In: KulturPoetik 2002, Heft 1


Monika Ritzer


Von Suppenwürfeln, Induktionsstrom und dem Äquivalent der Kräfte. Zum Kulturwert der Naturwissenschaft am Beispiel von Adalbert Stifters Novelle Abdias




Adalbert Stifter's controversial novella Abdias (1842) contains three scenes which refer in a rather hidden way to scientific discoveries of the day by Justus von Liebig, Michael Faraday and Robert Mayer. The essay brings these allusions to light, explains them in detail and shows that Stifter uses them as metonymic signs to hint at the new conception of reality as a systematic, internally purposeful whole, which was simultaneously being developed by scientists, authors and philosophers in the 40s and 50s of the nineteenth century. So a knowledge of the scientific context furthers our understanding of the literary text – but the literary text also serves as a key to decode the ›cultural value‹ of scientific discoveries, their trans-disciplinary cultural meaning.