Botschaft oder Störung? Eine Diskursgeschichte des “Rauschens” in der Literatur um 1800

Oliver Simons


Never was so much written about Rauschen as around 1800. This essay reconstructs the varied semantics of Rauschen in philosophical and literary texts of Kant, Herder, and Hegel, Goethe, Eichendorff, and Müller. It shows that Rauschen was understood as a disturbance, but also as an ideal message. While Kant, exemplarily, seems to occlude sound from his investigations and does not even perceive sublime waterfalls as acoustical events, the cosmos is for Herder a sound-space; in his essay on the origin of language he describes Rauschen as an originary, prelinguistic phenomenon. Whoever hears Rauschen is closer to the origins of language and can hear ideal messages. Even in lyric texts such as Goethe’s poem “Der Fischer,” Rauschen becomes an asemantic linguistic ideal. As this essay likewise demonstrates, the motif of Rauschen undergoes a transformation in late Romanticism. In Eichendorff, for example, Rauschen no longer portends an ideal message but instead connotes a lack of meaning, sensory confusion, and the loss of those sources to which lyric poetry once thought itself bound. Even Müller’s song cycles are an example of that other discourse of Rauschen: that of the disruption with which Rauschen is still associated today. (OS)

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