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Guest Lecture (15 March 2017, 3pm): The Emergence of the Early Romantic Theory of Language around 1800

Lecture by Dr Alexander Knopf (University of Heidelberg / University of Cambridge)

2 February 2017

Date, time: 15th March 2017, 3-5pm

Venue: Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Campus, ArtsOne Building, Room 1.25, London E1 4NS


It is generally accepted that a paradigm shift took place in German philosophy around 1800 which can be interpreted as a ‘linguistic turn’ or ‘turn to language’. This shift is usually associated with intellectual figures such as Johann Georg Hamann, Johann Gottfried Herder, and Wilhelm von Humboldt. The role of early Romanticism in comparison has been widely underestimated to date although its contribution to this process is highly important. Early Romanticism underwent a linguistic turn itself. After its idealistic beginnings it was language that moved into the centre of early Romantic reflections. As a consequence, the early Romantics developed a theory of language which differed so considerably that it had an irreversible effect on almost every part of their thinking.

In 2014, Alexander Knopf finished his PhD research on Novalis’s Heinrich von Afterdingen at the University of Heidelberg (Germany). Currently, he is working as an assistant editor for the edition of Johann Peter Hebel’s Complete Works in Heidelberg and the Digital Schnitzler Edition in Cambridge. In cooperation with the Freie Deutsche Hochstift Frankfurt, he is also developing a research project concerning the emergence of the early Romantic theory of language around 1800.




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