Speaking Stones: Material Agency and Interaction in Christian Enzensberger’s Geschichte der Natur

  • Caroline Schaumann
Part of the Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment book series (LCE)


This chapter investigates the agentic dimensions of pebbles in Christian Enzensberger’s Nicht Eins und Doch: Geschichte der Natur. While stone is a material usually scorned for its inanimateness and has been infamously denounced as “worldless” by Martin Heidegger, Enzensberger lends stone a voice, thus defying a longstanding hierarchy that since the Middle Ages has placed lithic matter at the very bottom of worldly existence. Yet Enzensberger’s novel can be read as a continuation and expansion of Heidegger’s essay “Der Feldweg.” In an experimental, multilingual, and imaginative narrative about sensual encounters with the nonhuman world, Enzensberger’s text elucidates a greater range of human experience that emerges when humans give up their claim to exclusive agency to explore, in reversed manner, their entanglement with the earth.


Small Pebble Free Indirect Discourse Field Path Nonhuman World Worldly Existence 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Schaumann
    • 1
  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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