Article Details

In: KulturPoetik 2020, Issue 2


Anja Gerigk


Zur Formation des Kulturbegriffs. Metaphern und/oder moderne Großepik




Knowledge of culture as a modern concept can be studied not only by historical ap-proaches towards ideas or theory but also in terms of metaphors. This article specifically proposes an epistemic connection between metaphorical instances of presenting ›culture‹ as a category and a set of major epic novels. The first section draws a preliminary comparison between an earlier narrative rhetoric of a cultivated, locally confined ›garden‹, found in Schnabel’s Insel Felsenburg, and an elaborate simile from Musil’s Mann ohne Eigenschaften (MoE), that shifts from urban dynamics to alternative ways of thinking about culture. Its basic remodelling, according to the main section, can be traced back to two distinct signatures developed by Goethe’s Wahlverwandtschaften and Stifter’s Nachsommer respectively. However, the actual transformation occurs within several works of classical modernism.