The Metamorphosis of Fear: Herta Müller’s Invention of Perception

Wenquan WU


This paper investigates the multifarious origins of fear in the formation of Herta Müller the person and their resulting influences on her literary expressions. The various kinds of fear molded her ways of perception which in turn triggered the forming process of her poetics. Both her ontological fear and her fears caused by various secular authorities are elaborated, before an analysis of her creation of metaphors unfolds. It is concluded that her literary metamorphosis of fear as a strategy to counteract the destructive forces of the latter is one of the key characteristics of the uniqueness of her poetical practice.


Fear; Invention of perception; Taboo; Metaphor; Metamorphosis

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