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You are here: FRIAS Events Conferences & Workshops Conference: LETTER DISCOURSES …


When Mar 02, 2017 12:00 AM to
Mar 04, 2017 12:00 AM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, seminar room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
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There is a tendency in the media history to perceive the privileged period of letter communication of the 18th and 19th century. Accordingly, the German study of letters has largely concentrated on this age, which was the subject of pioneering studies, for example from Karl-Heinz Bohrer (Der romantische Brief, 1987) or Tanja Reinlein (Der Brief als Medium der Empfindsamkeit, 2003). These letter cultures or discourses can therefore be considered as well-researched. In this context it may be surprising that the twentieth century is largely ignored in the field concerned with the research of letters. Even in the case of authors whose letters are an integral part of their ‘ɶuvre’, Franz Kafka for example -  the most prominent writer - letters remain peripheral to literary scholarship; or, as Gert Mattenklott notes with regard to Walter Benjamin's letters: They are merely regarded as “an arsenal of evidence.” Systematic studies on the characteristics of the discourse in the 20th century remain a ‘desideratum’ of research. This may be due to the abundance of new media and writing styles characteristic of this epoch, but it is highly problematic since the first half of the twentieth century produced numerous productive and prominent writers. Thus, this one-sided perception paints a distorted picture of media and forms of communication in the 20th century. Moreover, during the period between the world wars the theoretical discourse, the range of innovative ideas and new aesthetic, poetic and social designs, were of great importance, and they often were expressed in letters. The letter, with its proximity to the essay, is of great importance for the training of new formulations and writing forms. Finally, the medium of the letter also allows us, to take a closer look at the network character of knowledge-building.

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