Fragmenting Fragments: Jean Paul’s Poetics of the Small in “Meine Miszellen”

Bryan Klausmeyer


While Jean Paul is often associated with notoriously long, digressive novels, this article makes the case for the reading of Jean Paul above all as an author of the small. By taking the example of his minor work “Meine Miszellen,” the article examines how his reference to the discursive-literary tradition of 19th-century romantic miscellanies serves as an experimental testing ground for his poetics and epistemology of the small, as encapsulated by his concept of humor as the “inverted sublime.” From there the article seeks to distinguish Jean Paul’s poetics of the small from the romantic fragment by demonstrating how humor, in contrast to irony, serves as a material strategy for reflecting on the fragmentary character of his texts. The article ends by suggesting that Jean Paul’s emphasis on the small and fragmentary is not restricted to his fleeting minor works, but extends to later novels like Leben Fibels. (BK)

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.