Dr Hanna Bingel-Jones
School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Dr. Hanna Bingel-Jones is a postdoctoral researcher on the Irish Research Council-funded project ‘Speaking the Predicament: Words and Stories for the Anthropocene’, led by Prof. Caitríona Ní Dhúill (PI).The project explores literary engagements with the human-nature relationship, and how literature brings new dimensions to ecological discourses in the larger context of environmental humanities: https://www.ucc.ie/en/sllc/news/congratulations-to-dr-caitriona-ni-dhuill.html
After studying English and German in Giessen and Sheffield, Hanna Bingel-Jones completed her PhD in American literary studies at Giessen University. Since then she has taught literature and language at the universities of Volgograd (2011-2014) and Leipzig (2014-2016), and from 2016 to 2020 she was a DAAD-lecturer at the UCC German Department. Since 2019 she is in the committee board of the German Studies Association of Ireland GSAI: https://germaninireland.wordpress.com/home/
The research examines the nature poetry of Christian Lehnert (*1969) which allows both for a deepened awareness of what has gone lost as well as a re-cultivation of a Platonic ‘wonder’. Lehnert's poems can be described as ecological in the sense that "nature" is shown in them as a dynamic web of relationships in which no part can exist without the other. In his poetry, however, nature is not merely physical but his writing also contemplates the religious significance of even the smallest elements in nature. I am examining how the ecological and the religious are juxtaposed with a specific emphasis on perception and sensation. What role does sensory perception, especially seeing and hearing, play in exposing both the purity of nature and at the same time the human-induced frictions? How is the poet using the traditions of religion to explore spirituality within nature? An important source of inspiration for the poet are texts from medieval mysticism, such as from Jakob Böhme and Angelus Silesius. However, there are also influences by the contemporary phenomenologist Bernhard Waldenfels, who coined the concept of the hyperbolic, which always appears when a phenomenon “shows itself to be something other and more than it is”(Hyperphänomene, 2012). Similar to Waldenfels’ hyper-phenomena, the imagery of animals and plants in Lehnert’s poetry is created in such a way that – to put it in Waldenfels terms - they are always more than they appear to be. I want to examine more closely what exactly is seen in the nature phenomena and to what extent seeing itself is presented performatively. Focussing on the poems’ linguistic complexity and their tendency towards hermetic imagery the research proposes an ecological reading of Lehnert’s apophatic aesthetics within the context of biblical theology, German mysticism, and nature phenomenology, and argues that the language-conscious as well as religious quality of his poetry explores grounds for making valuable ethical appeals to nature in times of ecological precarity.