Prof. Dr. Nicola Gess

German Literature, Basel
Aufenthalt: 01.02.–31.07.2017

nicola.gess(at)unibas.ch

Vita

Nicola Gess is a Professor of German Literature at the University of Basel. Before coming to Basel in 2010, she worked in the Comarative Literature Departement at the Freie Universität Berlin and in the German Departement at the University of Regensburg. She did her graduate work in German Literature and Musicology at Princeton University and received her PhD in German Literature and Cultural Studies from Princeton University and the Humboldt Universität Berlin. She has worked on a wide variety of issues in German studies, but her main foci are poetics and aesthetics, the intersections of literature and the other arts, theatre and opera studies, literature and science, literary primitivism. She is the author of "Gewalt der Musik. Literatur und Musikkritik um 1800" (2011, 2nd edition), and "Primitives Denken. Wilde, Kinder und Wahnsinnige in der literarischen Moderne (Müller, Musil, Benn, Benjamin) (2013). She is currently involved in two research projects funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation: "Poetics and Aesthetics of Amazement" and "The Visuality of Baroque Opera", and she is a founding member of the DFG-Research-Network "Auditory Knowledge in Transition. An Epistemic History of Listening in Modernity".

 

Forschungsschwerpunkte

German literature from the 18th to 20th. century, poetics and aesthetics, the intersections of literature and the other arts (especially music), theatre and opera studies, literature and science, literary primitivism, history of listening

 

Projektskizze

Portrait and Poetics

 

My project discusses the role of the portrait in German and English literature between 1760 and 1830, i.e. in the heyday of the cultural use of portraiture. In these texts, the portrait figures not only as a requisite, but as a main mover of the plot. The most prevalent narrative goes as follows: a young man finds a miniature painting, falls in love with and goes on a quest for the depicted woman, is in the best case united with her or in the worst case goes mad in a layrinth of revenants and doppelganger. Just as common are genealogical varriations of this narrative, in which the portrait draws the observer / pursuer into the abysses of his unknown family history. The main thesis of my project is, that the portrait in these texts can be understood as a figure of poetological reflexion. By way of the portrait and its narrative the texts discuss important aesthetical and poetical concerns of their time: 1. the detachment from established models of mimesis and the problematization of the concept of „original image“; 2. the aesthetic paradigms of the gothic and of a (new) marvelous; 3. models of literary animacy / animation and the supremacy of literature over painting.

 

Publikationen (Auswahl)

Recent Books:

  • Nicola Gess: Gewalt der Musik. Literatur und Musikkritik um 1800, Freiburg: Rombach, 2011 (second edition).
  • Nicola Gess: Primitives Denken. Wilde, Kinder und Wahnsinnige in der literarischen Moderne (Müller, Musil, Benn, Benjamin). Fink: München 2013.
  • Nicola Gess, Tina Hartmann, Dominika Hens (Eds.): Barocktheater als Spektakel. Maschine, Blick und Bewegung auf der Opernbühne des Ancien Regime. München: Fink (series: eikones), 2015.
  • Nicola Gess, Sandra Janßen (Eds.): Wissens-Ordnungen. Zu einer historischen Epistemologie der Literatur. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014.
  • Nicola Gess (Ed.): Literarischer Primitivismus. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012

 

Recent Articles:

  • Nicola Gess: Poetiken des Staunens im frühen 20. Jahrhundert. Brecht, Sklovskij, Benjamin, ihre Theorien der Verfremdung und ein Ausgangspunkt bei Descartes, in: Susanne Knaller/Rita Rieger (Ed.): Ästhetische Emotion. Formen und Figurationen zur Zeit des Umbruchs der Medien und Gattungen (1900-1930). Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter (= GRM-Beiheft) 2016, 25-57.
  • Musikalische Figurationen des Politischen in Ernst Blochs 'Geist der Utopie'. In: Oliver Kohns, Martin Doll (Ed.): Körper der Nation. Ästhetische Figurationen des Politischen. München: Fink, 2015, 119-150
  • Nicola Gess: Ideologies of Sound. Longing for presence from the 18th century until today, in: Journal for Sonic Studies 10, 2015
  • Nicola Gess: Don Sylvio und der Kleine Baedeker. Zur Wiederkehr einer Poetik des Wunderbaren in Felicitas Hoppes "Paradiese, Übersee", in: Text + Kritik. Zeitschrift für Literatur: Felicitas Hoppe, München, 2015, 25-34
  • Nicola Gess: Zur Geste bei Mahler. Unterbrechungen mit Benjamin. In: Florian Henri Besthorn, Arne Stollberg, Jana Weißenfeld (Ed.): Dirigentenbilder. Musikalische Gesten - verkörperte Musik, Basel: Schwabe, 2015, 255-289.
  • Nicola Gess: Vortheoretische Affekte. Staunen als ästhetische Emotion zwischen Genuss und Erkenntnis. In: Oliver Jahraus, Mario Grizelji (Ed.): Vor der Theorie. Immersion, Materialität, Intensität. Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, 2014, 325-336.
  • Nicola Gess: Sie sind, was wir waren. Literarische Reflexionen einer biologischen Träumerei von Schiller bis Benn, in: Jahrbuch der deutschen Schillergesellschaft 2012, 107-125.