Romantic Poetics of Science (Romantische Wissenspoetik)
This course discusses the interaction between literature and science in the decades before and after 1800––when the individual sciences were differentiated and separated from the humanities. The idea of Romantic universal science, however, does not dissect the world by looking at it in separate perspectives but looks for secret relations and similarities in such disparate phenomena as human physiology, the shape of an ice crystal, or animal magnetism. Romantic universal science was the last big attempt at a holistic theory of science that also included literature and art. By examining literary and non-literary texts of European, especially German Romanticism, that take as their subject anthropology, mesmerism, medicine, geology etc., this course sheds light on a significant period in the history of science and considers the question of how connections between science, the humanities, and literature also shape our understanding of academic disciplines. In addition, this course explores possibilities to combine science, humanities, and art in the twenty-first century. A reader with texts in German and English by Novalis, August Schlegel, Karl Phillip Moritz, Johann Ritter, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and others will be provided.