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Science, Satire and Wit

The Essays of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg


Ralph W. Büchler

This book attempts a critical assessment of the eighteenth-century German essay utilizing the journal essays of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg as a paradigm. It places a socio-historical and genre-theoretical analysis of the eighteenth-century German essay across a close reading of Lichtenberg's essays. The study demonstrates that Lichtenberg's essays operate as critical communication for purposes of instruction and satire. What is more, such critical communication alternates with a critique of enlightenment itself. Finally, the methodology of Lichtenberg's essays is shown to be instrumental in developing imaginative and freely-associative literary strategies.
Contents: This study presents a dual focus against the background of the German Enlightenment: the development of the eighteenth-century German essay and a close reading of the major essays of G.C. Lichtenberg.