In her essay “The Problem of Pastiche: Patrick Süskind's Das Parfum”, Judith Ryan speaks of postmodernism as 10 pdf>. Editorial Reviews. Language Notes. Text: German download Das Parfum (German Edition): Read 17 site Store Reviews by Patrick Süskind (Author). When critics and readers caught scent of Patrick Suskind's "Perfume", it became an WITH HIS VERY FIRST NOVEL, PATRICK SUSKIND HAS ASSURED.

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Request PDF on ResearchGate | Serial Killers, Literary Critics, and Süskind's Das Parfum | The The Problem of Pastiche: Patrick Suskind's Das Parfum. Article. the novels Das Parfum () by Patrick Süskind and Oceano mare () by Das Parfum and Oceano mare offer two different relativist metaphors of being. Get this from a library! Patrick Süskind, Das Parfum: Interpretation. [Werner Frizen; Marilies Spancken].

I remember the bitter, smoky smell of the pits so environmentally destructive, but whatever that my neighbors dug in which they burned wood slowly for months to make a small supply of coal.

Not all the smells were pleasant, of course, because hello, I did grow up on a farm, but my memories are built upon scent. My love of perfume grew when I was a teen. I learned about perfumes, and how they were made. I learned about how flowers were distilled for their scents, an enormous quantity of raw ingredients required for a few precious drops of essential oils.

I learned about making aromatic compounds in an organic chemistry lab, and that my beloved scent of jasmine and tuberose smelled as beautifully seductive and sexual as it did because it contained a compound called indoles, which smells like poop. Who knew! I learned that each perfume as a top note, which quickly dissipates, the middle notes, which remains, the base notes, which lingers onto your skin like the touch of a long-gone lover.

I learned that musk can smell rank, like sweaty, animalistic sex on top of a slice of Muenster cheese, or it can smell like the warmth of a mother's embrace. There are certain scents I will never be able to wear again, because one I wore for months, while longing after a guy I thought I could never have.

Another I can't smell without wincing, because it reminds me of heartbreak and tears, despite the fact that it came in a rose-colored bottle and smelled like green tea and lemons. This book is a perfume lover's dream come true. The entire book could have had no mystery at all, and I would still read it and revel in the descriptions alone. The Summary: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was a bastard, born in to a syphilitic, consumptive woman working in a stinking fish stall as a gutter.

After delivering the unfortunate child, she was promptly arrested for abandoning said child, and hanged. A most auspicious beginning. Even in the beginning, his wet nursepaid for by the statenoticed that something was wrong with Grenouille. Grenouille has no scent. People notice. His fellow children notice.

They could not stand the nonsmell of him.


They were afraid of him. As a teen, he sought work at a tannery in Paris.

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Paris is a stinking pit of hell. To Grenouille It was a mixture of human and animal smells, of water and stone and ashes and leather, of soap and fresh-baked bread and eggs boiled in vinegar, of noodles and smoothly polished brass, of sage and ale and tears, of grease and soggy straw and dry straw.

The extraordinary allu- ernism and the historicalavant-garde,and siveness of Das Parfumwas recognizedby a identifyit, onthe other,as a particular literary numberof criticsuponits first appearance;2 trendwithinthe widerspectrumof contempo- less obvious,however,was the fact that its raryliteratureas a whole. The novel's addressesboth a culturalelite and the ordi- focus on these two movements, generally nary person,3althoughone might perhaps seen by literary historians as related, moreproperlycallit a "multiple coding"that suggests thatmoreis at stakehere thansim- speakson manydifferentlevels andto many ply a wild appropriation of "allof the styles audiencesat once.

Parodyandpastichelie at the raisesthe samequestions,bothaestheticand heartof literarypostmodernism, as a number ethical,as does the methodby whichStiskind of theoristshaveobserved.

Indeed, the however,that it is not just the appealto a finalcannibalization scene- withits surprise double audiencebut the peculiarstatus of twists, multipleambiguitiesand self-decon- postmoderntexts between parodyandpastiche structingeffects- is the ultimateexemplifi- thatmakesthem so difficultto evaluate.

Das cationof the particularkindof postmodern Parfumis a good exampleof this problem. Althoughpastiche,becauseit is derivative, Before pursuingthis argument,we will is often regardedas an inferiorform or at need to gaina footholdin the slipperydebate best as a "neutral"or "blank"version of The German Quarterly It wouldalso force a revisionof often titillatingsocial histories emphasizing literaryvaluesderivedfromtheperiodaround clothingor otheraspectsof privatelife;read- notionsofgenius,originality, anduniver- ers who founda macabredelightin the per- sality that continue to dominate our idea of versities and the violenceof the periodand whata literarytext is worth.

The possibilityof followinga rethinkingof traditionalliterary values. It singleone of these tracksor of weavingsev- forcesus, furthermore,to reviseourconcep- eral of them togethermadefor a good part tionsof howtexts work,bothintheirrelation of the novel'sattraction.

