Thinking (the) Underground

By analyzing works of German literature from the early Romantic period onwards through the lens of 19th- and 20th-century philosophy and critical theory, this project investigated the multiplicity and evolution of the “underground” as an image in German discourse between 1800–1950. Why did figures of caves, mines, miners, and other subterranean dwellers captivate and indeed become indispensable to the Romantic literary imagination?

The investigation of the Romantic underground situates these representations chiefly as forms of literary-philosophical resistance to the perennial concept of “ground,” which embodied the very meanings and goals of philosophical reasoning for Plato and later Enlightenment and idealist thinkers, particularly Kant and Fichte. If the Romantics sought to challenge as well as to extend the reach of philosophy, the figures of the underground—in their subversion or their literal under-mining of the logic of ground—are responsible for this achievement.

Dissertation project funded by the Minerva Foundation 2016–2017
Head researcher(s): Nadav Avruch


06 Jun 2023 · 7.30 pm

Always Near III: Empty Planets. On Uninhabitable Landscapes

diffrakt | zentrum für theoretische peripherie, Crellestraße 22, 10827 Berlin

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