Beyond theory : eighteenth-century German literature and the poetics of irony /
Benjamin Bennett.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1993.
xiii, 354 p. ; 24 cm.
0801428416 (alk. paper)
More Details
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1993.
0801428416 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [xi-xiii]) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-05:
Carefully crafted and brilliantly and convincingly argued, this study is an erudite, provocative, and stimulating rereading and reexamination of 18th-century German texts with the goal of contemporizing the 18th century. Working with three main ideas--radical irony, the enactment of origins, and the reading function--the author seeks out the deeper meaning and applicability of the poetics of the age. Along with the chapter-length readings of Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, H"olderlin's "An die Parzen," and Lessing's Laokoon there are in-depth reevaluations of Herder, Kleist, Schiller, Nietsche, and Kant, to name only the most prominent. Their ideas, in turn, are scrutinized and applied under the lens of 20th-century theory and philosophy, in particular that of Foucault. Moreover, in his treatment of poetic irony Bennett adds a dimension by associating the locus of this irony in two historical entities, namely the theater and the Jews. The breadth, depth, and wealth of innovative ideas make this a challenging study that will not only lead to agreement, but will also undoubtedly provide discussion--and even disagreement--while stimulating further debate. At all times though the arguments are logically reasoned and admirably presented in this virtuoso tour de force through 18th-century German poetics. J. K. Fugate; Kalamazoo College
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Choice, May 1994
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Main Description
A Choice ?Outstanding Academic Book for 1995? In a book of rare breadth of vision, Benjamin Bennett offers a new interpretation of the eighteenth century. He provides nuanced re-evaluations of Goethe, Herder, H'lderlin, Kleist, Lessing, Schiller, and Kant, as well as many other poets and philosophers. He seeks to trace the process by which modernity emerged in eighteenth-century German thought.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
Introduction The New and the Original Eighteenth Centuryp. 1
The New Holy Scripture of Humanity: The Reader of the Novel and the Mission of the Genre in Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahrep. 14
Hölderlin's """"An Die Parzen"""": Poetry as a Game in Societyp. 64
Lessing's Laokoon: The Poetics of Experiencep. 116
Ironic Conversation and the Communal Soul: Goethe on and in Languagep. 162
Instability and Irony: The Real Eighteenth Centuryp. 217
The Genres of Mind and Contract: The Theater, the Novel, and the Jewsp. 269
Conclusion: The Use and Abuse of the Eighteenth Centuryp. 327
Indexp. 349
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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