlichkeit liebte jedes das andere urn seiner verwohnten und kostlichen Gepflegtheit und seines guten Duftes willen. (314)

And after:

Sie kufste ihn auf seine geschlossenen Augen; er kufkte sie auf den Hals unter den Spitzen des Mieders. Sie kulsten einander die Hande. Mit einer sulsen Sinnlichkeit liebte jedes das andere urn seiner verwohnten und kostlichen Gepflegtheit und seines guten Duftes willen. (325)

Theincestuous encounters multiply.Itisnocoincidencethat both scenesunfold in front of a mirror. DieWalkilre is the twins' favorite opera, which they viewrepeatedly.Thefrequent intimacybetween them isalsoalreadyaformulaic script. There is no room here for the identification of an originary moment. If the mythic origins of the race of the Walsungs is the subject of Wagner's operatic celebration, then the foundational moment within the myth is here unmasked as both sordid and unoriginal.

The mimesis ofassimilation represented bythe familyisequallycomplicated. The time-consuming strivingforimpeccability which consumesSiegmund does not makehim blendin,but ratherstandout. "Undesgalt.Eslagdaran.Mochten dieblonden BurgerdesLandes unbekummertinZugstiefelettenund Klappkragen gehen. Ergerade, er rnufste unangreifbar und ohne Tadel an seinemAu~eren sein vom Kopf biszu Fu~en ... n (311). Butforwhomdoestheeffortinfactmatter?Not for the other students of the art history course whose insufficient bathing con

vinces Siegmund to stop attending classes, and not for the other audience members at the opera whom Siegmund and Sieglinde studiously avoid. The only observers of the Aarenhold twins are themselves and each other; and from this quarter both twins do indeed undergo frequent examinations from head to foot. It is significant that Sieglinde kisses her brother's closed eyes in the caressing scenes. Both episodes represent a culmination of Siegmund's self-examinations in the mirror which immediately precede them. Sieglinde is the incarnation of Siegmund's reflection. Closing his eyes, he exchanges his visual likeness for the tactile assurancesofhis twin. He accomplishes withher what Narcissuscan onlylong for. Even Siegmund's stuttered words of seduction and their justification rest on the essentialunityofthepairasmirrorimages, "Mesist... wie mitmir...'"(324).The incest is hence transformed into a kind of masturbation, a refusal of intercourse with an "other."

The voyeuristic tendencies which Cunderode exposed in her audience have thus been incorporated into the specular structure of Mann's novella. Because they are doubled in each other, Siegmund and Sieglinde can combine narcissistic self-absorption with exhibitionism and voyeuristic pleasures. Although fraternal and of different sexes, the twins resemble each other in build and coloring. They have been compared in their ostentation to the facing pair of peacocks on Sieglinde's dress.f But the peacock is not merely a symbol of preening and finery. According to Ovid, Hera set the hundred eyes of her watchman Argus in the peacock's tail feathers after Argus was slain by Hermes. The birds are thus simultaneously creatures of display and observers of it. The image of a richly arrayed viewersurfaces repeatedlyin thenovella.EvenSiegmund's andSieglinde'slifeconsistsof"reichbehangenenTagemitleerenAugen" (312).Thestructureof thestory colludes in this intense emphasis on ocularity. Although no first person voice interruptstherelentlesslydetachedthirdpersonnarrator, Siegmund'sappearanceisdescribed by the narrator while he stands in front of a mirror, or in front of his sister. Similarly; Sieglinde, his "Ebenbild" (311) is revealed to the reader as she stands before her brother. We see them only insofar as they are observers.

