Ulrich Horstmann (born 31 May 1949 in Bünde)[1] is a German literary scholar and writer who has also written under the pseudonym Klaus Steintal. Frequently described as a philosopher in the tradition of philosophical pessimism, he is perhaps most notorious for his view, often regarded as extreme even among other pessimist philosophers, that voluntary human extinction ought to be achieved by way of intentional global thermonuclear annihilation.

Life edit

Ulrich Horstmann finished his studies of English and Philosophy in 1974 with a doctoral thesis on Edgar Allan Poe. He was a lecturer at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. After habilitation in 1983 he lectured at the University of Münster until 1987. Since 1991 he has been a professor of English and American literature at the University of Giessen. He lives in Marburg.

Since 1976 Ulrich Horstmann has published, alongside scientific work, essays, novels and plays of his own, as well as translations from English. In 1983 he became known for his treatise The Beast, in which he promoted a philosophical position which was diametrically opposed to the peace movement Zeitgeist of those years: He advocated a philosophy of "escape of mankind" which aims for an early self-destruction of the human race by means of the accumulated nuclear weapons found in arsenals around the world. He pushed the pessimism and misanthropy of his intellectual forebear Schopenhauer to the extreme. It has been proved by the author's subsequent publications which are written with an attitude of nihilism and extreme distaste for the world, that The Beast was in no way, as suspected by some critics, a particularly bitter satire.

Ulrich Horstmann is a member of PEN Germany and received the Kleist Prize in 1988 after being nominated by Günter Kunert.

Thought edit

Horstmann puts forth the theory that mankind has been pre-programmed to eliminate itself in the course of history—and also all its memory of itself—through war (thermonuclear, genetic, biological), genocide, destruction of its sustaining environment, etc. “The final aim of history is a crumbling field of ruins. Its final meaning is the sand blown through the eye-holes of human skulls.” Through his analysis of history, he has concluded that our species is engaged in a constant process of armament, with the eventual end goal of wiping itself out through war. History, for him, is nothing more than a slaughterhouse . . . “the place of a skull and charnel house of a mad, incurably bloodthirsty slaughtering, flaying and whetting, of an irresistible urge to destroy to the last.” Although inspired by the already extreme philosophy of Philipp Mainländer, Horstmann ends up with an even more explicit solution regarding the problem of human existence. In his book The Beast he actually goes so far as to suggest the use of nuclear weapons in order to bring forth the extinction of the human race. For him only the annihilation of life would give rise to a universal redemption in which we would once again achieve the existential peace of inorganic matter. According to Horstmann’s apocalyptic vision: The true Garden of Eden is desolation

Die Geschichte des Untiers ist erfüllt, und in Demut harrt es des doppelten Todes — der physischen Vernichtung und des Auslöschens der Erinnerung an sich selbst. The history of the Beast is fulfilled, and in humility it awaits a double death — the physical annihilation and the obliteration of the recollection to itself.
Das Untier (The Beast)

