CANCELLED: "Tragedy, Serenity and the Unreal. From Goethe to Oscar Wilde."

February 17, 2017 (3:00 pm - 4:00 pm)

Location: BAC 236

Cancelled due to bad weather conditions. This lecture will now take place on March 17th instead.

The Department of Languages and Literatures
Seminar Series Winter 2017


"Tragedy, Serenity and the Unreal. From Goethe to  Oscar Wilde."


 Lina Rieth

PhD candidate University Marburg, Germany

Abstract: The presentation will discuss key concepts of the tragic genre regarding George Steiner’s The Death of Tragedy and texts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Oscar Wilde. Steiner raises the question whether the new world view after the French Revolution had an impact on the overall perception of the tragic. This leads to look at the broader issue of the relation between world view and artistic perception. Is it the world view that has an impact on art and the artistic perception? Or is it not possible that it is rather the perception of art that shapes the way how we look at and discern the world? As a vital example in the German romantic period, Goethe’s concept of right measure and his principle of ‘Heiterkeit’ give essential insights to the shift away from the literary form of tragedy. In West-östlicher Divan Goethe’s aesthetics shed light on the great influence by the arts of the orient on his artistic perception. Considering Oscar Wilde’s essay The Decay of Lying, Goethe’s impact on Oscar Wilde’s perception of art shows interesting parallels in their artistic attitude and the major significance of freedom and the unreal. At the heart of Wilde’s aesthetics thought is the demand to recognize art as a fully independent entity free from reality. The concept of tragedy always has been linked to reality. Wilde’s tragedy Salomé marks an important, unique piece in the history of the genre. Based on the reinterpretation of Wilde’s exceptional work, this analysis hopes to first argue that tragedy is not dead. Secondly, it hopes to reveal that only art is successfully capable to combine contradicting concepts like tragedy, Heiterkeit, reality and the unreal.


February 17, 3:00 pm , BAC 236

Refreshments will be provided

All are welcome!


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