The original association of sibling incest with the orient is also preserved in Mann's story; which combines a wide variety of exotic accessories and mannerisms. Herr Aarenhold is said to have been born "im Osten" (305). While the likely referent would be Eastern Europe, this proximate East is conflated with some amalgamof SouthAsiaand theNearEast, theimpliedoriginal homelandof theancestors of the Jewish Aarenholds. Mrs. Aarenhold's speech patterns suggest the Yiddish of Eastern Europe, but her skin is described as "wie unter einer fremden, heifseren Sonne verdorrt" (301).The Semitic markers of the family include the facial feature most commonly ascribed to Jews, the "Hakennase" (302)of the twins' sisterMarit. Meanwhile, Sieglinde's shoulders are "ein wenig zu hoch und waagerecht, wie man es an agyptischen Statuen sieht" (320).The mention of Egypt emphasizes the purely racial implication of these Semitic characteristics. The often-noted contradictions in the description of Siegmund point in the direction of

two "easts" simultaneously His profuse hair growth connects him to his Near Eastern heritage; his slight build, described as "ephebenhaft" (302) and hands whichhave"keinemannlichereForm"(302) than hissister'stiehimsymbolically tothealreadycenturies-oldimageoftheeffeminatemalebuildofthe Indiancontinent. Itispreciselythisoverdetermined"East"whichushersthereaderintothe story as it ushers the family to lunch:

Da es sieben Minuten vor zwolf war, kam Wendelin in den Vorsaal des ersten Stoekes und ruhrte das Tamtam. Breitbeinig, in seinen veilehenfarbenen Kniehosen, stand er auf einem altersblassen Gebetsteppieh und bearbeitete das Metall mit dem Kloppel. Der erzene Larrn, wild, kannibaliseh, und ubertrieben fur seinen Zweek, drang uberall hin. (301)

The dinner bell is a tam-tam, a gong whose name derives from Hindi; it rests onaprayerrug,presumablyIslamic.fThe mealtowhichwearecalledisanovella which reveals, not only thematically but also in its own prejudices, the threat of hostility concomitant with the attempt of two cultural groups which coexist in a single space to arrive at a reciprocal self-understanding.

We are presented in this story with both candidates for the definition of Blutschande, bothincestandintermarriage. Like the sexualencounterbetweenthe Aarenholdsiblings, theintermarriagebetween SieglindeAarenholdandthewellbornGermanBeckerathisalsorepresentativeofa failure. Iftheincest servesasa signofthetwins' inabilitytointeractwiththeculturearoundthem,intermarriage alsofails to functionasaculturalbridgeforMann. Sieglinderemainsindifferentor even hostile to her fiance. Moreover, the incest between Siegmundand Sieglinde Aarenhold,whichmayrepresentafirstratherthan a singleencounter,introduces an indeterminacy in the paternity of any future childrenof Sieglinde's."The notionofa rigid racialdivide isreinforced byemotionaldistanceand biological uncertainty

In Cunderode'sUdohla, a sistermigratesfromone cultural positionto another, but in Wdlsungenblut thereisnomovement,onlystaticreflection. Siblingpairsface eachotheroveradeep racialgulf:Aarenholdsonone side, mythicalWalsungson theother.Inspiteofthe positedstructuralsimilaritybetweenthe pairswhichmotivatesthe novella, thereisnohint ofapproachor exchange. Beckerath, the representativeofcurrentGermannessinthe story;whom Siegmundsignificantlycallsa "Cermanen"(313), fails toserveasamediatorinthisstrictdualism,insteadhighlighting the insularity of the Aarenholds. The duplication which renders each brother-sisterpairinternallyidenticalintensifies thenotion ofastark racialidentity and of an unbridgeable gap between races.

Acentury beforeMann wrote Wdlsungenblut, siblingincestcouldalreadybelocatedwithin thesamenexusasthenewly-formeddiscoursesofraceandorientalism.Several disturbingtrends becomeevidentin a juxtapositionof this laterwork with Cunderode's Udohla, however. Writingat thebeginningofthe nineteenth century;asthemodernracialistdiscoursefirstdeveloped, Cunderodeinterrogates

the reality of race and probes the threat of racial labeling. Even more radically;she allows sibling incest to pass as a cultural norm without explicit censure. Udohla forces the audience to come to terms with its own insistence on the taboo, and thus question the justification for the universality of even the most strongly felt customs. In Mann's novella, however, the concept of race has ossified, cultural accommodation has been replaced by failed assimilation, and the accusation of sibling incest is levied in an uncritical bid to arouse disgust in the readers. Although the dynamic of sibling incest as a marker of identity in opposition to otherness remained constant, it is significant that the face of the cultural other moved closer to home and hardened over the course of the nineteenth century. The shifting associations of sibling incest thus reveal themselves as symptoms of increasing anxiety and paranoia over the internal purity of German national identity.


