L'idée vient en parlant: Reflections on knowledge by German-speaking writers


L’idée vient en parlant:

Reflections on knowledge by German-speaking writers

15 March 2017, 2–5 pm

Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages,

Ground Floor Lecture Room 2, 47 Wellington Square, Oxford

“L’idée vient en parlant” (“The idea comes while you speak”), observes Kleist in his essay Über die allmähliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden (On the Gradual Production of Thoughts Whilst Speaking), which implies a particular way of understanding how our mind works. Kleist was not alone in articulating reflections the (im)possibility of knowledge. The idea that literature may reflect on knowledge, or might even be a form of knowledge [Erkenntnis] that is “better” or “deeper” than philosophical knowledge, or complementary to it, has a long history and concerned many German-speaking authors of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Schiller, Goethe, Hölderlin, Schlegel, Tieck, Hoffmann, Büchner, Rilke, Broch, Canetti, Celan or Bachmann. Some perceive a tension here that is productively paradoxical in that it does not reject the limits of knowledge.

L’idée vient en parlant: These words will serve as a basis for exploring – in English and German – how the debate about knowledge is configured in literary texts, to what extent it determines the poetic reflections of specific authors, and what might be the methodological and theoretical implications.


2.00 pm Welcome
2.05 pm Introduction, Ben Morgan (University of Oxford, Worcester College)
2.20 pm Innere Bilder in Theodor Fontanes ‘Cecile’, Stephanie Jordans (RWTH-Aachen)
2.45 pm Discussion – Moderator: Katrin Kohl (University of Oxford, Jesus College)
3.00 pm Kantian epistemology and non-conscious cognition in Karoline von Günderrode, Joanna Raisbeck (University of Oxford, Somerville College)
3.25 pm Discussion – Moderator: Charlie Louth (University of Oxford, Queen’s College)
3.40 pm Tea
4.00 pm Erste Überlegungen zur literarischen Erkenntnis bei der Selbstreflexion deutschsprachiger Schriftsteller des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, Juliana P. Perez (University of São Paulo / Stuttgart University)
4.25 pm Discussion – Moderator: Kevin Hilliard, University of Oxford, St. Peter’s College
4.40 pm Concluding Discussion: Ulrike Draesner
5.00 pm End
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