For a long time, in the tradition of semiotics the sign was considered to be of inferior epistemological value, and even Baumgarten’s attempt to develop the conception of a semiotic aesthetics did not free the sign from its theoretical low status.1 Following Kant and his Kritik der ästhetischen Urteilskraft, especially Humboldt and Hegel ascribed to the sign a considerably higher theoretical value in their reflections about aesthetics. The sign no longer was considered to be a mere expression of a content that existed independently from it, but a constitutive role was given to the sign within the production of sense. The discourse of aesthetics, emerging by the end of the 18th century, therefore seems to contain a semiological subtext that grounds its aesthetic program on a theory of signs, whereas in the tradition of semiology, the skepticism towards the semiotic idea of the sign originated from the presuppositions of its conception of aesthetic represenation (Darstellung). Within a work of art, the content and its expression are combined by means of a semiological mediation as a result of which they are “so voneinander durchdrungen, daß das Äußere, Besondere ausschließlich als Darstellung des Inneren erscheint” (Hegel). This conception of representation was later called ‘symbolische Prägnanz’ by Cassirer. The emancipation of signs from their inferior theoretical value was predominantly based on the idea of an aisthetische form of expression such as Hegel had established within his philosophy of Kunstversinnlichung.
Gerhard Regn zum 75. GeburtstagAbstractThe emergence of the so called Bildwissenschaft in recent humanities constitutes a major challenge to philology, as this newly established branch of art studies claims that images have a potential of generating meaning that is equivalent to, yet independent from, any linguistic means of producing semantics. Linguistics as well as literary studies have hardly reacted to this challenge until now. Therefore, the first part of this article proposes a comparative analysis of the procedures of generating meaning in images and in language, exploring their differences as well as their intersections. The second part is dedicated to a case study and comparison between the medieval hymn Stabat mater and Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece as an illustration and simultaneously a test of the theoretical assumptions developed in the first part of the paper.
It is a well-known fact that Gertrude Stein participated in psychological experiments at Hugo Münsterberg’s psychological laboratory during her undergraduate studies at Harvard University in the 1890s. She also conducted such experiments, the results of which were published in the Psychological Review. In her autobiographical texts, Stein referred to the experiments and the articles. Biographical research on Stein never fails to mention the experiments, but treats them as proof of Stein’s early interest in character types, while a few scholars regard Stein’s texts as automatic writing and base their claim on the experiments. The essay contextualizes the experiments in the contemporaneous research on suggestion and the “doubling of the mind”. Rejecting the idea of automatic writing, I analyze the section “ROOMS” of Tender Buttons as a literary experiment with suggestion.