1 Christina von Braun, "Blutschande: From the Incest Taboo to the Nuremberg Racial Laws," EncounteringtheOtherts):StudiesinLiterature; History; andCulture, ed. Gisela Brinker-Gabler (Albany: SUNY P, 1995) 127-48.

2 It is hardly coincidental that theories of race were developing at precisely this time, in the late eighteenth century. Kant's 1785 "Bestimmung des Begriffs einer Menschenrasse" introduced the term "race," which had already been used in English, to the Germandebateabout"Cattungen" and"Geschlechter"amonghumans. Kant insisted that only inherited rather than learned characteristics could be used to classify races. The early German debate about races was joined by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Samuel Thomas von Sommerring, Christoph Meiners, and Christian Ernst Wunsch among others, who used criteria such as skin color, body structure, and skull size to classify humans. For a good overview, see Susanne Zantop, "The Beautiful, the Ugly, and the German: Race, Gender and Nationality in Eighteenth-Century Anthropological Discourse," Gender and Germanness: Cultural Productions ofNation, eds. Patricia Herminghouse and Magda Mueller (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1997) 31-35.

3 Two examples of intergenerational incest can be found in Kleist: "Die Marquise von 0 ..." (1808) includes a disturbingly sexual scene between a father and daughter, while "Der Findling" (1811) depicts an attempted, and possibly completed, rape by a young man of his foster-mother. In addition, Klingsohr's fairy tale in Novalis's Heinrich von Ofterdingen(1799-1801) portrays Eros as the lover of his wet-nurse, who has takenontheappearanceofhismother. Nonetheless,thisformofincestisencountered much less frequently than sibling incest in this period.

4 W. Daniel Wilson, "Science, Natural Law, and Unwitting Sibling Incest in Eighteenth-Century Literature," Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 13 (1984): 249-70.

5 While the theme of sibling incest has attracted some attention in criticism of British literature, very little has been published on the still greater prevalence of sibling incest in German literature. The most compendious study of incest in literature remains Otto Rank's Das Inzest-Motiv in Dichtung und Sage (Leipzig and Vienna: Franz Deuticke, 1926), which addresses a variety of forms of incest in European literature. In the same psychoanalytic vein, see Luciano Santiago, The Children ofOedipus: Brother-Sister Incest inPsvchiatrv, Literature, History, andMythology (Roslyn Heights, NY: Libra Publishers, 1973). Peter Thorslev, Jr. finally moved the debate away from biographical analysis of the author in his discussion of German and British narratives of incest, both inter-and intragenerational: "Incest as a Romantic Symbol," Comparative Literature Studies 2.1 (1965): 41-58. For an analysis of several German examples in the long nineteenth century, see Gail Finney, "Self-Reflexive Siblings: Incest as Narcissism in Tieck, Wagner, and Thomas Mann," The German Quarterly 56.2 (1983): 243-56.

6 Alan Richardson, "The Dangers of Sympathy: Sibling Incest in English Romantic Poetry," Studies inEnglish Literature 25.4(1985): 737-54.While Richardson provides a persuasive case for the link between sibling incest and the emphasis on childhood experience in the Romantic period, his argument necessarily rests on separating pre-Romantic from Romantic works on sibling incest. Since the popularity of the theme predates the Romantic period, I am interested in what might connect the theme over time rather than what distinguishes one era from another.

7 In spite of differences between the ways in which incest is approached in German and British literature of the late eighteenth century and beyond, British depictions of sibling incest follow this trend as faithfully as German ones. From Southey's Thalaba the Destroyer (1801) to Byron's Manfred (1817) to Percy Shelley's Revolt ofIslam (1817), the great majority of works which indulge in fantasies of sibling incest take place in an exotic oriental setting or import crucial references to the orient.

S The Notebooks ofSamuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Kathleen Coburn, vol. 1 (New York: Bollingen Foundation, 1957) 1637. Misperceptions about whether these cultures actually do sanction sibling incest is repeated in the critical work on the literature. A. Leslie Willson, for example, was under the false impression that Hinduism does indeed allow siblings to marry.SeeAMythical Image: The Ideal ofIndia in German Romanticism (Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 1964) 189. Alan Richardson meanwhile carefully refrains from commenting on reality: "marriage between siblings is (at least according to Montesquieu) acceptable 'selonl'ancien usage des Cuebres." "Astarte: Byron's Manfred and Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes," Keats-Shelley journal 40 (1991): 21.

