Alexander Honold

Kade Visiting Professor
Winter 2018


Professor of modern German literary studies at the University of Basel (since 2004)
Habilitation - Humboldt University, Berlin, 2002
Promotion (doctorate) - Free University, Berlin, 1994



German 35/ C LIT 35. The Making of the Modern World
German 210/ C LIT 249. Music & Literature: the history and aesthetics of their interrelations
Since antiquity, verbal and musical arts have always been in touch, related to each other through intense exchanges and cooperations: the poet as a singer of »cantos«, the importance of formal rules like repetition, reflection, and variation; the effects of sound and rhythm which don’t seem to have clear semantic references, but still are ‘meaning something’ to us – just to name a few examples. In order to observe and discuss the aesthetical differences and similarities of these two ‘neighbour arts’, the seminar focusses on four historical paradigms of music that have gained rich attention in literature. (1) J. S. Bach and the art of counterpoint: here we will examine novels by Thomas Bernhard (»Der Untergeher«/»The Loser«) and Richard Powers (»The Gold Bug Variations«); (2) the Viennese classics Mozart and Beethoven, seen through descriptions by E. T. A. Hoffmann (»Don Juan«) and Thomas Mann (»Dr. Faustus«); (3) the narrative voice in romantic songs (Schubert: »Winterreise/ Winter Journey«) and (4) music in the age of politics (with selected chapters from William T. Vollmanns »Europe Centrale« and with Julian Barnes »The noise of time«, dedicated to Dmitry Shostakovich.