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Literaturwissenschaft und der ‚eudaimonic turn‘ Beitrag

Unzeitgemäße Betrachtungen zum Lebenswissen der Literatur und zu Axel Hackes ‚Wozu wir da sind‘ als literarisches Gedankenexperiment für ein gelungenes Leben

Vera Nünning, Ansgar Nünning

Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, Volume 70 (2020), Issue 1, Page 53 - 83

A series of theoretical reorientations has not only reshaped the study of culture and the humanities, these ‘cultural turns’ (Doris Bachmann-Medick) have also had an impact on the trajectory of literary studies. Taking its cue from one of the most recent turns that have been proposed, viz. the so-called ‘eudaimonic turn’ (James O. Pawelski and D.J. Moores), this essay argues that literary studies have good reasons to involve themselves more strongly than hitherto in the interdisciplinary discussion on what constitutes a good life, and that literature itself creates important life-knowledge and cultural models of what a good life could look like. Literary works delineate aesthetically created thought experiments that test different models of viable or good forms of life (section 2). The knowledge of literature, however, does not entail explicit or normative recommendations on how to lead one’s life, but is based more on the aesthetic forms and literary techniques used for representing forms of life. These hypotheses are explored in section 3 by means of an exemplary analysis of Axel Hacke’s latest book ‚Wozu wir da sind. Walter Wemuts Handreichungen für ein gelungenes Leben‘ (2019). The essay attempts to show that a reorientation towards the poetics and thematic of a good life or eudaimonia opens up not only new research questions and trajectories for literary studies but also affords an opportunity to increase the social and practical relevance of a form of literary studies that gravitate towards life sciences (section 4). A short epilogue in a more personal and subjective vein concludes this essay with reflections on the question of what professors and universities are there for.


Wenn xenophobe Patrioten eine Reise tun…: Tobias Smolletts ‚Travels through France and Italy‘ als Paradigma für die Präfiguration von Dichterreisen und für britische Wahrnehmungsstereotypen im 18. Jahrhundert Beitrag

Ansgar Nünning

Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, Volume 66 (2016), Issue 2, Page 163 - 186

More than other genres, travel writing has been thought of as a kind of literature providing an ‘unbiased view’ (Manfred Pfister) of the world it describes. Contrary to this ordinary belief in authentic representation, the present essay sets out to demonstrate that travel writing is in fact highly prefigured and premediated by culturally available narratives, media and (stereotyped) images of ‘self’ and ‘other’. Such images necessarily impact any travel experience – and its remediation in writing – from the outset. The essay attempts to corroborate this hypothesis by analysing instances of ‘patriotic xenophobia’ in eighteenth-century travel literature, focusing in particular on Tobias Smollett’s ‚Travels through France and Italy‘ (1766) and, to a lesser extent, Samuel Sharp’s ‚Letters from Italy‘ (1767). By means of close readings, it explores various ideological functions fulfilled by these texts, highlighting their role as central factors in the construction of national identities.


(Trans-)National Criteria, Norms and Standards in Literary Studies Beitrag

A Comparative Analysis of Criteria-Based ‘ex ante’ Evaluation Forms of Funding Proposals in the Humanities

Nora Berning, Ansgar Nünning, Christine Schwanecke

Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, Volume 65 (2015), Issue 1, Page 115 - 135

In view of the demand for greater transparency and accountability regarding the expenditure of taxpayers’ money, techniques and practices such as benchmarking and the establishment of seemingly objective criteria used in evaluation have been imported from the United States into European higher education where they are used in all sorts of contexts: for the evaluation of manuscripts, theses, applications, and funding proposals. Focusing on an analysis of criteria, the present study examines evaluation forms distributed among reviewers to assess funding proposals in the humanities. By using a comparative framework, the authors seek to make a meta-theoretical and empirical contribution to the lively debate about quality assessment and assurance in the humanities in general and literary studies more particularly. Drawing on data from ten funding organizations in eight European countries, this is the first empirical study of its kind to address the construction and dissemination of (trans-)national criteria, norms and standards and, in doing so, to make a modest attempt to get to grips with the complex meta-category called ‘quality’.



Renaissance und Neue Forschungsrichtungen der Narratologie Beitrag

Ansätze, Grenzüberschreitungen und Impulse für die Literaturwissenschaften

Ansgar Nünning

Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, Volume 63 (2013), Issue 1, Page 1 - 29

During the last two decades the structuralist theory and study of narrative that was christened ‘narratology’ has become so dynamic and diversified that there has been a veritable renaissance in narrative theory and narrative analysis, generating a variety of ‘post-classical’ approaches, new research questions and innovative methodologies. Outlining the renaissance of narratology since the end of the 1990s, this introduction provides an overview over both the research history of narratology and some of the most important recent developments in postclassical narratology, or rather the proliferation of new narratologies. It also delineates the major trends and seminal publications in narratology, the ongoing internationalization and institutionalization of narrative theory, and those approaches and research fields that the other articles in this special thematic issue deal with.

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Narrative der Krise