Violence cannot solely be considered as a social phenomenon. The language can formulate border transgressions as well, although language commonly is said to stand as a peaceful means outside of violence. Therefore, this issue is not just a problem among many, but rather the relationship between language and violence is particularly worthy of attention. The article at hand examines the relationship between language, violence, and aggression thematically, as well as a structural aspect by analyzing exemplary texts of the Romanian-German writer and Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller. Concerning theory, the article draws especially on Monika Leipelt-Tsai’s Aggression in lyrischer Dichtung (2008), where the terms “violence” and “aggression” were first theoretically distinguished in literary discourse, and the performative aggression in a written text is considered. This subsequently opens up another thinking of aggression that no longer considers the aggression as purely negative. It becomes clear that linguistically violent transgression to the Other can be found in some parts of Herta Müller’s novels. In other text excerpts, aggression can be read as something that in its touch does not produce any violence. But there is also a rhetoric which does not clearly allow to make this decision (for example, in the case of subtle irony). In linguistically sophisticated formulations it is not always clear due to an ambiguity whether that transgression has occurred or not. The particular form of perception in Herta Müller’s texts shifts the relationship to things and opens up new perspectives on aggression and violence.
Verbale Aggression: Multidisziplinäre Zugänge zur verletzenden Macht der Sprache, Bonacchi, Silvia (Ed.), pp.447-470