In the early 18th century, autobiographies and collected biographies introduced a new focus on accounts of personal experience and their importance in character formation, self-reflection and religious conviction. By mid-century, biographical writing had become one of the most popular literary forms in Europe and had significantly shaped the literary sphere—both as a narrative genre and in terms of how one formulated a non-rational notion of religious or aesthetic experience. In the second half of the century, many authors, including J. G. Hamann, J. Boswell, Rousseau, Goethe, E. Gibbon, K. Ph. Moritz and Tieck, wrote influential biographical texts – both historical and fictional – that continued to foreground the role of personal experience and life narrative in representing the entirety of human consciousness. In addition, other narrative and theoretical texts increasingly dealt with matters of perception and introspection either indirectly, in literary genres like the Bildungsroman, or directly, as in philosophical tracts by Condillac, T. Reid and Kant, and proto-psychological writings like Moritz's Magazin zur Erfahrungsseelenkunde. Contributions are sought that focus on any aspect of the interplay between biographical writing and the emergence of aesthetics and/or psychology as a discipline.
Please send an abstract of 300 words by September 15th to F. Corey Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
F. Corey Roberts
Assistant Professor of German
Department of Germanic Languages
1845 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
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