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Der Zufall und die Anagramme

Ferdinand de Saussure und Unica Zürn

Marijana Erstić

Pages 321 - 339

The subject of the essay “Der Zufall und die Anagramme Ferdinand de Saussure und Unica Zürn” are anagrams, i.e. words or whole sentences that are created by dissecting their individual components, usually the letters, rearranging these components and linking them again. This procedure, which has been in use since antiquity, at the latest, is not always taken seriously by poetics and literary studies: It is used as a kind of language game mostly for the purposes of pseudonym formation, or it is an addiction. The understanding of coincidence in anagrams plays a major role.
The essay is divided into several parts. After some reflections on coincidence based on the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, the various forms as well as a history of anagrams are outlined. The following part deals with the anagram studies of Ferdinand de Saussure. The last part presents the anagram poems and the understanding of anagramming of the German writer Unica Zürn, who worked in the circle of the Parisian surrealists. The aim of the essay is to question the extent to which one can speak about coincidence in this procedure characterised by material limitation, and if so, in what it lies.


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