Silvio Vietta

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Silvio Vietta

Silvio Vietta (born August 7, 1941 in Berlin ) is a literary scholar and professor em. at the University of Hildesheim .

His research focuses on German literature, philosophy and European cultural history. The main fields of research in literature are expressionism, early romanticism and modernity. Vietta published on Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer . He knew both of them personally. He conducted the last published conversation with Gadamer in 2001 (2002).


Silvio Vietta is the son of the travel writer, essayist, playwright and critic Egon Vietta and his wife Dorothea, b. Field house.

After studying German , philosophy , English and pedagogy, he received a doctorate in 1970 from the University of Würzburg on language and linguistic reflection in modern poetry . Vietta began his professional career as a lecturer at Elmira College / USA.

In 1981 Vietta qualified as a professor for modern German philology at the University of Mannheim with a thesis on modern rationality and modern literary language criticism and taught at the universities of Heidelberg, Tübingen, Mannheim and Hildesheim. In Hildesheim, Vietta helped to build up the diploma course in “Cultural Education” (today: Cultural Studies and Aesthetic Practice) and has had a lasting impact on Hildesheim's cultural studies.

In 2006 he was visiting professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow; 2007 and 2008-09 at the University of Sassari, Italy; 2012 visiting professor at the University of Campinas in Brazil; 2013 at Nehru University in New Delhi India. He gives information about both country experiences in two books: The meat of life. Diary of a trip to Brazil (2013) and fruit bats over Mumbai. How I Discovered Another India (2015).

In 2012 he edited the correspondence between his father and Hermann Broch together with the Italian scientist Roberto Rizzo .

Vietta is a member of the Advisory Board of "Angermion", "Yearbook for British-German Cultural Relations" and is a member of AVUR (Agenzia Nationale Valutazione Ricerca Universitaria) in Italy, as well as a member of the International Association of Germanists. Vietta is the father of two children: Isabel (* 1974) and Claudio (* 1979).



Vietta specializes in the field of macro-epoch research. He has published fundamental works on the era of expressionism , early romanticism , and literary and aesthetic modernism . He published the work of the romantic Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder together with Richard Littlejohns in a historical-critical edition (1991). A publication from 2012 with the title “Texts on Poetics” documents the European history of poetics from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages and the modern era to modern and postmodern .

Vietta is one of the co-founders of a new line of research in European studies ("European Studies") with studies on European cultural history and, more recently, on rationality and the European and global civilization that is based on it.

Vietta advocates the thesis that Western rationality, and in particular its technical superiority, led to the exploration and conquest of the world and thus to today's global society . According to Vietta, the respective development of rationality is decisive for the different living standards in the world and thus for the distribution of rich and poor, which in turn lead to global migration movements. Vietta also advocates the thesis that religious fundamentalism is an answer to this asymmetry in the development of rationality and that this, and not primarily religion, is responsible for the confrontation of cultures. Occidental literary history also moves within the framework of the development of European rationality, with literature from ancient tragedy to modern novels forming a critical voice against the dominance of rationality.

In 1989 Vietta tried in the controversial study "Heidegger's Critique of National Socialism and Technology" to prove that this thinker had turned away from National Socialism from 1934 and that it was precisely through National Socialism that he understood the essence of modern "machinations" - that is, the power-political conquest of the world . Against this, Heidegger developed his philosophy of protection and of people as “shepherds of being”. Vietta's new publication "'Something is racing around the globe ...' Heidegger: Ambivalent Existence and Criticism of Globalization" from 2015 reconstructs Heidegger's philosophy of being and represents the apologetic thesis that Heidegger's approach to the NS was merely the result of the mistake of enforcing his philosophy of being with the help of the Nazis can. According to Vietta, Heidegger's statements on Jews and Judaism, in particular the notations of the years 1938–1945 that have been in public discussion since the publication of the Black Booklet in 2014, are not to be considered anti-Semitism in the sense of National Socialist ideology as “biopolitical racism” understand, but as a form of general and also legitimate “cultural criticism” of certain Jewish-capitalist functionaries. Vietta distinguishes between the international crimes of biopolitical racism and a form of criticism of Jews, their calculating thinking and financial capitalism, which is not illegitimate. As such, she describes Vietta as "venial criticism of the Jews, which one must be able to express as well as a criticism of any other ethnic and religious group".

The most recent considerations since 2016 are devoted to European cultural history and in particular to rationality as the engine of the history of Europe and today's globalization as well as the European value theory.

The latest studies apply to the European system of values. Vietta describes them as “families of values” and defines values ​​as “collective guiding principles for thinking and acting”. The European cultural history is shaped by three families of values ​​in particular: 1. The European culture of rationality with its imperative to strengthen one's own thinking and to explain the world no longer mythically but in causal logic. The occidental natural sciences and their technical applications and forms of production arise from this thought. The first group of values ​​also includes the search for truth, the ability to criticize, democracy, the rule of law and the ability to defend themselves as self-responsible forms of political organization, as well as personal development with the associated teaching and learning institutions. The 2nd value family is of a religious nature, strongly shaped in Europe by Christianity and its charitable values ​​of charity and poor welfare, which today are largely supported by the welfare state. The third group are values ​​of a patriotic nature such as mother tongue, homeland and a national awareness that is not stately, but self-confident. Vietta makes a political plea for European values ​​of patriotism and for a balanced value balance.


