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Aesthetic Unity and the Politics of Sameness in Clemens Brentano's Theoretical Writings
Uppsala universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0052-3496
2015 (English)In: Afterlives of Romantic Intermediality: The Intersection of Visual, Aural, and Verbal Frontiers / [ed] Leena Eilittä, Catherine Riccio-Berry, Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015, 95-112 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In 1811 and 1812 Clemens Brentano published two essays that seem to have almost nothing in common. Der Philister vor, in und nach der Geschichte is a political pamphlet, directed at contemporary bourgeois society, but it is also a disturbingly anti-Semitic text. “Erklärung der Sinnbilder auf dem Umschlage dieser Zeitschrift,” on the other hand, is an aesthetic text, dealing with such topics as symbolism, allegory, and mimesis. However, the Philister essay is as much a work on art as it is an ideological text, and “Erklärung der  Sinnbilder” addresses both political and aesthetic issues. The two texts have in common that they aim at unity: the unity of art and the unity of society. In other words, the idea of aesthetic unity is a political project as well, aiming at forming a unified society. The political and aesthetic unity is formed by means imitation, which enables Brentano to construct an ideal of sameness, that is, a paradoxical unity of similarity, identity, and difference. However, sameness means also the exclusion of the alien, of the Jewish in particular. Political and aesthetic sameness forms relations of identity between objects that are similar, thus excluding the dissimilar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015. 95-112 p.
Keyword [en]
Clemens Brentano, Aesthetics, Unity, Symbol, Allegory, Anti-Semitism
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29057ISBN: 978-1-4985-2799-6OAI: diva2:892094
Available from: 2016-01-08 Created: 2016-01-08 Last updated: 2016-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Pirholt, Mattias
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