9 Nike Wagner, Wagner Theater (Frankfurt/Main: Insel, 1998) 93.

10 Very briefly, theoretical stands on sibling incest include primarily Freud's psychoanalytic, Edward Westermarck's sociobiological, and Claude Levi-Strauss's anthropological approaches. Sigmund Freud saw sibling incest as a case of substitution which sets the less strictly forbidden sister in the place of the mother, against whom the incest taboo is strongest. Sigmund Freud, Totem und Tabu, Gesammelte Werke, ed. Anna Freud, vol. 9 (London: Imago, 1940). Westermarck took the absence of sexual desire between family members raised together as his point of departure and theorized that this aversion to incest was hard-wired as advantageous to the survival of a species. Edward Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage (New York: Allerton, 1922). Levi-Strauss stressed the importance of the exogamous exchange of women to the formation of social bonds necessary for the survival of tribes. Claude Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship (Boston: Beacon P, 1969). While Westermarck thought that the aversion to incest existed in animals as well as humans, both Freud and Levi-Strauss set the incest taboo at the origin of civilization.

11 This constellation can be traced in a variety of other texts. Think for example of the oriental attributes of Mignon, the product of sibling incest in Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, and of the intersection of cultural and racial issues with the family romance in Lessing's NathanderWeise. In Schiller's DieBraut von Messina, Don Manuel chooses an Indian wedding gown for his bride, who unbeknownst to him is his sister: "Denn nach dem Bazar sollt ihr mich anjetzt / Begleiten, wo die Mohren zum Verkauf / Ausstellen, wasdasMorgenlanderzeugt/ An edelmStoff undfeinemKunstgebild.... / Dann zum Gewande wahlt das Kunstgewebe / Des Indiers, hellglanzend wie der Schnee." Friedrich Schiller,DieBraut von Messina, Sdmtliche Werke, ed. Gerhard Fricke and Herbert G. Copfert, vol. 2 (Munich: Carl Hauser, 1960) 849.

12 Karoline von Cunderode, Sdmtliche Werke undAusgevaahlte Studien vol. 1,ed. Walter Morgenthaler (Basel: Stroernfeld/Roter Stern, 1990) 208. 13 Thomas R. Metcalf, Ideologies ofthe Raj,The NewCambridge History ofIndia III.4 (Berkeley: U of California P, 1994) 17.

14 For a fuller investigation of sexual relations as a metaphor for colonialization, see Susanne Zantop, Colonial Fantasies: Conquest! Family! and Nation in Precolonial Germany/1770-1870 (Durham: Duke UP, 1997) and "Domesticating the Other: European Colonial Fantasies 1770-1830," Encountering theOtherts): Studies inLiterature! History! and Culture,ed. Gisela Brinker-Gabler (Albany: SUNY P, 1995) 269-83.

15 Burton Stein, A History ofIndia, Oxford: Blackwell, 1998. 16Alexander Dow, The History ofHindostan vol. 1(New Delhi: Today &Tomorrow's Printers & Publishers, 1973) xxvi.

17EdwardSaidhasindicated preciselythisstepto bemissingfromJosephConrad's critique of imperialism in Heart ofDarkness: "But Marlow and Kurtz are also creatures of their time and cannot take the next step, which would be to recognize that what they saw, disablingly and disparagingly, as a non-European 'darkness' was in fact a non-European world resisting imperialism so as one day to regain sovereignty and independence, and not, as Conrad reductively says, to reestablish the darkness." Edward Said, Culture & Imperialism (London: Chatto & Windus: 1993) 33-34. Cunderode implies precisely such a resistance to imperialism among the Hindus. Of course, there was a vast difference between European depictions of Africa and those of India which enabled Cunderode to take this step.

18 Sara Suleri first brought attention to this trope within orientalism, thereby providing an avenue for literary and cultural analysis which has been productive for the past decade. Sara Suleri, The Rhetoric ofEnglish India (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992). See particularly pages 15-23.

19W. Daniel Wilson, Humanitdt und Kreuzzugsideologie um 1780 (New York: Peter Lan& 1984) 99-100. 20Foran in-depthexplorationof the relationshipof theseworks seeW. DanielWilson, Humanitdt und Kreuzzugsideologie um 1780.

21Sati was officially abolished by governor-general Lord William Cavendish Bentinck in 1829 as part of a series of measures to end "cruel rites" after a long debate between those who found the custom barbaric and those who favored as little intervention as possible in cultural norms (Metcalf 92-93).

22Schlegel's narrator in Lucinde condemns the coerced burning of widows, but nonetheless praises their willing self-destruction. Hardly surprisingly, when the narrator later imagines Lucinde dying, self-destruction is not considered the best option for the grieving widower. Friedrich Schlegel, Lucinde, Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe, ed. Ernst Behler (Munich: Ferdinand Schoningh, 1962) 11. For an interesting discussion of satiin European literature and in colonial debates see Binita Mehta, Widows; Pariahs; and Bayaderes. India as Spectacle (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2002).

23 "Zum Flammentode gehn an Indusstranden

Mit dem Gemahl, in Jugendherrlichkeit,

Die Frauen, ohne Zagen, ohne Leid,

geschmucket festlich, wie in Brautgewanden.

Die Sitte hat der Liebe Sinn verstanden ... " Karoline von Cunderode, "Die malabarischen Witwen," Samtliche Werke und ausgewdhlte Studien vol. 1, ed. Walter Morgenthaler (Basel: Stroemfeld/Roter Stern, 1990) 325.Antoine-Marin Lemierre wrote a play called La Veuve Malabarin 1970. A British adaptation by Mariana Starke entitled The Widow ofMalabarwas performed in 1791. Interestingly, the single widow of each of these plays becomes the general self-immolating "Witwen" in Cunderode's poem (Mehrta 72).

24 The explicit comparison of Ewana, here still identified as Narissa, to a flower, calls to mind Narcissus and, by extension, narcissism. Gail Finney and Alan Richardson, among others, have pointed out the connection between narcissism and sibling incest in literature, in which the similarities in looks, experiences, and bloodline are frequently cited by the characters themselves as the root of the incestuous attraction. Here the narcissistic interaction is more complex. The sultan's passion survives the revelation that Ewana is not his sister, while Udohla's passion predates the knowledge that she is his sister. Neither man uses tropes of similarity to explain the attraction. As we will see, however, the bond which mutually ties Udohla and Ewana and which trumps the other ties in the play comes from a shared familial and cultural heritage, and represents a kind of cultural narcissism.

25 Oskar Seidlin for example calls her "not a man's sister, but the sisterof man," associatingthisrole withaselflessdevotionfreeofdesire,and simultaneouslyclaiming that the sister represents the ethical aspect of "man." Oskar Seidlin, "Goethe's Iphigenia and the Humane Ideal," Goethe: A Collection ofCritical Essays, ed. Victor Lange (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1968) 54.Iphigenie is, however, neither selfless nor free of desire, and is therefore a far more interesting character.

26Wolfdietrich Rasch, Goethes "Irhigenie auf Tauris" als Drama derAutonomie (Munich: Beck, 1979).

27 Wilson, Humanitdt undKreuzzugsideologie 87-112.

28 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris, Goethes Werke in 14Bdnden, vol. 5 (Hamburg: Christian Wegner, 1962) 12. 29 Helga Geyer-Ryan, "Prefigurative Racism in Goethe's Iphigenie aufTauris," Europe and its Others vol. 2 (Colchester: University of Essex, 1985) 115.

30 Otto Rank and Luciano Santiago each dedicate an entire chapter in their works on incest to Goethe's Geschwisterkomplex, citing Iphigenie as one of several narratives with exceptionally strong or even explicitly erotic sibling relationships.

31 The audience might not require grounds for this refusal beyond Ewana's desire for freedom from the Harem or her lack of love for the Sultan, but it is noteworthy that these are not the grounds she gives.

32 The marriage of the actual sister Narissa fits into this context as well. Her servant describes the secret: "Daf [des Sultans] Schwester schimpflich sey entflohn / Mit einem Sklaven,daf sie so verrathen/ Und so geschandet habe ihr Geschlecht / Und ihre Abkunft" (211). The crime of the Sultan's sister, with its echoes of the word Blut

schande, constitutes betrayal of Geschlecht and Abkunfi;of her origin and of her "kind," which could be read here as race, as family, or as gender. 33 Susanne Zantop, "Domesticating the Other: European Colonial Fantasies 17701830."

34 Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979). Responding to criticism provoked by Orientalism, Said remarked "Other [criticisms] -like my exclusion of German Orientalism, which no one has given any reason for me to have included have frankly struck me as superficial or trivial, and there seems no point in even responding to them" (14). Leaving aside the strong German component of oriental studies across Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which others have addressed, in this article I argue for the internal significance of orientalism in Germany. Edward Said, "Orientalism Reconsidered," Europe and its Others vol. 1, ed. Francis Barker, Peter Hulme, Margaret Iversen, and Diana Loxley (Colchester: U of Essex P, 1985) 14-27.

35 Kamakshi Murti, India: the Seductive and Seduced "Other" of German Orientalism (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood P, 2001); Zantop, Colonial Fantasies.

36 Sheldon Pollock, "Deep Orientalism? Notes on Sanskrit and Power Beyond the Raj," Orientalism and The Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives onSouth Asia, ed. CarolA. Breckenridge and Peter von der Veer (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1993) 77.

37 For an account of the origins of the concept of a "Semitic" people and its opposition to "Indo-Europeans," see Jonathan Hess, "Johann David Michaelis and the Colonial Imaginary: Orientalism and the Emergence of Racial Antisemitism in EighteenthCentury Germany," Jewish Social Studies 6:2 (2000): 56-101.

38 Sander Gilman, "Sibling Incest, Madness, and the '[ews," Jewish Social Studies 4.2 (1998): 159. 39Thomas Mann, Walsungenblut. Sdmtliche Erzdhlungen (Frankfurt/Main: S. Fischer, 1963) 321.

40Thomas Mann, "Zur judischen Frage," Gesammelte Werke in dreizehn Bdnden, vol. 13 (Frankfurt: S.Fischer, 1974) 473. Mann wrote this essay in 1921 for Derneue Merkur but decided not to publish it.

41For a forceful reading of the story's vituperative attitude toward both targets, see PaulLevesque,"The Double-EdgedSword: Anti-Semitismand Anti-Wagnerianismin Thomas Mann'sWalsungenblut," German Studies Review 20.1 (1997): 9-21.

42 See for example Gail Finney 252.

43The alternation between the barbaric and the refined in Mann's story has been noted by critics, particularly G.R. Kluge, "Walsungenblut oder Halbblut? Zur Kontroverse urn die Schlulssatze von Thomas Manns Novelle," Neophilologus 76 (1992): 237-55. Christine Oertel Sjogren also has connected the exotic tra ppings of the story to an ancient realm of myth, but oddly chooses Greek myth as the intended association. Reading the trickster god Hermes as the key to the original Yiddish ending, "beganeft haben wir ihn -den Goy!" is certainly original, but hardly persuasive. The traditional anti-Semitic association of the Jew with chicanery in financial dealings hits much closer to home. See Christine Oertel Sjogren, "The Variant Ending as a Clue to the Interpretation of Thomas Mann's Walsungenblut," Seminar 14.2 (1978): 97-104.

44As with Narissa/Ewana, the question of passing is here tied not only to the political exigencies of adapting to a dominant culture, but also to the question of sexual relationsand theconsequentimpacton thebloodline."Passing,"as JudithButlerargued,is an issue which exists at the intersection of race and gender, for it threatens not only the ability to classify according to racial identity, but also the genetic transmission on which claims to racial purity rest. Judith Butler, Bodies thatMatter (New York: Routledge, 1993) 167-86. In this context, it is interesting to note John Whiton's reading of Mann's revised ending as a signal that Sieglinde has become pregnant. John Whiton, "Thomas Mann's Walsungenblut: Implications of the Revised Ending," Seminar 2.1 (1989): 37-48.

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