Prof. Dr. Nicola Gess
The literary scholar in conversation with the director of the Literaturhaus Zürich, Dr Gesa Schneider
Halbwahrheiten: Zur Manipulation von Wirklichkeit
Matthes + Seitz
Half-truths: On the manipulation of reality
Half-truths are among the most powerful instruments of so-called post-factual political discourse – a discourse for which the transformation of facts into mere opinions is just as typical as the quest for attention. Nicola Gess, literary scholar and professor of modern German and general literary studies at the University of Basel, has compiled “Halbwahrheiten. Zur Manipulation von Wirklichkeit” (Matthes und Seitz 2020), current examples of fallen journalist Claas Relotius, conspiracy theorist Ken Jebsen and literary figure Uwe Tellkamp to analyse how a rhetoric of half-truths works – and why it can be better countered with a “fiction check” than with a “fact check”.
Nicola Gess is Professor of Modern German and General Literary Studies at the University of Basel. Doctorate at Princeton University and HU Berlin with the thesis “Gewalt der Musik. Literature and Music Criticism around 1800” (Rombach 2006, second edition 2011). Habilitation at the FU Berlin with the thesis “Primitives Denken. Wilde, Kinder und Wahnsinnige in der literarischen Moderne (Müller, Musil, Benn, Benjamin)” (Fink 2013).