*International Conference on Romanticism*: St. Louis, MO, October 22 - 24,
2020; Abstracts (300 words) due 2/28/2020

Moments of Confluence in German Literature (Please excuse cross-postings):

In early February 1800, Alexander von Humboldt set out from the town of
Caracas, in the Capitanía General de Venezuela, on a scientific and
cartographic trip, on which the participants were intent on discovering a
suspected confluence between the Orinoco and Amazon river systems. Over the
next several months, he and his colleagues ventured hundreds of kilometers
deep into the South American jungle in search of this connection – despite
the fact that many notable natural philosophers of the time considered the
existence of any such juncture between two major rivers to be highly
improbable, if not impossible. However, the intrepid Prussian explorer
found the confluence (even though numerous local inhabitants were already
quite aware of it), and despite numerous hardships, difficulties, and other
setbacks, Humboldt was able to take a large number of sufficiently accurate
measurements to create the most accurate and detailed map of the watershed
that had yet been charted. Additionally, and most importantly, his
experiences began to shape a new, Romantic understanding of nature itself,
which emphasized connection, commingling, and confluence.

Seeking confluence and mapping the world -- Humboldt’s exploration of the
South American fluvial connections provides an appropriate metaphor for the
programmatic inclination of German Romantic authors, scientists, and
philosophers to seek confluence, to observe how such flowing together
complicates and enrichens experience, and to celebrate the uniqueness and
mystery of such combinations. From Friedrich Schlegel’s “116th
to Novalis’s “Hymnen an die Nacht,” or from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s uncanny
combinatorics of animals, automata, and humans to Wagner’s
*Gesamtkunstwerke*, each in its way a celebration of aesthetic confluence,
German Romantics pay close attention to the junctures among the artistic
and intellecutal processes with which they engaged, as well as the new
perspectives they provided.

In this panel we are seeking presentations of approximately 15 minutes that
address “Confluences in German Romanticism,” and we encourage as broad an
array of topics as possible. We celebrate the productive imagination of the
Romantics, and welcome productively imaginative abstracts of approximately
300 words that address such possible topics as:

1. Romantic rivers

2. Romanticism and the confluence of science and art

3. Geography and Spatiality in German literature, language, or culture
during the Romantic era

4. Political and Social Connections/Divisions and German/other rivers

5. The Rhine – political, social, aesthetic, cultural, or literary aspects

6. German rivers and travel literature

7. Romantic German hospitality

8. “Foreign” rivers / transatlantic connections

9. Displacement / refugees / migrants in German literature / culture of the
Romantic era

10. German nationalism and rivers

11. Rivers and the Holy Roman Empire (or other empires) in German thought,
literature, etc.

12. Translation and the fluvial

13. Slavery and German culture, literature, economics

14. Sexuality and gender fluidity in German culture/literature

15. Generic blendings in German literature and culture

16. Confluences of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in “German”
history, politics, culture, language, or literature

17. Representing the ecology of waterways in German literature, culture, or

Other suggestions are warmly welcomed, and we wish to interpret the ICR
conference theme as widely as possible, in the context of German studies.
We welcome any questions or suggestions via email. Please send abstracts of
approximately 300 words to Rob Mottram ([log in to unmask]) and Chris
Clason ([log in to unmask]) before February 28, 2020.

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: