Bauformen der Imagination. Literature and Achitecture in Modernity (GW 704)

Principal Investigator:
Emmy Noether-Programm

Based on the observation that literature and architecture have increasingly influenced each other since the 18th century, this Emmy Noether Program for Young Researchers seeks to investigate the dynamic interrelationships between the two art forms.

Our research will mainly focus on two specific time periods: the period of transition from the 18th to the 19th century, and the phase between 1910 and 1935. Both of these periods saw a boom in building construction, giving rise to special kinds of exchange between the fields of architecture and literature. While one can trace the significant influence of the ‘poetic’ on architecture in the period "around 1800," architecture seems to take the leading role during the 20th-century period of Classic Modernity, sparking important discussions and new perspectives in literature.

Based on exemplary case studies, we will investigate the (re-)presentation of architecture in fiction and the functions that the use and presentation of architectural metaphors and thoughts can have within the realm of literature. Conversely, we will also examine the critical or analytical possibilities that literature might offer architecture, investigating various aspects of literary influence on architectural aesthetics.Within this scope, our group follows a spatial-anthropological approach. Starting from the observation that literary texts around 1800 reveal an increasingly close symbolic connection between space and emotion, the group analyzes the development of new perspectives on the idea of the human subject itself, which subsequently is oftentimes conceived as being intrinsically spatial. The research group’s projects will seek to correlate and explore the complex entanglement between the contours of this new spatial conception of the subject and more general discourse(s) on architecture and literature.