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Reading Colour

George, Rilke, Kandinsky, Lasker-Schüler


Rey Conquer

Colour is a problem for poetry, where – unlike in painting, sculpture or film – it
is marked by its absence. This absence raises questions that have often been
overlooked in the study of colour: how do writers navigate the invisibility of
colour in text? What aesthetic commitments do certain attitudes to colour
expose? And how, in the face of its absence, do we read colour?

This ambitious and exciting study addresses these questions, analysing the
use of colour language in the work of Stefan George, Rainer Maria Rilke,
Wassily Kandinsky and Else Lasker-Schüler to tease out how these poets
understood poetic production, and how they negotiated the relations between
poem, reader and world. Covering the poetry, prose, translation, literary and art
criticism and theory of these and other writers central to European literature
at the turn of the twentieth century, Reading Colour sheds new light on poetic
practice of the period, but also uses colour to open up an understanding of
how poetic language works, and to ask how we read poetry.

This book was the winner of the 2018 Early Career Researcher Prize in German
Studies, a collaboration between the Institute for German Studies at the
University of Birmingham and Peter Lang.

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List of Abbreviations



BfdK Blätter für die Kunst, eds Carl August Klein and Stefan George, 1892–1919.

CW Wassily Kandinsky, Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, eds Kenneth Clement Lindsay and Peter Vergo (New York: Da Capo Press, 1994).

GW Else Lasker-Schüler, Gesammelte Werke in drei Bänden, eds Friedhelm Kemp, Werner Kraft and Margarete Kupper, 3 vols (Munich: Kösel, 1959–62).

KA Rainer Maria Rilke, Werke: Kommentierte Ausgabe in vier Bänden, eds Manfred Engel, Ulrich Fülleborn, Horst Nalewski and August Stahl, 4 vols (Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig: Insel, 1996).

SW Stefan George, Sämtliche Werke in 18 Bänden, eds Georg Peter Landmann and Ute Oelmann, 18 vols (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1982–2013).

SWR Rainer Maria Rilke, Sämtliche Werke, eds Ernst Zinn and Ruth Sieber-Rilke, 7 vols (Wiesbaden: Insel, 1959).

WB Else Lasker-Schüler, Werke und Briefe: kritische Ausgabe, eds Norbert Oellers, Heinz Rölleke and Itta Shedletzky, 11 vols (Frankfurt am Main: Jüdischer Verlag at Suhrkamp, 1996-).←ix | x→ ←x | 1→

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