By Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
Reading, we find, is an experiencing of particular moods and atmospheres, or Stimmung. those moods are on a continuum such as a musical scale. They current themselves as nuances that problem our powers of discernment and outline, in addition to language's strength to trap them. maybe the simplest we will be able to do is to indicate of their path. Conveying own encounters with poetry, music, portray, and the radical, this booklet hence gestures towards the intangible and within the method, constitutes a daring safety of the subjective adventure of the arts.
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Extra info for Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung : On a Hidden Potential of Literature
Today, after manifold departures, reorganizations, and metamorphoses (which, as a rule, have not been motivated by any explicit program or project), we find ourselves facing marked—indeed, seemingly irreconcilable, mutually exclusive—differences between two basic assumptions concerning the ontology of literature. ) By “ontology of literature,” I mean fundamental stances about how literary texts—as material facts and worlds of meaning—relate to realities outside of works themselves. On the one hand stands Deconstruction.
If anything, researchers in this field have so thoroughly fused their trust in the validity of quantitative and empirical research with a certain carefree attitude toward epistemology that the modest philosophical results of this convergence make Deconstruction and its rejection of reference seem almost appealing, at least in philosophical terms. I believe that literary studies, as a site where intellectual forces combine, risks stagnation for as long as it remains stuck between these two positions, whose contrasts and tensions can cancel each other out.
This confirmation was paradoxical because the charged meaning that Riegl had assigned Stimmung demonstrated, on the one hand, how his definition had become a point of reference in the philosophy of history; on the other, it gave rise to influential voices that denied its applicability to the present day. Thus, Leo Spitzer—the Vienna-born master philologist of Romance languages—concluded “Classical and Christian Ideas of World Harmony” (published in two parts, 1944 and 1945, several years after the author had emigrated to the United States) with the assertion that, in view of the World War that was now coming to an end, “harmony” had forever lost its place as a potential frame for cosmology and human existence.