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Title: Perpetuum mobile? : literature, philosophy, and the journey in German culture around 1800
Author: Haman, Brian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 4738
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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Scholarly interest in travel literature has increased substantially in recent years. However, there has been a lack of sustained, cohesive commentary on the journey motif in German Romantic culture, particularly its origins and manifestations in literature and philosophy. My doctoral research fills this gap through a philosophically- and historically-informed reading of German Romanticism. The thesis examines 1) the paradigmatic template of the literary journey established by Goethe in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, 2) metaphors of movement and mobility within the Idealist philosophy of Kant and Fichte and their role, 3) the manner in which these metaphors migrate into the theoretical and prose writings of Novalis, 4) Tieck’s notion of the sublime and its relevance for the Romantic journey, and 5) the late Romantic satirization of the journey motif within Eichendorff’s prose. Additionally, the thesis serves to show how philosophical discourse of the Enlightenment had reached something of an impasse in its use of the journey motif, with the subject unable to evolve and renew itself beyond the strictures of particular models of subjective cognition. The Romantics thought literary practice was to supersede philosophy and it was mobility in the form of the journey as both metaphor and process, which helped bring about this transition and created a flexible self-authoring and self- renewing model of the subject. The study also recounts a particular history of Romanticism which charts, via the history of the journey, the movement’s youthful idealism, the fear of the pitfalls of human subjectivity, and its eventual self-distanciation through parody.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program ; University of Warwick ; Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) ; British Association for Romantic Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CB History of civilization ; DD Germany ; PT Germanic literature