In: KulturPoetik 2004, Heft 1


Vivian Liska


Was weiß die Literatur? Das Wissen der Sirenen: Adorno, Blanchot, Sloterdijk (– und Kafka)




For centuries the Sirens' irresistible song resonates through the echo chambers of philosophical and literary texts. It derives its power from the fusion of an absolute medium – the pure voice or presence – with the promise of an equally absolute message – the knowledge of »everything that happens on earth«. Homer’s tale of the Sirens has enticed the most cunning spirits to interpretations until this day. This article discusses some of its newer readings, packaged as a message in a bottle (Adorno), an endless loop (Blanchot) or a spherical bubble (Sloterdijk), and juxtaposes them to Kafka's Silence of the Sirens. This little history of the Sirens is an investigation into the more recent changes of the enticements, dangers and powers of their song and into what this song knows about the knowledge of literature as the medium that transports it.