A Discourse of a Different Kind: On Fabulation and Method in Goethe’s Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten

Michael Saman


This article brings nuance to our understanding of the way the narrative form and discursive strategies of Goethe’s Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten form a direct response to political and philosophical discourses of its time. Serialized in Die Horen, and arising from close collaboration with Schiller, the perplexing structure of the work is the result of Goethe’s experimental and ironic transposition into narrative fiction of Schiller’s programmatic aesthetic ideas for the journal. This article explores the contours of Goethe’s keen yet decidedly skeptical reckoning with contemporary philosophical constructions of history, and with theoretical attempts to grapple conceptually with developments in post-Revolutionary France. (MS)

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