Assembly (literature)

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The technique of literary montage ([ mɔnˈtaːʒə ]) ( listen ? / I ) is a term used to describe the merging of different texts or text parts that convey different content or often different language levels and styles. This is used to create moments of surprise and to approach modern, increasingly complicated reality. According to Walter Benjamin , the assembled interrupts the context in which it is placed. Similar to the fine arts , one also speaks of collage . Audio file / audio sample


The montage stems from the Cento poetry and cross-reading , among other things , and can already be traced back to medieval literature. Since the literary revolution at the beginning of the 20th century, it has developed into a literary medium in all literary genres , including a.

and in numerous radio plays .

Similar to the technical possibilities of film, which works out spatial and temporal contrasts with flash-ahead and flashback , with setting sizes or editing processes , literary montages have different functions. With his montages of technical language and jargon, Benn aimed for an artistic totality of consciousness; In Dadaist art, the combination of advertising , literary and colloquial language was primarily about an aesthetic provocation that was intended to shock the audience; the epic theater of Bertolt Brecht pointed it mainly due to the confrontation that the alienation effect challenges; Finally, in the novel prose different areas of reality or their perception should appear to be experienced simultaneously. What the assembly process has in common is an associative link between the different levels of action and awareness.

Until the mid- 1960s , the terms montage and collage were used synonymously . After that, the term collage gradually established itself as a standardization to other art forms ( Juan Gris in painting , Bernd Alois Zimmermann in music ). The relation to reality through the use of everyday texts was rather emphasized. Assembly techniques also became effective in the literature of surrealism , futurism , constructivism and socialist realism . The term was also used for philosophical writings, including a. with Ernst Bloch and Julia Kristeva .

Another form of montage that includes chance is the cut-up , which was preferred by the authors of the Beat Generation and in German-speaking countries by Jürgen Ploog and Carl Weissner , among others .


  • Peter Szondi : The Theory of Modern Drama . Zurich 1956
  • Johannes Leclerque: Montage in contemporary German poetry . (Dissertation) Vienna 1961
  • Heinz Otto Burger, Reinhold Grimm: Evocation and Montage. Three contributions to understanding modern German poetry . Goettingen 1961
  • Manfred Durzak: quote and montage in the German novel of the present . In: Manfred Durzak (ed.): The German literature of the present. Aspects and Trends . Stuttgart 1971. ISBN 3-15-010198-0
  • Kerstin Schmitt: The Poetics of Montage. Figure conception and intertextuality in the “Kudrun” . Berlin 2002. ISBN 3-503-06142-8
  • Jean Antoine-Dunne: The montage principle. Eisenstein in new cultural and critical contexts . 2004 Amsterdam. ISBN 90-420-0898-9
  • Hanno Möbius: Montage and Collage. Literature, fine arts, film, photography, music, theater until 1933. Munich: Wilhelm Fink 2000.

Individual evidence

  1. Walter Benjamin, “The Author as Producer. Address at the Institute for the Study of Fascism in Paris on April 27, 1934 ”, in: Collected writings . Second volume. Second part, edited by Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Schweppenhäuser. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt / Main 1982, 2nd edition of the single edition 1989, ISBN 3-518-57307-1 , pp. 683-701, p. 696