Original Research

Die Auslotung des Menschenmöglichen: Die Verschränkung von Sprache und Identität bei Hugo Loetscher

Waldo Grové, Stephan Mühr
Literator | Vol 36, No 1 | a1225 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v36i1.1225 | © 2015 Waldo Grové, Stephan Mühr | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 July 2015 | Published: 30 November 2015

About the author(s)

Waldo Grové, Department of Modern European Languages, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Stephan Mühr, Department of Modern European Languages, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Over the course of his career as a writer, Swiss intellectual Hugo Loetscher developed a fragmentary body of ideas on the themes of language and identity respectively. In this article, it is shown that these two themes may fruitfully be compared in five aspects. Firstly, Loetscher conceives of both as being deficient and as mere potentialities. Furthermore, he desires to experience the entirety of possibilities which being human could offer, with respect to the dimensions of language and identity. These interactions with language and identity subsequently leave him with unresolved issues, of which he thinks as a remainder. Lastly, his conception of a gamut of partial identities as human possibilities is also central to a language he wishes to invent. Although Loetscher’s ideas on these themes can only be extrapolated from his literary writings or essayistic fragments, a systematic treatment of these ideas in the context of philosophy of language reveals a unique and avant-garde way of thinking. This discussion leads to the realisation that Loetscher purposefully and repeatedly employs language and identity as synonymous with the possibilities of being human.


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