One of the few defining characteristics of the lyric genre that we can all agree upon is that its use of language differs from every other artistic or non-artistic linguistic utterance. This distinction, however, is fairly new. It was developed during the eighteenth century, which saw a shift from the rhetorical organization of all speech to what Rüdiger Campe called a “new expressivity” of language that gave rise to a new culture of hermeneutics, putting literature in general and poetry in particular on a new communicative foundation. As a result, meaning was created no longer by following and modifying a given set of rules, but by individually conceiving, applying and deviating from rules. The language of poetry, thus, was separated from both the language of other literary genres as well as everyday speech. This panel invites contributions to the various theoretical and practical solutions that the eighteenth century proposed to imagine, position and stabilize lyric poetry’s unique mode of speaking and using language. We aim for a historicization of modern notions of poetic language during the long eighteenth century, understood to last from the demise of Mannerism in the wake of Hoffmannswaldau to early nineteenth-century’s celebration of the metaphysical and transcendental value of poetry.
Questions that might be addressed include:
- What does poetic language refer to, and how is the status of lyric referentiality negotiated vis-à-vis other sign-systems?
- What receptive human faculty is in charge of processing poetic language, and how?
- What other sign-systems (e.g., the language of Pietism, phantasmas of orality, rhetoric) does lyric language appropriate?
- What social, pragmatic role does poetic language play, in theory and in practice?
- How do contemporaneous (or contemporary) theories of poetry grasp (and fail to grasp) the effects of lyric language?
- How is lyric language gendered?
- How does poetic self-reflexivity change as its language becomes increasingly hermetic?
We especially welcome analyses that focus on the pragmatic aspects of poetry, and contributions that examine one poem in detail.
We seek 15- to 20-minute papers, in English or German. Please send an abstract (300-500 words) that includes institutional affiliation by Friday, January 31st, 2014, to both Martin Baeumel (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jan Oliver Jost-Fritz (email@example.com).
Presenters must be members of the German Studies Association. Information on membership is available on the GSA website in the Member Services Section:
Department of Germanic Studies
University of Texas at Austin
2505 University Avenue, Mailcode C3300
Austin, TX 78712-1802
Phone: 512-471-1482 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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