"Alles was lebendig wirken soll, muß eingehüllt sein" : Formreflexion in Goethes Sonett Mächtiges Überraschen

  • The article engages in a close reading of Goethe's sonnet "Mächtiges Überraschen", published in the sonnet cycle of 1807. In it the poetic voice evokes a mountain river whose course is suddenly interrupted by the limiting force of a dam. Paradoxically, however, the effect of this is not stagnation, but the emergence and celebration of a "new life". This paradox will be illuminated by a discussion of Goethe's "Morphologie" as a universal scientific method. Morphology studies the infinite variety of (natural) forms while also insisting on their individual limitation. Goethe's understanding of life lingers on the co-presence of "coined form" and "living development" as he formulates it in "Urworte. Orphisch". "Mächtiges Überraschen" is read as a poem that embodies this fundamental polarity. The sonnet refers time and again to the borders and limitations of both the natural image it evokes and its own poetic properties. Simultaneously, it suggests the transgression of these limitations on both a formal (or structural) and a metaphorical level. As a poetological sonnet, "Mächtiges Überraschen" unifies the representation (of a natural event) with a reflection on representation as such. The announcement of a "new life" in the last stanza of the poem is thus read as an announcement of its own coming-into-being.

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Author:Johannes Schade
Parent Title (German):Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Philologie : Tagungsband ; 1. – 3. Juli 2010, Freie Universität Berlin, Internationale Arbeitstagung
Publisher:Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule für literaturwissenschaftliche Studien
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2011/10/14
Date of first Publication:2011/10/13
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2011/10/14
Tag:Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von / Mächtiges Überraschen
GND Keyword:Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von; Morphologie <Linguistik>; Poetologische Lyrik
Page Number:15
First Page:131
Last Page:145
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 83 Deutsche und verwandte Literaturen / 830 Literaturen germanischer Sprachen; Deutsche Literatur
Sammlungen:Germanistik / GiNDok
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
BDSL-Klassifikation:03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft / BDSL-Klassifikation: 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.08.00 Poetik / BDSL-Klassifikation: 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.08.00 Poetik > 03.08.02 Dichtung und Sprache
13.00.00 Goethezeit / BDSL-Klassifikation: 13.00.00 Goethezeit > 13.14.00 Zu einzelnen Autoren
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0