Literary and media studies
Maritime Culture and literary experience
Starting from the geopolitical antagonism of land and sea this project attempts to work out in an exemplary way, how literature responded to constellations of occidental maritime culture which have become decisive features of European and transatlantic modernism. The investigation begins with the oceanic dawn in the 15th and 16th centuries; from here it follows the complex processes of oceanic transgression and territorial integration. Of substantial significance in this context are practises of orientation – navigation and prudence – which have to be understood as responses to the new maritime dynamic, as attempts to use and cope with the chances and the risks of a new experience of contingency. The overarching proposition is that the early art of oceanic navigation must be understood as the historical origin of global technologies of orientation networks. While literature at first accompanied these technologies of orientation by offering its own models of personal orientation, from Romanticism onwards it confronts those technologies of global positioning with experiences and models of a nomadic existence. – So far single studies have appeared.
Ethics of literature
The question of ethics is alien to modern philology or literary studies, as they emerged from the Cartesian will to objectify and analyse literary texts and thereby exclude any challenge of changing one’s behaviour through reading. However, literary culture has developed models which aim at combining the experience of text with a practical shaping of the self. Such models are reconstructed in this project which has been done for texts from 18th to early 20th centuries; further studies on 20th century texts are to follow. A particular focus will be on poetry and ethics.
Visual and literary culture of the early 1960s
The early 1960s witness an explosion in visuality in the metropolis. This project first of all dismantles the epistemological conditions for this sudden unleashing of visuality in order to create the basis for further investigations into particular branches of the visual and literary culture of the 1960s. This has been done for Antonioni and concrete poetry.
Urban space and aesthetic experience
Triggered by studies on London in the 1960s and on today’s ‚world cities’ this project has only just begun. The main idea is that literary studies of the city do not take into consideration architectural theories or histories enough and therefore run the risk of relating to metaphorical concepts (such as the city as text). I would like to look more closely at urban space and its history in order to study more adequately literary and medial models and reflections of our immediate environment.