The book contains contributions from scholars from literary, visual and media studies, history, the social sciences, philosophy, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and fashion history. It is the first to focus on the role of fetishism in the arts and their relevance for the discourse on fetishism. Fetishism is a key phenomenon of modern societies. It not only influences religious and mental dispositions but also libidinous object relations in consumerism and mass culture. The contributions thus focus on fetishism as a cultural ‘index fossil’ and pursue its traces into the fields of force between artists, works, collections, art reception, and beyond. In doing so, the book traces back present cultures of fetishism in art, media, and economy to the origin of fetishism as an intercultural and colonialist concept in the 18th century.
This volume gathers the proceedings of the conference “Veil: Image, Text, Ritual”, co-organized with Gerhard Wolf at the University of Trier in 2001. Its contributions discuss the veil as an artistic motif, a literary metaphor and an episteme in aesthetics, ethnology, anthropology, philosophy, social and political sciences. Both conference and book brought together specialist from various fields to explore the changes and continuities of representations of the veil. The contributions are tied together by conceptual essays from the editors, which highlight overarching aspects such as textures of opacity, allegories of seeing and reading, thresholds between media, and specters and their garments‹. Conference and book realize a fruitful collaboration between academics from literary history, art history, philosophy, and beyond.
Kleist scholars tend to imagine the author as the paradigmatic exponent of a tragic mind. The shadows of his tragedies in life and literature seem too heavy and gloomy to leave room for comic tendencies. Although Kleist’s two comedies have always been acknowledged as true highlights in the history of the genre, his comic “strategies” – as well as their precedents from Lessing to Freud – have mostly been ignored. However, with such strategies in mind, the author’s situation appears as one in which the demands of an idealist worldview provoke a retreat to the limited and reduced formats of comedy. Kleist’s massive ›struggle with Schiller‹ – his predominant role model and antipode – is here reexamined in the light of a general struggle to avoid tragic inevitabilities.