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Raphael Koenig

Raphael König | Harvard University

Raphael König | Harvard University

The reception of the “art of the insane” in France and Germany from Prinzhorn to Dubuffet (1922-1947)

Incoming PhD-Students, Harvard University

In the aftermath of the First World War, avant-garde movements challenged the fixed boundaries of the “normal” and the “pathological”, of “art” and “non-art”, as part of a broader program of social and institutional critique. The reception of the “art of the insane” (i.e. art produced by patients in psychiatric hospitals) by the historical avant-garde thus resonates with a range of contemporary debates around the creation and internalization of social norms, the definition of mental illness, and the status of “outsider art” within the art world at large.

Raphael Koenig’s research focuses on French, German, and Yiddish avant-garde literature and visual culture, more specifically on the reception of the “art of the insane” from the early 1920s to the late 1940s. Raphael is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Sorbonne in Paris. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies, and a literary translator (Paul Scheerbart, Lesabéndio, Vies Parallèles, 2016).