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Dernière modification : 9 janvier 2017

Transferts culturels 2015-2016

Pays germaniques

 

8 avril 2016 - Salle Weil

Usages de Goethe (lettres, sciences humaines)

 

Angus Nicholls (Londres) : The Fate of « Goethe » in the Human Sciences

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Goethe became an increasingly popular research « object » for theorists of the human sciences such as Wilhelm Dilthey, Georg Simmel, György Lukács and Ernst Cassirer. While these authors often thought themselves to be analysing the life and works of an actual historical individual, one possible outcome of their efforts was to transform Goethe into « Goethe » ; namely, into a philosophical or ideological screen onto which one’s theoretical preoccupations could be projected. Only in recent decades has this distinction between Goethe and « Goethe », between the author and his ideological representation, become an object of explicit theoretical discussion, most obviously in works by Avital Ronell and Hans Blumenberg. This paper will explore the methodological problem of distinguishing between Goethe and « Goethe », and the broader significance of this problem for the human sciences.

 

Jérôme David (Genève) : Back to Goethe. The quest for the origins of (a truly) comparative literature

In the last decades there have been heated debates on the notion of « world literature ». Within this context, Goethe is constantly referred to as the very precursor of a truly comparative or global apprehension of literary history, albeit in different and sometimes even contradictory ways. Beyond these divergences, the endeavours to « go back to Goethe » share a common tendency to overlook the originality of recent and contemporary definitions of « world literature ». Far from merely reformulating Goethe’s concept, they result from largely ignored transnational historical configurations and trajectories : from Weimar to New York, from Petrograd to Istanbul, authors like Marx, Moretti, Gorki, Auerbach or Said have advocated cosmopolitan, engaged, educative, humanist or critical projects. Until now, the legacy of these concurring traditions is widely misunderstood, contributing to the endless controversies on the proper definition of « world literature » and the legitimate goals of « comparative literature ».

 

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