It is easy to see that, to othertexts andwithrespect to theirown inthissense, DasParfumis multiply coded. Otherpostmodernnovels One problemthat arises with this kindof -notably Eco'sTheNameof theRose- per- text, however,is thatits greateststrength- formmuchthe same function,9but Das Par- its appealto severaldifferentclasses of read- fum is subtlerin the way it goes aboutits ers- can also workagainstit. Readerswho task and hence more difficultto grasp with privilegedonly one of the novel's various our customarycriticalmethodologies.

Fromthe outset,Das Par- ously little mystery involved;if this was a fum appealedto boththe mass marketpublic historic novel, it fell off markedlyonce it andthe literaryelite.

It rapidlyclimbedonto moved from its Paris setting to the barren the best sellerlist, firstin the German-speak- mountainsideof the hibernationscene.

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The ing countriesand then, upon translation,in mostdisturbing aspectof the bookis undoubt- the English-speaking world and in France. Yet students of literatureim- its apparenthigh style for the expressionof mediatelyidentifiedit withmoreesoterictra- originalcreativity.

Unlikethe works of the ditions,andconnoisseursof style admiredits historicavant-garde,whichallowquotations linguistictours-de-forceand its bold playof to remain identifiablebecause they are fantasy.

This is not to say thatit didnot also markedas foreignbodieswithinan obviously have its detractors, who emerged equally constructedmontage,Das Parfumhomogen- rapidlyin the reviewingorgans1'as in private izes the elements from which it has been conversations.

There was somethingabout formed. Those would-becultivatedreaders this novelthat mademanyfeel ill at ease. Others, aware of a received quasi-detective story plot and the apparently poetic languageinformingthe novel'sstyle but sensationalist series of murders upon which still not understanding its complex composi- it turns; others appreciated the literary allu- tionalprinciples, read the very same features This content downloaded from UnlikeThe poet as a "secondmakerunder God,"the Nameof theRose,wherereferencesto semio- dreamsequencefromthe conclusionof Hoff- tics andotherrecentliterarytheoriesalerted mann'sRat Krespel,the paintingsof Caspar readers to the existence of other levels of David Friedrich,Goethe's "Zauberlehrling," meaningand other potentialaudiences,Das andThomasMann'sDoktorFaustus,to name Parfumbears no such distinctmarkersof its only a few.

I thinkthat this problem More problematicfor the novel'soriginal is less severefor the novel'sintendedreader- readership,however,were not the more or shipthanfor those who readit in translation.

Sfiskind's are to stock texts of the Germanliterary use of pastichewas in largepartresponsible canon,texts that manyof its German-speak- forthe novel'smixedreceptioninthe German- ingreaderswouldhavehadto memorizedur- speakingworld. A good deal of Siiskind's ing their school years.

These allusionscer- languagederives directlyfrom earliermod- tainlydid not go unnoticed;indeed,reviews els, especiallyhis descriptionsof perfume- of the novelcharacterizeit by its seemingly making,whereBaudelaireandHuysmansfig- derivativeor epigonalcharacter. Tothe extent ure even in the choiceof vocabulary.

D6blin ,pastiche in the case of Joyce and Onthe one hand,thosereaderswhorecog- Proust , and the outrightappropriation of nize allusionsto Eichendorff's"Mondnacht,"other writers'words in the case of Thomas Claudius's"Abendlied," or Goethe's "Will- Mann haveallbeenthe subjectofintensecrit- kommenundAbschied"- not to mentionthe icaldebate.

Informedreadershavelongsince moreobviousreferencesto Faust-may feel cometo termswiththese phenomenain mod- authorizedto regardSiiskindas a legitimate ernistwriters.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Inpostmoderntexts, however, descendantof an importantpoetic tradition. In the case of D. The Romanticand Goetheanmodelsremain Althoughwe have come to understandhow relativelyclose to the surfaceof the text, as modernistmontagetechniquesturnwhatap- do the poems of Baudelaire,Rimbaud,and pears to be plagiarisminto somethingthatis Rilkeas well as other productsof the aes- notplagiarism at all,we continueto feelunset- theticistmovementsuchas Huysmans's A re- tledbypostmodernist appropriationsofearlier bours.

Thismayhaveto do withtheirpeculiar example,the perfumeGrenouilletries to dis- kindof playfulness,whichlacks the evident till fromthe bodiesof youngvirginsis a gro- ironyof an AlfredD6blinor the highserious- tesquelyliteralversionof Novalis's"Auflosung ness of a ThomasMann.

WhileStiskindcan hardlybe accused of There are many other references for those plagiarism, there is certainly something dis- who enjoy hunting them: the Grimms' fairy turbingabout his reinscriptionsof familiarfor- tale of the Frog Prince, the Kaspar Hauser mulas, his evocations of past linguistic and myth, Chamisso's Peter Schlehmihl,the Pro- iconographicworlds. In a work much praised This content downloaded from The conclusionof the novelis even more Withhis amphibian existence on the border distinctivelyparodicthan the scene in the between the humanand the naturalworlds, mountains,whichconstitutesits centralturn- the stench-laden underclassandthe perfumed ing point.

