Panel sponsored by the Lessing Society for the 2019 German Studies
Association conference in Portland, OR (October 3-6, 2019).

*Lessing’s Forms, Old and New*

In response to recent discussions in literary studies about form (i.e.
Caroline Levine’s *Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network*) that
reconsider the ways in which analyses of form can provide unique insights
into literary and social worlds, this panel will reexamine forms –
aesthetic, social and political – in Lessing’s work. Heralded as a literary
and philosophical figure of the “New” (the Enlightenment and all of its
aesthetic, social and political ambitions), Lessing can nevertheless still
be seen as a writer who borrows or retools older forms in order to shape
his aesthetic and political project. Indeed, aesthetic, social and
political forms travel in and through Lessing’s works. Some of Lessing’s
experiments with form hearken back to older aesthetic, social and political
systems, and some become usable forms for future iterations of literature
and sociality.

How are Lessing’s particular contributions to the history of German
literature and thought built on a sometimes progressive and sometimes
backward looking or even nostalgic use of established aesthetic, social and
political forms that carry residues of their connotations with them across
temporal and geographic divides?

Relevant aesthetic forms could include allegory, the *tableau*, genres such
as the bourgeois tragedy and comedy, blank verse and polemicism, to name a
few. Social forms might include notions of the individual or subject,
community, or the family. Political forms include, among others, economic
systems (early capitalism, “Handelsgesellschaft,” for example) or the

Please send a short (ca. 300-word) description of your proposed paper as
well as a short CV or bio to Heidi Schlipphacke ([log in to unmask]) by *February
7, 2019. *

Heidi Schlipphacke

Associate Professor of Germanic Studies and Classics

Director, Graduate Studies

University of Illinois at Chicago

601 S. Morgan St., MC 315, UH 1722

Chicago, IL 60607

(312) 996-0965


The German Studies Call for Papers List
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