Works edit

  • Ansätze zu einer technomorphen Theorie der Dichtung bei Edgar Allan Poe, Bern 1975. ISBN 3-261-01741-4 (Approaches to a technomorph theory of Edgar Allan Poe's poetry)
  • Er starb aus freiem Entschluß- Ein Schriftwechsel mit Nekropolis, Obertshausen 1976 (under the name Klaus Steintal) (He died from a free decision - a correspondence with necropolis)
  • Wordcadavericon, oder small thermonuclear Versschule for anybody, Cologne 1977. ISBN 3-88097-052-1 (Wordcadavericon or small thermonuclear verse school for everyone)
  • Nachgedichte Miniaturen aus der Menschenleere, Essen 1980 (After poems, Miniatures from the human emptiness)
  • Steintals Vandalenpark Erzählung. Siegen 1981. ISBN 3-922524-04-4 (Steintal's vandal park. Narrative)
  • Terrarium oder Einführung in die Menschenhaltung . Munich 1981 (Terrarium or introduction into the keeping of humans. Stage manuscript)
  • Ästhetizismus und Dekadenz. Zum Paradigmakonflikt in der englischen Literaturtheorie des späten 19. Jahrhunderts. Munich 1983. ISBN 3-7705-2098-X (Aestheticism and decadence. About paradigm conflict in the English theory of literature of the late 19th century)
  • Parakritik und Dekonstruktion . Paradise criticism and deconstruction. An introduction to the American post. Würzburg 1983. ISBN 3-88479-131-1
  • The Beast (Das Untier). Contours of a philosophy of human flight. Vienna [including] 1983. ISBN 3-88602-075-4 (reprint Warendorf 2004. ISBN 3-936345-47-3)
  • Brain Stroke (Hirnschlag), Aphorisms, Abtestate, Berserkasmen. Göttingen 1984. ISBN 3-88694-501-4
  • Silo, A lesson in brood care. (Stage manuscript) Göttingen 1984
  • The Donor (Der Spender), A comedy for Empfängnisbereite. (Stage manuscript) Munich 1984
  • The Fortunes of OmB'assa, fantastic novel (Das Glück von OmB'assa, Phantastischer Roman), Frankfurt am Main 1985. ISBN 3-518-37588-1
  • The Long Shadow of Melancholy (Der lange Schatten der Melancholie), Essay on a angeschwärztes feeling. Essen 1985. ISBN 3-924368-24-4
  • Ufo oder Der dritte Stand . Eine leicht versandete Komödie. UFO, or the third. Comedy A slightly silted. (Stage manuscript) Munich 1987
  • Schwedentrunk . Sweden draft. Gedichte. Poems. Frankfurt am Main 1989. ISBN 3-596-22362-8
  • Patzer . Patzer. Roman. Zurich 1990. ISBN 3-251-00165-5
  • Ansichten vom großen Umsonst . Views from large Zilch. Essays. Gütersloh 1991. ISBN 3-579-01114-6
  • Ich kaufe ein Gedankenlos . I buy a Gedankenlos. Aphorismen. Aphorisms. Hamburg 1993
  • Infernodrom . Infernodrom. Programm-Mitschnitte aus dreizehn Jahren. Programm-Mitschnitte thirteen years. Paderborn 1994. ISBN 3-927104-82-5
  • Altstadt mit Skins . Old Town with skins. Gedichte. Poems. Paderborn 1995. ISBN 3-927104-96-5
  • Conservatory (Konservatorium), Stories about short or long. Paderborn 1995. ISBN 3-89621-017-3
  • Summon Shadow Realm (Beschwörung Schattenreich), Collected plays and radio plays 1978 until 1990, with an essay about the art, to go to hell. Paderborn 1996. ISBN 3-89621-036-X
  • Gateway (Einfallstor), New aphorisms. Oldenburg 1998. ISBN 3-89621-065-3
  • Jeffers-Meditationen oder Die Poesie als Abwendungskunst . Jeffers-Meditationen or averting The poetry as art. Heidelberg 1998. ISBN 3-930978-10-5
  • Abdrift . Drift. Neue Essays. New essays. Oldenburg 2000. ISBN 3-89621-103-X
  • Göttinnen, leicht verderblich . Goddesses, easily perishable. Gedichte. Poems. Oldenburg 2000. ISBN 3-89621-106-4
  • J . Ein Halbweltroman. J. A half-Roman World. Oldenburg 2002. ISBN 3-89621-138-2
  • Ausgewiesene Experten . Expelled experts. Kunstfeindschaft in der Literaturtheorie des 20. Art hostility in the literary theory of 20th Jahrhunderts. Century. Frankfurt am Main [including] 2003. ISBN 3-631-50887-5
  • Picknick am Schlagfluß . Picnic on strike river. Poems. Oldenburg, 2005. ISBN 3-89621-204-4

As editor edit

Translations edit

Literature edit

  • Burkhard Biella: Zur Kritik des anthropofugalen Denkens, Essen 1986. ISBN 3-89206-108-4
  • Rajan Autze / Frank Müller: Steintal-Geschichten. Auskünfte zu Ulrich Horstmann. Oldenburg 2000. ISBN 3-89621-111-0

References edit

  1. ^ "Prof. Dr. em. Ulrich Horstmann: Curriculum Vitae". Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen. Retrieved 2022-10-18.

External links edit