Peter Burgard
ifk Visiting Fellow

Zeitraum des Fellowships:
01. Juni 1995 bis 31. August 1995

Goethe and the Textual Tradition: Readings in Another German Intellectual History


The project attempts to answer the question, if intellectual history is still possible, in the affirmative, but not through a defense of conventional intellectual history in its desire to constitute the 'great chain of being'. I will take seriously the challenges to such historicism, but will also demonstrate, on the example of the German tradition, that those challenges apply primarily to what can be differentiated from intellectual history in general as the history of ideas. I will argue that there is an alternative tradition to that of German thought issuing from Leibnitz, Wolff, and their philosophical descendants - a literary, textual tradition that represents a history of discourse rather than a history exclusively of ideas. This tradition has often been perceived by scholars, but has not been formulated as a tradition.


Peter Burgard, Literaturwissenschaftler, Germanist; Assistant Professor of German and Research Affiliate at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University. Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte sind Literaturtheorie, Deutsche Literatur 18. bis frühes 19. Jahrhundert, Barock - Deutsche Literatur und Europäische Kunst, Europäisches Drama des 20. Jhdt.


(Auswahl): Idioms of Uncertainty: Goethe and the Essay. University Park: Penn State Press, 1992; Nietzsche and the Feminine, Editor and Introduction: "Figures of Excess", Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994; "Adorno, Goethe, and the Politics of the Essay", in: Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 66 (1992), S. 160-191.