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Lesen und Lieben im Zeitalter der Aufklärung: Die emotionale Beispielhaftigkeit von literarischen Texten

Niklas Bender

Pages 47 - 86

Eighteenth-century thinkers presume that literature has the power to affect the reader: literary works offer a model for identification and imitation, inducing the reader to experience similar emotions and even to take similar actions. This model-function of literature is particularly evident in works that depict lovers in the act of reading: by representing reactions to a text, they make explicit their intended manner of reception. First, the article contrasts the two major love models of the Enlightenment, i. e. sensitive and libertine love. After a brief digression on Dante’s Francesca da Rimini, it then analyses ‘reading scenes’ of sensitive and libertine lovers in works of Rousseau, Goethe, Foscolo, La Morlière and Boyer; it argues that sensitive texts show emotions to imitate, while libertine texts not only try to create arousal but also presume analogous situations and actions. The conclusion points out the ‘ars erotica’ within the ‘ars legendi’ of the Enlightenment.


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