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The Language of Passion

The Order of Poetics and the Construction of a Lyric Genre 1746-1806


Anna Cullhed

This is a study of the theory of the lyric genre in late 18 th - and early 19 th -century instructional poetics by Ch. Batteux, J. A. Schlegel, J. G. Sulzer, H. Blair, J. J. Engel, J. J. Eschenburg, A. W. Schlegel, F. W. J. Schelling, F. Ast, and F. Bouterwek. Poetics can be understood as part of moral philosophy, natural history, the psychology of association, or idealist philosophy during this important period. However, the lyric genre is defined as «the language of passion» in all the sources, irrespective of their theoretical point of departure. The definitions rely on the interaction between the classical tradition of poetics and contemporary disciplines, and this tension calls for a reconsideration of neoclassical and romantic poetics. The lyric gains a stable position within different systems of genres, independent of the other genres included. It is certainly an expression of emotions, but these need not be authentic. Across all conventional epochal borders, the lyric is primarily a political and religious genre.
The Author: Anna Cullhed, born 1966, received her Ph.D. at Uppsala University in 2001. She has studied Literature, Aesthetics, and Art History in Uppsala and Tübingen and taught Rhetoric and Literature at various colleges and universities in Sweden. As a fellow of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences (SCASSS) she studies the relation between 18th-century poetry and poetics.