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Abstract

In his love songs, Heinrich von Mügeln demonstrates how he as a Sangspruch poet aspires to mastery (Meisterschaft). This is characterised by a complex and varied use of imagery relating to nature, which allows the poet to surpass the representation and negotiation of love in the Minnesang tradition both rhetorically and conceptionally. The texts also draw on learned knowledge and should be read taking the concepts of natural philosophy of the so-called School of Chartres into account. Using the example of the first three songs, the article shows to what extent the texts thus occupy a position that is as significant as it is exemplary in the lyric history of the late Middle Ages.

In: Poetica

Abstract

The Pathos of Sobriety: Reconsidering Laconism

This article attempts to reframe literary laconism by distinguishing between laconism as a stylistic routine of the twentieth century and as a universal device of deceiving expectations. To do so, it addresses the systematic question of how laconism suggests what it omits and how we can deal with the unresolved status of pathos within this process. Using a broad international corpus with an emphasis on Russian literature, this article asks, moreover, to what extent the category of laconism, rhetorical at its basis, can prove fruitful for literary history.

In: Poetica
Author: Leon Wirtz

Abstract

Xenophon’s account of the Battle of Cunaxa has been much praised by ancient and modern critics for its vividness (enargeia). Plutarch states that he brings the events right before our eyes, making us participate in the dangers. However, critics have been reticent about how this effect is created. This paper tries to explain the vividness with recent enactivist theories of cognition: the selective focus on certain aspects of scenes is in alignment with the way humans perceive objects in the real world. Less vivid passages do exist but are still narrated in a dynamic fashion. However, greater prominence is given to enactive passages, thus creating a high degree of vividness.

In: Poetica

Abstract

This essay tests the concept of the possible world for an analysis of Daniel Casper von Lohenstein’s novel Arminius (1689/90). Starting from the basic literary concept of ‘world’, which usually has the function of establishing a distinction between reality and fiction, the paper first examines, using the example of battle, fight, and war, how the novel depicts contingency and how its depictions are related to the concepts of providentiality and doom, which in turn are reconstructed as subsequent interpretations. A narrative analysis traces how the novel contributes to a pluralization of the concept of ‘world’. While Lohenstein presents coincidences and misfortunes in their fateful concatenation encompassing long periods of time and thus, on the whole, establishes the aberration of the narrated from the historical events, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz exemplifies the equality of possible and real world frequently by resorting to narrative strategies. The possible world of the novel serves as a reminder that the real world could be a different one.

In: Poetica
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In: Poetica

Abstract

The essay addresses the problem of time in lyric poetry and proposes a narrative understanding of the lyric genre. I argue that temporality belongs to the lyric discourse as part of its transtextual structure as a result of the lyric’s organization in the book form. This transtextual structure gives lyric poetry a narrative framework and a specific type of temporality, the diachronic time, which contrasts with the temporality of the single poem, the synchronic time. By focusing on the relationships between opener and closure poems, I propose a narrative-diachronic model in order to reposition the temporality of lyric poetry in the book form. By dealing with Paul Celan’s second book of poems, Von Schwelle zu Schwelle (1955), the analysis will finally show how diachronic time corresponds to the narrative structure of the collection, and how time and the narrative are deeply linked in lyric poetry by means of the book form.

In: Poetica

Abstract

This paper examines narrative representations of authors and authorship in English-language fiction from the 1890s to the 1920s. From Henry James onwards, such narratives revise the basic, and by that time exhausted, plot elements of the novel of literary apprenticeship as featured in Dickens’s David Copperfield and Thackeray’s Pendennis, among many others. Instead of focusing on ideas of development and professional formation, they depict authors subdued by a sense of shrinking opportunities and lack of movement. Aging or dying authors in James and Mann, young but soon disappointed authors in Joyce, Forster, or Green: wherever we look, we find an ambivalence of promise that often ends in stagnation, failure, even death. In this context, my paper presents a close reading of three less frequently discussed modernist variations on the literary bildungsroman: Arthur Machen’s The Hill of Dreams (1897/1907), E.M. Forster’s The Longest Journey (1907), and Henry Green’s Blindness (1926).

In: Poetica
In: Poetica