Sammeln – Exzerpte – Konstellation. Jean Pauls literarische Kombinatorik

Andrea Krauss


Taking as its starting point Jean Paul’s notoriously compressed way of writing, this article addresses the question to what extent Jean Paul’s excerpt notebooks, which he kept for decades, can help in understanding his literary texts. While thematic correspondences are obvious, the complex organization of the excerpts, including the bits and pieces of knowledge they contain, resists any further genetic derivation. It also displays a textual dynamic of its own. The specific features of each form of representation appear in precisely those places where literature makes direct reference to knowledge from the excerpts and where there are no simple transfers but different formations of objects: the epistemology of the literary aims at the context of narration, subject, and the creation of (non-)forms, and it brings the mediality of each and every configuration of knowledge into view. The knowledge of the excerpts is organized in the form of constellations that (differently in each instance) delimit discursive materials and the subject positions that correspond to them. These constellations thus make the constitutive fragmentariness of our knowledge of the human being visible. In engaging Jean Paul’s literary combinatorics, this article develops the figure of the constellation as a procedure of reading and representation that is critical of knowledge and refers knowledge back to the principles of its production and, thereby, to other forms of knowledge. (AK; in German)

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