10 Feb 2023

Unvollendetes, Zerbrochenes, Verlorenes: Über das Fragment

Venue: Leibniz-Institut für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur – Simon Dubnow, Goldschmidtstraße 28, 04103 Leipzig
Organized by Nicolas Berg (DI), Falko Schmieder (ZfL)
Research project(s): The 20th Century in Basic Concepts

Many historical dictionaries and propaedeutic reference books do not contain the entry “fragment,” even though the work with fragments and fragmentary records is one of the basic aspects of all historical and historiographical as well as the work on the history of theory. Thus, historians have to acquaint themselves with other subjects and their traditions to form an overall perspective on this key concept of the humanities, i.e., in the Historisches Lexikon der Rhetorik (Historical Dictionary of Rhetoric, 1996) or in the dictionary Ästhetische Grundbegriffe (Basic Concepts of Aesthetics, 2001) which both contain an extensive entry. This established allocation of responsibilities poses a question: do the concept and conception of the “fragment” rather belong into the area of aesthetics and literature than into the area of history? And if that is the case: how could it be reintroduced and made productive within history and cultural studies with regard to its own disciplinary discourse and tradition?

Using different approaches, this workshop aims to examine and discuss the status of the fragment and the fragmentary from the perspectives of history, the history of theory, and literary aesthetics. It asks for the dialectical relation between the fragment and the whole, for the ideational influences and material inscriptions, for the symptomatic of the unfinished and the incomplete, of things broken and destroyed during and following the Holocaust and their importance for the Jewish as well as for the general historical experience of Modernity. It is precisely the different forms and shapes of the fragment that will be the subject of discussion—from the incomplete tradition of works that remained torsos to the aesthetic norm of the fragmentary in different eras, i.e., during Romanticism, Post-Modernity, or in the literature of the Shoah. At the center of the discussion stands the question for the fragment’s specific epistemic potential.    


10.15 am

  • Yfaat Weiss (DI), Eva Geulen (ZfL): Opening
  • Falko Schmieder (ZfL), Nicolas Berg (DI): Introduction

10.30 am Begriffsreflexion und Dialektik des Konzepts

  • Caroline Jessen (DI): Formbegriffe und -metaphern in der Diskussion um den Novalis-Nachlass (1930–1960)
  • Lydia Schmuck (ZfL): Fragment als Begriff und Methode. Eine Rekonstruktion aus den Archivmaterialien zum Wörterbuch Ästhetische Grundbegriffe

1.30 pm Ideelle Prägungen und materielle Einschreibungen

  • Eva Geulen (ZfL): Zu Goethes Gebrauch von “Fragment” und “fragmentarisch”
  • Judith Siepmann (DI): Die materielle Spur des Fragments: Drei Objekte aus der Pinkus’schen Schlesierbücherei

4.30 pm Gewalt und Holocaust im Spiegel jüdischer Literaturen

  • Brett Winestock (DI): “A shtot iz farshvundn” (1925): Fragments of the Shtetl in Soviet Yiddish Literature
  • Anja Keith (ZfL): Berthie Philipps “Die Todgeweihten” (1949): Die Entstehung eines Romans in und nach Theresienstadt

program [PDF]