Encoded Body, Encrypted Dance: Performance Contra Censorship
This chapter continues the theme of censorship. I discuss how in Heine’s enigmatic story Florentinische Nächte (Florentine Nights) an inscrutable dance becomes a coded performance contra censorship and presents an almost textbook case of how a story resists official censorship through a simultaneous veiling of meaning and a fictional revelation of history, place, and the multiple positions of the narrator and the reader. The subchapter “Heine’s Laurence, Lady Mathilde, and Mephistophela: Voices of écriture féminine?” is a speculative discussion about how some of Heine’s women characters mimic a voice that is associated with French feminist poststructuralism’s concept of écriture feminine. While I do not read Heine as a champion of feminism, I argue that his women characters like Laurence, Mephistophela in Doctor Faust. A Dance Poem, and Lady Mathilde in The City of Lucca challenge the rigidly prescribed rules of the social order and respond to their exclusion from the symbolic systems by a dangerous mobility.