Seminar at the 42nd GSA Conference
27 Sep 2018 – 30 Sep 2018

Literary Morphology. Theories of Dynamic Form before and after Goethe (organized i.a. by Eva Axer und Siarhei Biareishyk)

Venue: Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, 600 Commonwealth Pl, Pittsburgh 15222 (USA)
Organized by Eva Axer, Siarhei Biareishyk

Seminar at the 42nd German Studies Association Annual Conference in Pittsburgh (USA)
In cooperation with Ross Shields (Columbia University)

Morphology reimagines form as a dynamic category – this is true not only of the internal structure of individual organisms, but also of the genera composed of those individuals. This seminar will explore the potential of morphology to conceive of literary works and literary genres in dynamic terms. To this end, we will compare Goethe’s science of morphology with concepts of dynamic form advanced before and after Goethe: from early-modern philosophy (e.g., Spinoza, Baumgarten) to 20th-century theories of language and literature (e.g., Wittgenstein, Formalism, morphologische Literaturwissenschaften). By juxtaposing these theories and philosophies, we will ask (among other things): How can the study of literature contribute to a general concept of dynamic form? To what extent can morphology account for the historical and political contexts of literary production? What are the possibilities and limits of morphological approaches in literary analysis?

Eva Axer is a Germanist and head of the project Formen und Funktionen von Weltverhältnissen.

Siarhei Biareishyk is a literary scholar and research associate for the project Formen und Funktionen von Weltverhältnissen.