By Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
Reading, we find, is an experiencing of particular moods and atmospheres, or Stimmung. those moods are on a continuum similar to 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. probably the simplest we will be able to do is to indicate of their course. Conveying own encounters with poetry, track, portray, and the unconventional, this ebook hence gestures towards the intangible and within the procedure, constitutes a daring safety of the subjective event of the arts.
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Additional info for Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung : On a Hidden Potential of Literature
Walther’s continuous changes of alliance are less important than his abiding grief at the fact that, everywhere he went, the world failed to realize the order foreseen by God. In June 1198, after the unexpected death of Emperor Henry IV, the Guelph prince Otto, Barbarossa’s son and heir, ascended to the throne in Aachen; the archbishop of Cologne presided. However, the crown itself, as well as the insignia of empire, remained in possession of the House of Hohenstaufen. At the time, Walther (along with most princes) supported Philipp of Swabia, the brother of the deceased emperor and himself a pretender to the throne.
Above all, my aim is to point out Stimmungen, open up their dynamic potential, and promote—as much as possible—their becoming-present. To perform such deictic gestures, it is not always necessary to write on the scale of standard scholarly discussions, with their ponderous footnotes and apparatuses. Indeed, it is not even necessary to follow the development of a mood for the length of an entire work, as it unfolds in its full complexity. I am engaged in an experiment, where certainties and conventions of how to write are still undefined.
What Vossler made an object of experience—on the basis of a limited number of works in a single genre—was the atmosphere of a historical moment, not the mood of an individual situation. In addition to making present the mood of particular texts, one should attempt to capture the dominant moods of broader historical situations by examining works with different origins, forms, and contents. I have tried to do so in chapters on “Surrealism” in the early 1900s, on the absence of representations of happiness in the 1920s, and on the intellectual climate of “Deconstruction” at the end of the same century.
Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung : On a Hidden Potential of Literature by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht