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Cultural Science and the Repertoire of Works: Herder’s Plastik as a Hands-on Experience
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8553-9547
2016 (English)In: J. G. Herder: From Cognition to Cultural Science / Von der Erkenntnis zur Kulturwissenschaft / [ed] Beate Allert, Heidelberg: Synchron , 2016, 397-446 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Today’s cultural science is generated more by a critical outlook we have today (values we want to defend, interests we want to pursue) than something that develops by an emphatetic reading of a repertoire of works, with less control over the outcome, but more open to surprising disclosures. Herder’s work Plastik (1778) includes at the back a list of 27 printing errors called ”Verbesserungen” (improvemnets) and was moreover delivered with seven cancel leaves (corrected leaves intended to replace the corresponding leaves in a book on account of their spelling or typing errors) that were to be pasted in by the bookbinder. We had formerly no report on what faults these cancels were actually correcting. An investigation gives a surprising result. The faults were very few (only one or two on each leaf), mostly insignificant, not more serious than the errors in the list of errata. Furthermore, the spelling of the words that the cancels correct are fluctuating in the text anyway. Finally, analysis shows that the cancels must have been printed on the same sheet as the list of the errata. Reflection on these seven cancels, how the book was made and a comparision with the surviving manuscript lead to the conclusion that the seven leaves together form like a booklet in the book, a summary that the reader has to fold with his/her own hands, and the corrected words stand out as keywords in this booklet. The seven leaves can be read according to the ”Schöpfungshieroglyphe” of Herder’s earlier work Aelteste Urkunde des Menschengeschlechts (1774). Ostensibly, the book is about the senses of touch and sight in relation to sculpture, but with the analysis of the cancels at hand we realize that it is just as much about the senses of touch and sight in relation to the book Plastik we are reading. If the ’faulty’ leaves (cancellata) have already been removed, and the ’corrected’ leaves (cancellantia) pasted in on the remaining stub, the reader must use his/her feeling finger to detect the booklet in question. References in Plastik suggest that Ueber die neuere Deutsche Litteratur (1767), Aelteste Urkunde des Menschengeschlechts, and Plastik were conceived as a prominent trio in Herder’s oeuvre suspended from the concepts of acoustics, optics, and anaglyphics. Cultural Science, in order to be true to its own premisses, needs to encompass a concept of reading that swings between critical and emphathetic reading.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Heidelberg: Synchron , 2016. 397-446 p.
Keyword [en]
Plastik: Einige Wahrnehmungen über Form und Gestalt aus Pygmalions bildendem Traume”, ”Sculpture: Some Observations on Shape and Form from Pygmalion’s Creative Dream”, cultural studies, hermeneutics, poetics, dialectics, philology, editorial science, aesthetics, layout, paratext, style of writing, non-linear, materiality
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-282176ISBN: 978-3-939381-89-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-282176DiVA: diva2:916679
Available from: 2016-04-04 Created: 2016-04-04 Last updated: 2017-11-01Bibliographically approved

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Bengtsson, Staffan

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