  • Vietta, Silvio: Language and Language Reflection in Modern Poetry. Bad Homburg 1970.
  • Vietta, Silvio: Expressionism. (together with HG Kemper). Seventh edition. Munich 2001 (1975).
  • Vietta, Silvio: The lyric poetry of expressionism. (Ed.) 4th edition Tübingen 1999 (1976).
  • Vietta, Silvio: Modern Rationality and Modern Literary Language Criticism. Munich 1981.
  • Vietta, Silvio: The literary early romanticism. Göttingen 1983.
  • Vietta, Silvio: Literary Fantasy: Theory and History. Baroque and Enlightenment. Stuttgart 1986.
  • Vietta, Silvio: Heidegger's criticism of National Socialism and of technology. Tübingen 1989. (French translation Paris 1993, Japanese translation Tokyo 1996).
  • Vietta, Silvio: Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder. All works and letters. Historical-critical edition. Edited with R. Littlejohns. Vol. I: Works. Heidelberg 1991. Vol. II: Correspondence, travel reports, philological work, 'Das Kloster Netley'. Life testimonies. Heidelberg 1991.
  • Vietta, Silvio: The literary modernity. A problem-historical presentation of German literature from Hölderlin to Thomas Bernhard. Stuttgart 1992.
  • Vietta, Silvio (ed.): Romanticism and Renaissance. The reception of the Italian Renaissance in German Romanticism. Stuttgart 1994.
  • Vietta, Silvio: The perfect speculation leads back to nature. Nature and aesthetics. Leipzig 1995.
  • Vietta, Silvio (ed.): Honorary doctorate Martin Walser. Talk. Write. Dubbing. 108 S. Hildesheim 1996.
  • Vietta, Silvio / Kemper, Dirk (ed.): Aesthetic Modernism in Europe. Basics and problem connections since the romantic era. Munich 1998.
  • Vietta, Silvio / Kemper, Dirk (ed.): German Studies of the 1970s. Between innovation and ideology. Munich 2000.
  • Vietta, Silvio (ed.): The literary Berlin in the 20th century. Stuttgart 2001.
  • Vietta, Silvio: Aesthetics of Modernity. Literature and image. Munich 2001.
  • Hans-Georg Gadamer / Vietta, Silvio: In conversation. Munich 2002.
  • Vietta, Silvio (ed., Among others): The European project of romanticism and modernity. Approaches to a German-Italian mentality history. Tübingen 2005.
  • Vietta, Silvio (ed.): Modernism and Myth. Munich 2006.
  • Vietta, Silvio: The European Modernist Novel. Munich 2007.
  • Vietta, Silvio: European cultural history. An introduction. Extended study edition. Munich 2007.
  • Vietta, Silvio (ed., Etc.): Aesthetics - Religion - Secularization I: From Renaissance to Romanticism. Munich 2008. Vol. II: The classic modern. Munich 2008.
  • Gehler, Michael / Vietta, Silvio (eds.): Europe - Europeanization - European studies. New scientific approaches, methods and content. 543 S. Vienna 2010.
  • Vietta, Silvio (ed.): Texts on poetics. An annotated anthology. 272 p. Darmstadt 2012.
  • Vietta, Silvio / Rizzo, Roberto (eds.): "Grope up to death ...". Hermann Broch and Egon Vietta in correspondence between 1933 and 1951. 367 p. Göttingen 2012.
  • Vietta, Silvio: Rationality. A world story. European cultural history and globalization. 500 p. Munich 2012.
  • Vietta, Silvio: A Theory of Global Civilization: Rationality and the Irrational as the Driving Forces of History. Kindle Ebooks 2013.
  • Vietta, Silvio: The flesh of life. Diary of a trip to Brazil. Oldenburg 2013.
  • Vietta, Silvio: Literature and Rationality. Functions of literature in European cultural history. Munich 2014.
  • Vietta, Silvio: fruit bats over Mumbai. How I discovered another India. Oldenburg 2015.
  • Vietta, Silvio: 'Something is racing around the globe ...' Heidegger: Ambivalent existence and criticism of globalization. Paderborn 2015.
  • Vietta, Silvio: The world society. How western rationality conquered and changed the world. Baden-Baden 2016.
  • Gehler, Michael / Vietta, Silvio / Ziethen, Sanne (eds.): Dimensions and perspectives of a global society. Questions, problems, findings, research approaches and theories. Vienna 2018.
  • Vietta, Silvio: Europe's values. History - Conflicts - Perspectives. Freiburg / Munich 2019.

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Individual evidence