By Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
Reading, we find, is an experiencing of particular moods and atmospheres, or Stimmung. those moods are on a continuum resembling a musical scale. They current themselves as nuances that problem our powers of discernment and outline, in addition to language's power to trap them. probably the easiest we will be able to do is to indicate of their path. Conveying own encounters with poetry, music, portray, and the radical, this publication hence gestures towards the intangible and within the strategy, constitutes a daring protection of the subjective adventure of the arts.
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Additional info for Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung : On a Hidden Potential of Literature
Often, we are alerted to a potential mood in a text by the irritation and fascination provoked by a single word or small detail—the hint of a different tone or rhythm. Following a hunch means trusting an implicit promise for a while and making a step toward describing a phenomenon that remains unknown—one that has aroused our curiosity and, in the case of atmospheres and moods, often envelops and even enshrouds us. When a description of this kind occurs in reference to a literary work, it is probable that the effect—up to a certain point—coincides with that of the “primary” text.
Therein lies an encounter—an immediacy, and an objectivity of the past-made-present—which cannot be undermined by any skepticism. Above all in this sense, but naturally not concentrating exclusively on prosody, the chapters of this book review cases of presence, immediacy, and objectivity—and with particular attention to contexts always already associated with atmosphere and mood. For example, I connect the surprisingly “nervous” tone (at least from today’s perspective) in songs composed around 1200 by a man who went by the name of Walther von der Vogelweide with the climate of political instability and religious uncertainty that must have surrounded him, in which he conducted his verbal battles.
Such an approach seeks, as it were, to free ideational content from the bothersome complexities of form. Even in the best of cases, this mode of interpretation is unable to answer the question why writers evidently decided to use complicated and complex literary forms to advance philosophical claims. Here, I find confirmation for my belief that a more important function of literary texts lies in the potential that their concreteness and historical immediacy hold. By “concreteness,” I mean that every atmosphere and every mood—as similar as they may be to others—has the singular quality of a material phenomenon.
Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung : On a Hidden Potential of Literature by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht