Fragments Of The Concrete: Ecology And Technical Media In German Romanticism

Thumbnail Image
Degree type
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Graduate group
Comparative Literature and Literary Theory
Discipline
Subject
German Romanticism
Kant
mechanology
negentropy
perpetuum mobile
Simondon
Comparative Literature
German Literature
Philosophy
Funder
Grant number
License
Copyright date
2022-10-05T20:22:00-07:00
Distributor
Related resources
Author
Norton, Bryan
Contributor
Abstract

This dissertation investigates how German romantic speculation concerning the possibility of constructing a perpetuum mobile sheds light on the central role played by technical media in the relationship between politics, poetics, and the life sciences around 1800. Focusing on the figures of Novalis, Schelling, Goethe, and Hölderlin, the project traces the contours of a discursive shift in the romantic reception of what Immanuel Kant calls the “technic of nature,” a concept Kant employs as a heuristic device for explaining the appearance of self-motivated activity in nature. While for Kant, this term refers to the ways internal forms of human cognition lead the observer to perceive a distinction between the autotelic activity of organic life and events determined by mechanical causality, for Kant’s romantic readers, the ‘technic of nature’ comes to signify a reciprocal mode of material relationality between humans and nature that combines organic and mechanical processes. This relational, exteriorizing comportment towards the making of technical objects and natural knowledge, what the philosopher of technology Gilbert Simondon calls mechanology in his overlooked engagement with romanticism, becomes the basis for a series of thought experiments concerning perpetual motion which seek to develop a negentropic ecology of spatial relations for romantic poetics and nature philosophy.

Advisor
Catriona MacLeod
Date of degree
2022-01-01
Date Range for Data Collection (Start Date)
Date Range for Data Collection (End Date)
Digital Object Identifier
Series name and number
Volume number
Issue number
Publisher
Publisher DOI
Journal Issue
Comments
Recommended citation