MLA CFP (Forum: Late 18th- and early 19th-century German literature)

Toronto, Canada (January 7-10, 2021)


German literature and aesthetics of the late 18th- and early 19th-century
are frequently concerned with movement and its aesthetic and ethical
repercussions. Movement and stillness stand at the center of Lessing’s
argument about the superior flexibility of poetry over the plastic arts;
his interpretation of the Laocoon statue is predicated upon the “pregnant
moment” in which movement is frozen. Movement appears frequently in German
literature of the period both as “Bewegung” and “Rührung,” and both terms
align with notions of authenticity, transparency and truth that emerge with
the rise of the bourgeois drama and novel after 1750. Characters are
frequently “bewegt” or “gerührt,” and both terms indicate an authentic
emotional response. Yet movement becomes a more questionable concept in the
latter part of the century; Lessing’s *Wirkungsästhetik* is taken to its
extreme in the form of the popular “Rührstück,” a form that is received
critically by Goethe and Schiller. Indeed, Schiller indicates his
discomfort with “Bewegung” in the *Briefwechsel* with Goethe about *Wilhelm
Meisters Lehrjahre*: “Mir deucht, daß Sie hier die freie Grazie der
Bewegung etwas weiter getrieben haben, als sich mit dem poetischen Ernste

This panel seeks to explore movement’s varied moments of signification in
the period’s aesthetic thought and production.

Some possible topics for papers include but are not limited to:

-       the trope of dance in literature and aesthetic thought

-       the *tableau vivant* in literature

-       movement as psychological truth

-       movement and the dialectic

-       movement and Weimar Classicism

-       *Wirkungsästhetik*

-       the “Rührstück”

-       movement and vitalism/signs of life

-       movement of things and people within and around artistic works

-       medial considerations, i.e. media that catalyze, capture, promote
and stall movement

-       movement and the sensorium

-       “Bewegung” and/or “Rührung” in the context of mobility studies

*Please send 300-word proposals with a short bio by March 17 to Heidi
Schlipphacke (**[log in to unmask]* <[log in to unmask]>*). *

Heidi Schlipphacke

Associate Professor of Germanic Studies

Director, Graduate Studies

University of Illinois at Chicago

601 S. Morgan St., MC 315, UH 1516

Chicago, IL 60607

(312) 996-0965


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