Germanic Languages | Seminar in German Literature
G825 | 7128-7129 | J. Turk

Topic: The Laokoon Project: Visuality, Narrativity, and Affect in the
Eighteenth Century

This course examines the relationship between narrative and visuality
in eighteenth century theory and literature. Its focus lies on the
reconstruction of the philosophical, literary and historic recasting
of the representation of affect that takes place in debates in which
the relationship between text and image is at stake. In the wake of
the rhetoric tradition of ekphrasis and hypotyposis, Winckelmann’s
Gedanken über die Nachahmung, Lessing’s Laokoon, and Diderot’s Salons
explore different sides of this question. In these writings,
literature is in dialogue with painting and sculpture, a dialogue that
remaps the relation between different forms of representation. This
debate is not only a core chapter of German and European intellectual
history, it is also one of the founding moments of art history. The
questions asked in this context are crucial for narratology, media
theory, and visual studies. In addition to theoretical texts, the
course will study plays, novels, and novellas by Goethe, Schiller,
Kleist and others. We will also examine paintings and sculptures as
well as contemporary theory that may include Deleuze, Marin, Nancy,
and Mitchell.

The course is taught in English and is open to students from other
fields. Readings from other European traditions – especially the
French tradition – might be added.


The list of readings is preliminary, open to suggestions and may still

Diderot, Salons
Goethe, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers
Goethe, Über Laokoon
Herder, Plastik or Erstes Kritisches Wäldchen
Lessing, Laokoon
Lessing, Emilia Galotti
Schiller, Kabale und Liebe
Schiller, Über naïve und sentimentalische Dichtung
Kleist, Die Verlobung in St. Domingo
Winckelmann, Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke