On the subjects of philosophy, society, biographies, literary + cultural history

Peter von Matt
Sieben Küsse. Glück und Unglück in der Literatur

© Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2017 Peter von Matt: Sieben Küsse. Glück und Unglück in der Literatur © Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 2017If there were such a thing in literature as an absolute sense of musical hearing, Peter von Matt would have it. (…) Peter von Matt has now written a new book. Its title is Sieben Küsse (Seven Kisses). That sounds like a fairy tale and it is like a fairy tale. Matt’s book has seven chapters dealing with seven kisses. But of course, the retired professor at the University of Zürich gives us a great deal of background to draw up a mighty historical panorama of the subject in world literature. (…) But why should kissing, above all things, this tender “commonplace business”, as Peter von Matt calls it at one point - which is after all one of the basic ingredients of all schmaltzy novels - be a suitable subject of such literary exploration?
What insights (for art and for life) can be drawn from this gesture, which, if staged on a grand scale, can easily end up becoming kitsch, but if it remains small, is easily overlooked? As Peter von Matt would say, to use one of his favourite expressions, it is precisely because we overlook it so easily that it deserves our special attention. (…) What cannot be overlooked, however, is that the pleasure and joy of reading are greatest in works by Virginia Woolf, Gottfried Keller and Heinrich von Kleist. Here, von Matt speaks and writes with such zeal that we are no less entranced by his interpretations of Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, von Kleist’s Die Marquise von O… (The Marquise of O…) and two legends by Gottfried Keller than by the original texts themselves.

Roman Bucheli: „Ein Teufelskerl des Küssens“
© Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 31 January 2017

Peter von Matt
Sieben Küsse. Glück und Unglück in der Literatur
Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 2017
ISBN 9783446254626
288 pages


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