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(Neo-)Baroque Aesthetics in Literature: Verbal-Visual Configurations and Frame-Breakings

International Conference

Venue: Haus der Universität


Baroque, literally referencing an irregular pearl, is obsessed with excess, materiality and disorder; it is fascinated with objects, knowledge, and perceptions that trouble existing classifications and that put pressure on conventional distinctions between reality and illusion.

In literature, the period’s preoccupation with excess, spectacle and irregularity manifests in a complex and multi-layered engagement with visuality and vision. This engagement displays an acute awareness of how materiality and embodiment enable vision. Ekphrases, the simultaneous presence of words and images, radical reworkings of perspectives as well as experiments with frames pervade many Baroque literary texts. Many of these visual devices can also be found in Neo-Baroque literatures; yet, to a greater extent than their Baroque predecessors, Neo-Baroque literatures draw attention to the invisibilities that are inherent in the production of visibility, gesturing towards what lies outside the frame and escapes established regimes of seeing.

The conference is dedicated to exploring the pronounced visuality that is a formative, yet understudied element of the (Neo-)Baroque aesthetics. The individual contributions examine verbal-visual configurations as an integral part of a locally and temporally specific (Neo-)Baroque aesthetics, while also tracing transcultural and transhistorical forms of (ex-)change.

The conference is generously funded by the DFG and the GFFU; it is part of a larger CHLEL project.