My Ardinghello: Heinse and the importance of being epistolary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Wilhelm Heinse's 1787 painter-novel Ardinghello und die gluckseligen Inseln is an unruly and precarious literary-historical artifact, balancing on the thresholds between text and paratext, archive and translation, excess and omission, Renaissance and Sturm und Drang. This article brings recent work on the queer materiality of epistolary exchange (Garlinger 2005) to bear on long-inherited interpretations of Ardinghello, seeing in it an endeavor to imagine a rhetorical space for protogay literature in late eighteenth century German humanism. Since the 1990s, much effort has gone into studying queer structures and traces in Lenz and Goethe, and Simon Richter (2006) has suggested that Heinse's "revolutionary fictions" are perhaps best understood in this light as well. What remains undertheorized, however, is the structural relationship between epistolary disclosure and proscribed desire in Ardinghello, and a century of Heinse research has seen fit to minimize this particular aspect of his work. With its sidelong reference to Willa Cather's 1918 My Antonia, this essay shores up the consequences of upholding a non-epistolary interpretation of an epistolary novel-particularly in the domain of homosocial desire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalGermanic Review
Volume86
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

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interpretation
humanism
painter
Renaissance
eighteenth century
artifact
Queerness
literature
Rhetoric
1990s
Paratext
Revolution
Omission
Willa Cather
Epistolary Novel
Painters
Humanism
Fiction
Excess
Materiality

Keywords

  • aesthetics
  • epistolary
  • gender
  • masculinity
  • material culture
  • sexuality
  • Storm and Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Cultural Studies

Cite this

My Ardinghello : Heinse and the importance of being epistolary. / Gramling, David J.

In: Germanic Review, Vol. 86, No. 1, 01.2011, p. 23-36.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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