Christ's wine consists of German Blood
the sacrifical narrative of Walter Flex's "The wanderer between the two worlds"
Long since forgotten, Walter Flex's war-time novel The Wanderer Between the Two Worlds (Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten) was one of the most popular publications during the First World War and, indeed, one of the best selling German novels in the 20th-century. While Flex's novel contributed to the sacrificial and nationalistic discourse that dominated the spiritual mobilization of German writers and intellectuals during the war, the aim of this paper is to revisit Flex’s exemplary novel in order to outline a new matrix of intelligibility for an understanding of the discourse of sacrifice during the First World War. Although the focus here remains on Flex’s Der Wanderer and its German context of nationalism, this proposed analysis serves as a case-study of sacrificial discourse within the broader horizon of the relations between sacrificial discourse, the secular religious enterprise of nationalism, and the shaping of political affects. As this paper seeks to demonstrate, couched within an ideological mythologization of the experience of war, Flex’s novel nonetheless contains anthropological and cultural insights into the tenacity of sacrificial discourse for nationalism and modern social solidarity.
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