Die Laterna magica der Erzählung. Zur Semantik eines Bilderzeugungsverfahrens und seiner poetologischen Funktion

Monika Schmitz-Emans


In literary texts since the late 18th century, the magic lantern plays a crucial role as a symbol reflecting both processes of representation and of perception. Closely linked with anthropological and philosophical discourses, novels and narrations convey the idea that the perceiving subject plays an active role in the process of modeling “reality.” In these contexts, the magic lantern often points to the power (or “spell”) of the imagination. Being a symbol and at the same time a medium of creative image production it appears, however, as ambiguous. In novels still shaped by the discourse of enlightenment, imagination is reflected upon as potentially seductive. Romantic authors are inclined to interpret the transformative power of the imagination affirmatively. Under the influence of modern psychological discourse, a new focus emerges on the destructive effects of fixed ideas. The article discusses and compares texts by Friedrich Schiller, August Klingemann, E.T.A. Hoffmann, August Strindberg, and Marcel Proust. (MSE; in German)

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