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 power to trap them. possibly the simplest we will do is to indicate of their course. Conveying own encounters with poetry, tune, portray, and the radical, this ebook therefore gestures towards the intangible and within the approach, constitutes a daring protection of the subjective adventure of the arts.
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Extra resources for Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung : On a Hidden Potential of Literature
5 In a brilliant contribution to the lexicon Ästhetische Grundbegriffe, David Wellbery recently—and for the first time—reconstructed the history of the concept of Stimmung, exploring its many historical and semantic layers. I would like to revisit key points of his article, above all because they illustrate how openness to atmospheres and moods can enhance our experience of literature, but also because his investigative methods encourage us to reflect on the specific form of historicity that distinguishes Stimmung.
If this is so, then a semantic tradition reaching back to antiquity has died out. All the same, the present discussion of the concept has shown that, in the change of aesthetic notions and paradigms that has occurred, the idea of Stimmung, time and again, has displayed the capacity to reveal new aspects of meaning. Perhaps the adaptability of the concept will make it possible to overcome its current irrelevance and, in future semantic configurations, reveal an unexpected potential for meaning. Since then, Wellbery has revised this assessment—or, to be more precise: he has pointed out the surprisingly rapid fulfillment of his prediction.
I see the third moment at which Stimmung achieved condensed and intensified form at the end of the nineteenth century, when historical painting and historicizing architecture became popular. This is also when Riegl declared that atmosphere and mood would thrive in the twentieth century as the uncritical appetite for nostalgia—a prediction that was later confirmed in paradoxical fashion. The late nineteenth century was a time whose complexity seemed to escape, more and more, traditional forms of literature and art; consequently, the desire for individual points of access to harmony became more pronounced.
Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung : On a Hidden Potential of Literature by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht