Freie Universität Berlin

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Tove Holmes, McGill University, German Studies

Defining Environments: Subject and Surroundings in German Narrative Landscapes

Description: Landscape began as an aesthetic concept, arising in modernity concurrently with modern conceptions of the individual (Simmel). This project sets out to demonstrate that in literary landscapes the formative moment that the act of viewing represents for the “cut” of nature into a composition can be turned around to bring about the formation of the viewing subject. Since this construction of subjectivity moreover occurs within and in relation to a specific context or environment, in addition to identity formation as a result of visual aesthetics, the project considers broader questions of what it terms “aesthetics of emplacement.” The methodology is based in careful literary reading techniques but is broadly interdisciplinary (literature, philosophy, history of knowledge, media).