Studies in Literary Theory
Imagination, Fantasy, 'Einbildungskraft'
In this seminar we will discuss the significance of the notions and concepts of the imagination in philosophical and literary traditions. We will start with a discussion of basic texts by Plato and Aristotle; move on to the treatment of the imagination in classical rhetoric; and focus on four key areas where imagination, fantasy, and ‘Einbildungskraft’ play a significant role: the so-called mystical tradition up to Jacob Böhme; Baroque cultures of the imagination; poetic imagination in the 18th and 19th centuries; and 20th century philosophical approaches. The reading list will include texts by Plato, Aristotle, Quintilian, Ignatius of Loyola, Lohenstein, Böhme, Malebranche, Kant, Addison, Goethe, Moritz, Flaubert, Sartre, and Foucault.