In: KulturPoetik 2001, Heft 2


Ricarda Schmidt


Narration - Malerei - Musik. Mediale Interferenz am Beispiel E.T.A. Hoffmanns




This essay argues for the benefits of a concrete and narrow approach to cultural studies, which aims to overcome the sidelining of literature by many cultural studies practitioners. It examines references in two literary texts by E.T.A. Hoffmann to other high cultural media (painting and music). Intermediality is shown to be of central importance in constituting meaning and thus in identifying the stories' place in literary history. This interest in a historical understanding is further pursued through an examination of how Hoffmann's recourse to art and music was embedded in cultural discourses of his time. The triangulation of the relationship between the work of art/music and Hoffmann's text by the cultural context allows an understanding of the way in which the literary text is not simply reacting to influences, but is itself contributing to the shaping of a particular cultural constellation. In drawing attention to the complexities and contradictions of the literary text, the essay argues against a retrospective homogenisation and universalisation of cultural anthropology and the literary tradition.