Thinking in Literature

On the Fascination and Power of Aesthetic Ideas. Translated from German by Joel Golb

“M’illumino/d’immenso” – “I’m lit/with immensity” is Geoffrey Brock’s translation of Giuseppe Ungaretti’s poem Mattina. In the poem’s minimalism, Ungaretti points to the maximal: the richness of poetry’s expressive possibilities and the power of thinking in literature.
This book addresses the fascination of readers to transcend the boundaries of their own in fiction, and literature’s capacity, according to Kant, even to evoke, with the help of the development of aesthetic ideas, representations that exceed what is empirically and conceptually graspable – in case studies about myths of creativity, images of death and the beyond after the ‘death of God’, of the soul, of melancholy as the dark ground of genius, of metamorphoses of both evil and good, of ecstasy, of the economy of self-sacrifice, of the art of resistance, and, among others, about figurations of biography and the portrait as approaches to singularity, what is particular and cannot be fully subsumed to any universality.
„M’illumino/d’immenso“ – „I’m lit/with immensity“ is Geoffrey Brock’s translation of Giuseppe Ungaretti’s poem Mattina. In the poem’s minimalism, Ungaretti points to the maximal: the richness of poetry’s expressive possibilities and the power of thinking in literature.
This book will address the fascination of readers to transcend the boundaries of their own in fiction, and literature’s capacity, according to Kant, even to evoke, with the help of the development of aesthetic ideas, representations that exceed what is empirically and conceptually graspable – in case studies about myths of creativity, images of death and the beyond after the ‘death of God’, of the soul, of melancholy as the dark ground of genius, of metamorphoses of both evil and good, of ecstasy, of the economy of self-sacrifice, of the art of resistance, and, among others, about figurations of biography and the portrait as approaches to singularity, what is particular and cannot be fully subsumed to any universality.

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Günter Blamberger is Professor (em.) of Modern German Literature at the University of Cologne, where he directs the Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, as well as the Festival for World Literature ‘Poetica’. He is president of the Heinrich-von-Kleist-Society and has been a member of the German Academy for Language and Literature since 2015.