note: highly work in progress!

focuses only on the (German) Romantics at the moment

References regarding Shadowland & Imagination

“Serapiontisches Prinzip” (= Serapiontic Principle): found in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s ›The Serapion Brethren‹, (the English Wikipedia page is a little spare, but the full text (public domain) of the book can be found here: The Serapion Brethren. Vol. I.). The book itself is VERY substantial, therefore I list the most interesting/relevant parts below. 

For context: The book is a compilation of individual novellas and fairytales. As a framing plot, Hoffmann uses the regular gathering of some friends who tell/read stories to each other (this gathering is called Serapion Brethren) . In the interludes, the friends also comment on the poetic quality of the stories, gradually building a narrative principle known as the “Serapiontic principle”.

Nothing survives save the shadowy reflected images left by that part of our lives which has set, and gone far below our horizon; and they often haunt and mock us like evil, ghostly dreams.

At all events, let each of us strive, very strenuously, to get a clear grasp, in his mind, of the picture he is going to produce, –in every one of its forms, colours, lights and shadows, and then, when he feels himself thoroughly permeated and kindled by it, bring it out into outer life.

References regarding the Machine

  • E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Sandman, English fulltext here (PDF)
    The main character (Nathanael) drifts into insanity, falls into love with an automaton. Nathanael’s action throughout the text are described as “automatic” etc.
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Die Automate (= Automatons), part of The Serapion Brethren Vol. 2. English fulltext here
    The topos of “too perfect machines” are discussed with a Mechnical Turk and automatic instruments.

References regarding Writing/Typography/Hieroglyphics

Jean Paul Vorschule der Ästhetik (1804), Kittler Aufschreibesysteme

References regarding Insanity/Mania

Aristotle Poetics (Vol. II), fulltext here (Translation by Ingram Bywater, 1898)

As far as may be, too, the poet should even act his story with the very gestures of his personages. Given the same natural qualifications, he who feels the emotions to be described will be the most convincing; distress and anger, for instance, are portrayed most truthfully by one who is feeling them at the moment. Hence it is that poetry demands a man with special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him; the, former can easily assume the required mood, and the latter may be actually beside himself with emotion.