Academic journal article German Quarterly

Das Paradoxe: Literatur zwischen Logik und Rhetorik

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Das Paradoxe: Literatur zwischen Logik und Rhetorik

Article excerpt

Romahn, Carolina, and Gerold Sch Honicke, eds. Das Paradoxes Literatur zwischen Logik and Rhetorik. Wurzburg. Konigshausen and Neumann, 1999. 336 pp. DM 68.00 paperback.

Das Paradoxe, a Festschrift in honor of Ralph-Rainer Wuthenow, professor of German at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt am Main, is a striking collection of twenty-five essays thematizing, as the title, suggests, the problem of the paradox in literature, philosophy, and art. As Romahn writes in the foreword, this volume offers neither a historical nor systematic analysis of the role and definition of the phenomenon of paradoxes in art and literature, rather the essays approach "welche Rolle einerseits das Paradoxe fair die Literatur, flir die Kunst der Moderne uberhaupt, welche Rolle anderseits die Literatur fUr das Denken des Paradoxen in der Moderne spielt" (11).

In "Antinomien," the first of three sections of the volume, Alfred Schmidt, in his essay "Paradoxie als Wahrheit im Denken Schopenhauer" analyses Schopenhauer's concept of paradox and differentiates between Schopenhauer's use of "Paradox" and "Parodoxie" to suggest the "Paradoxien der Sache selbst [...] gehoren zum emphatischen Wahrheitsanspruch seiner Philosophie (20). In his well argued essay, "'Nichts ist dem Geist erreichbarer, als das Unendliche.' Novalis: Paradoxie als Erkenntnis," Dietrich Mathy investigates Novalis's concept of paradox within the framework of his theories on romantic prose. In subsections, such as "Tod & Sterben" and "Magie & Analogie-Magischer Idealismus," Mathy examines Novalis's theoretical writings and philosophical influences and suggests that the paradox is a central component in Novalis's concept of the tranzendentale Selbst. Gerd Held argues that since the Baroque period, paradoxes have provided artists and authors moments of creativity. In his essay "Menstruum universalis oder das fluchtige Salz des Komischen. Zur Auflosung der Form bei Jean Paul," he suggests that Jean Paul's works offer an endless supply of paradoxical situations. He investigates how paradoxes, especially the notions of contrast and contradiction, form the basis of Jean Paul's understanding of humor. In one of the best essays of the volume, "Der vergessene Prometheus: Pradoxien der Prasenz bei Goethe," Petra Leutner investigates the paradoxes of presence/absence and appearance/reality in Goethe's poem "Prometheus" and relates these themes to Goethe's other works. She compares Prometheus to Pandora, the mythological figure and symbol of gender differences and the paradox of Schein/Sein, from Goethe's drama Pandorens Wiederkunft to question the traditional interpretation of Prometheus as a creator, and suggests that Goethe's model of the creator contains "eine stark veranderte Version des Pandora-Mythos" (90). …

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