Grenouille'scharismaticpowers nobility, tradition and innovation,Grenouille over the crowd,the result of his ingenious certainly lives up to his name. Not acciden- imitationof the scent of innocence,his quasi- tally, the central dreamscene that formsthe mythologicaldismembermentand his canni- turningpointat the end of Grenouille's hiber- balizationby the besotted mob seem-in nationin a mountaincave takes place on a their highlyconsciousfictionality-dramat- foggymoorwhereearthandwaterarescarce- ically differentfrom the historicalnarrative ly to be separated.

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Yetjust as we Similarlyamphibianis the novel'smove- standreadyto accuse the novelof an unre- ment frompasticheto parody. Manyreaders solvedriftinits structure,we beginto wonder faultDas Parfumforits melodramatic conclu- whetherthe text mightnotbe parodicthrough sion, and others dislikethe book from the and through.

How seriouslywere we meant hibernation episodeon. Is not Germanwritersfromthe turnof the century the openingparagraph the mostconsummate - Rilke's"DerAlchimist" or certainpassages imitationof historicalnarrative the narra- fromMalteLauridsBriggecometo mind"4- tive, paradoxically, ofa figurewhoseparticular the Romanticinfluencebecomesmoreappar- geniusforcedhimto leave"keineSpuren""in ent once Grenouilleclimbsup to his isolated der Geschichte" P5?

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Isn'ta geniusbydefini- mountaintopduringthe Seven Years'War. In this sense, Das Parfumleads a abuiberdasnichtlicheLandseinerSeele nach strangeexistence on the borderof pastiche Haus in sein Herz" P '5or that his mind andparody,bothof themversionsofreflection "benebeltesich wunderbar" P or, again, on the past but bothalso literaryratherthan that"angenehmeSchauerdurchrieselten ihn" historicalversionsof such reflection. P , they find themselvesin the familiar A distinctivefeatureof thisnovel'spastiche topography,not of mountainscenery,but of andparodyis its heavyrelianceon Romantic the Germanpoetry anthology.

For the non- and Symbolicor Aestheticsubtexts. Realist Germanreader the visual imagery of this or Naturalistallusionsare not lacking, to episodedoubtlesssubstitutesformanya lost be sure, especiallysince Siiskind,in refrain- linguisticallusion. Our admirationfor Gre- ing from the use of modernisttechniques, nouille'stalent, craftsmanship,persistence, appearsto adhereto nineteenth-century nar- andabilityto rise abovehis socialorigins- all rativemethods.

Nonetheless,Goetheis rep- attributesthat we still admiretoday-yield resented by his more Romantic side- the at this pointto our moderntendencyto find theories of genius and creativity, for exam- the sublimeridiculous. Farfromrepresenting ple- and even the brief allusion to Matthias a falling-off inimaginative power,however,this Claudiusis not incompatiblewith the Roman- This content downloaded from Grenouille'shibernation inthe moun- Grenouille's inventionof a scent thatcharms tainsduringthe SevenYears'Waris Siiskind's all who smell it recallsthe tale of Arion'sall- equivalentof Faust'sregenerativesleep at the compellingsong toldby the merchantswhom beginningof the second part of Goethe's Heinrichmeets on his wayto Augsburg.Adams, "The Nose takingplaceon this side of the Atlantic.

Please create a new list with a new name; move some items to a new or existing list; or delete some items. He refrained from overpowering some whole, live person Indeed, the however,that it is not just the appealto a finalcannibalization scene- withits surprise double audiencebut the peculiarstatus of twists, multipleambiguitiesand self-decon- postmoderntexts between parodyandpastiche structingeffects- is the ultimateexemplifi- thatmakesthem so difficultto evaluate.

After Grenouille leaves him, his house and warehouses plunge into the river below as the bridge finally collapses, and the recipes he has taken for hundreds of Grenouille's perfumes are lost. Travelling to Montpellier with a fabricated story about being kidnapped and kept in a cave for seven years to account for his appearance, he creates a body odour for himself from everyday materials, and finds that his new "disguise" tricks people into thinking that it is the scent of a human; he is now accepted by society instead of shunned.

However, on the way to his execution he wears a new scent he has created, that causes awe and adoration in others, and although the evidence of his guilt is absolute, the crowd becomes so fond of him, and so convinced of the innocence he now exudes, that he is freed; even Laure's father asks if he would consider being adopted as his son.

Similarly,the Marquisde la Tail- haveseemedliketwopeople"oder,schlimmer lade-Espinasse,authorof lengthyarticleson noch, wie ein monstr6sesDoppelwesen,wie the "fluidum letale"in the wellreputed"Jour- eine Gestalt, die man nicht mehr eindeutig nal des Scavans" P , may be the very fixierenkann,weil sie sich verschwimmend modelof an eighteenth-century scientist,but unscharfdarstelltwie ein BildvomGrundei- his theories of earthinessand airiness are nes Sees, aufdemdie Wellenzittern" P He is fostered but is a difficult solitary child and eventually apprenticed to a tanner.

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