World Philologies Seminar
Do 16 Jan 2014 | 15:00–17:00

Insistent Philological Reading: Concepts and History since Friedrich Schlegel

Christoph König (Universität Osnabrück); Chair: Markus Messling (Universität Potsdam)

Freie Universität Berlin, Raum JK24/122d, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

You will find Christoph König's article "The Limits of Cyclization. Friedrich Schlegel’s Notes ‘On Philology’ as a Form of the Novel 'Lucinde'" in the inaugural volume of Philological Encounters.

Philology is regarded as a praxis, the theory of which is hermeneutics with its modern origins in Friedrich Schlegel’s and Friedrich Schleiermacher’s thought. My lecture will focus on Schlegel’s attempts to improve the faculties of criticism, including the understanding and evaluation of difficult literary texts. Schlegel sought to find a solution in replacing philology with art. However, in the course of the history of the German university and its research imperative  (Forschungsimperativ), his concepts were forgotten until the middle of the 20th century. The seminar will focus on how Schlegel’s reflections have been taken up again by philosophical (Hans-Georg Gadamer), literary (Peter Szondi), and critical hermeneutics (Jean Bollack). We will discuss what these approaches have in common, in order to explore the relation between the two perspectives of (a) improving the faculties or reading and (b) of objectifying the results of interpretation. 


    Seminar Texts:

    Christoph König is Professor of Modern German Literature and the History of Scholarship at the Universität Osnabrück. He studied German Philology, Philosophy and American Studies at the Universität Innsbruck and obtained his PhD in 1983; he defended his Habilitation in 1997 at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. For many years he directed the Center of the History of German Studies at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach. In the academic year of 2008/2009, he was fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and in 2011/12 fellow at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities „Fate, Freedom and Prognostication“ at the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. He is the author of „Hofmannsthal. Ein moderner Dichter unter den Philologen“ (Göttingen: Wallstein 2001), „Engführungen. Peter Szondi und die Literatur“ (Marbach: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft 2004), „Häme als literarisches Verfahren. Günter Grass, Walter Jens und die Mühen des Erinnerns“ (Göttingen: Wallstein 2008); and he is the editor of the „Internationales Germanistenlexikon 1800-1950“ (Berlin, New York: de Gruyter 2003) and of „La lecture insistante. Autour du Jean Bollack“ (with Heinz Wismann, Paris: Albin Michel 2011); he founded and co-edits the journal „Geschichte der Germanistik. Historische Zeitschrift für die Philologien“ (since 1991). Forthcoming is the book „Skeptische Lektüren. Zu Rilkes Sonett ‚O komm und geh’“ (Göttingen: Wallstein 2014): this book integrates insistent readings of Rilke’s sonnets, reflections on the conditions of the possibility of philological understanding,  and an analysis of the history of interpretations of Rilke’s sonnets.

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