The literary writings of the young Gottfried Benn are replete with images of anatomical dismemberment and biological decay while pushing the limits of linguistic expression. The article suggests that this confluence of naturalism and avant-garde experimentation is the result of Benn’s critical engagement with the modern life sciences, and in particular with the discourses of medicine and psychology. The article focuses on Benn’s so-called Rönne novellas, written between 1914 and 1916, arguing that they record and enact the disintegration of body and subjectivity through a medical discourse that gives way to an experimental prose freed from the constraints of reference and meaning.

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