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Aesthetic Homosociality in Wackenroder and Tieck

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Kevin F. Yee

Wackenroder’s and Tieck’s joint works, the Herzensergiessungen (1796) and the Phantasien (1799), are often read piecemeal or as documents of art history. When viewed through their complex narrative structure, however, these texts are revealed as performative works of art that promulgate an aesthetic vision closely tied to patriarchy and homosociality. Great male artists throughout history, including the fictional narrator, his friend Berglinger and even the authors themselves, are united through brotherhood and commonality of purpose. Such an arrangement excludes women from the artistic realm, and men form bonds of affection centered around a love of art – an «aesthetic triangle.» These two texts should not be seen as collections of disparate essays, but rather as integrated wholes that complement each other.