Quellen und Rohstoffe des Erzählens

Joint workshop of the thematic network

„Literatur – Wissen – Medien“

July 18 – 20, 2016 – Berlin



“[D]ie Quelle kann nur gedacht werden, in sofern sie fließt” (“[T]he source can only be thought insofar as it flows”). In metaphorical as well as colloquial speech, source refers in equal measure to both a beginning and a production. Starting from the dual sense of means and source that is also inherent in the concept of resource, the two-day international workshop at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin opens up an investigative horizon that extends from diverse practices of the study and use of sources to an inquiry into the materialities of literature and knowledge.

Thus, on the one hand, the workshop addresses problems and narratives of source in the broadest sense as topoi and conceptual metaphors. Possible areas of inquiry extend from the philological analysis of textual sources to the investigation of the function of source fantasies and searches for origins, of primal scenes and archetypes, and of genealogical concepts within cultural orders. In scientific just as in journalistic contexts the obligation of knowledge to sources raises the problem of credibility and reliability. How are sources produced and facts created? What role is played here by strategies of verification or disavowal with regard to sources? And how is the status of knowledge changed in the course of such source critiques?

The second focus of the workshop is on raw materials of literature and knowledge, and hence the latters’ medial and institutional modes of production, their formats, and their interconnectedness. Which materials and infrastructures does literary narrative feed on? And to what extent in this context can one speak of energy sources as narrative resources? Here, it is necessary both to open up the horizon for a metapoetic reflection on the materialities of literature, and to examine a poetics and discourses of raw materials in literature as well as in ecological and political forms of knowledge. Starting from a resistance and ‘rawness’ inherent in the concept of raw material, the workshop will consider, on the one hand, the narrative procedures through which a raw material, understood as a (fortuitous) find, becomes a literary material; on the other, how such a perspective changes the concept of material found in literary studies – which is to say, the relation between material and subject matter.

[1] J. W. v. Goethe: Dichtung und Wahrheit, Weimar edition, section 1, vol. 27, Weimar 1889, p. 23.


July 18, 2016

Source and philologic Knowledge

14.00 Uhr: Welcome / Introduction (Joseph Vogl, HU-Berlin)


14.30 -15.30 Keynote by Marcel Lepper (Deutsches Literatur Archiv Marbach): Quellen der Quellen: Rhetorische, poetische und philologische Probleme.


15.30 Nikolaus Wegmann (Princeton University): Saubere und schmutzige Quellen


16.30 Coffee Break (30 Min)


17.00 Chenxi Tang (University of California, Berkeley): Rechtsquellenlehre und Poetik.


18.00 Kaspar Renner (HU-Berlin): ,…eine palingenisierte Sammlung‘ – Herders ,Volkslieder‘ als doppelter Ursprung von Quellen- und Konjekturalphilologie.

July 19, 2016

Origins, Creations and Strategies of Legitimation

10.00 Alexander Honold (Universität Basel): Urquell. Das Wasser in ätiologischen Mythen.


11.00 Sebastian P. Klinger (Princeton University): Weisheitswissen. Zu Rilkes Praktik der Quellenkritik in der Zehnten Elegie.


12.00 – 13.30 Lunch Break


13.30 Stephen Klemm (Cornell University): History, Nature, Bildung: Alexander von Humboldt and the origins of historical time in Adalbert Stifter’s Nachsommer.


14.30 Joel Lande (Princeton University): Das Volk ohne Eigenschaften.


15.30 Coffee Break (30 Min)


16.00 Andrea Krauss (Johns Hopkins University): Hamanns Quellen.


17.00 Christian Struck (Harvard University): Zur Plausibilität der Narration: Konstellation und Legitimation.

July 20, 2016

Poetics of Resource: 

The production of literary Knowledge  and the Materiality of Literature

Unfortunately, Carli Cutchin’s presentation has been cancelled due to illness!


11.00 Sophia Gräfe (HU-Berlin): »Das stimmt sicher.“ Unauffindbare Quellen – Zur literarischen Bearbeitung von Geheimdienstakten bei Max Frisch und Jürgen Fuchs.


12.00 – 13.30 Lunch Break


13.30 Dariya Manova (HU-Berlin): „Im übrigen bin ich nach wie vor in den tiefen und heissen Bergwerken meines jetzigen Materialismus“. Rudolf Brunngraber und das Rohstoffsachbuch der Zwischenkriegszeit.


14.30 Marlene Dirschauer (FU Berlin): Wasser als Ur-Stoff des Erzählens in Virginia Woolfs The Waves (1931).


15.30 Coffee Break (30 Min)


16.00 Maya Nitis (Johns Hopkins University): Literary agency and Second-hand Knowledges.


17.00 Luce de Lire (Johns Hopkins University): Deconstructive Materialism – History of Debt and Economy of Theft.


18.00  Ende des Workshops




Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Hauptgebäude, Raum 2249a „Marmorsaal“ (Zwischengeschoss)


Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



The conference room 2249a is slightly hidden in the west wing of the main building at Unter den Linden 6 (on the same side as the Staatsbibliothek!) on the second mezzanine between the 2nd and 3rd floors. The entrance is accessible by the small stair case (elevators are also available). A map of the building can be found here:

Directions Raumplan Hauptgebäude