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E. T. A. HoffmanTransgressive Romanticism$
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Christopher R. Clason

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941213

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941213.001.0001

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Attending to the Everyday

Attending to the Everyday

Idiosyncrasy in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Der goldene Topf”

(p.151) Chapter Eight Attending to the Everyday
E. T. A. Hoffman

Ruth Kellar

Liverpool University Press

The eighth chapter argues that “The Golden Pot” explores daily occurrences as parts of an idiosyncratic constitution of the ordinary and the extraordinary, transgressing the tendency to separate a particular instance from the typical category. By foregrounding the role of an embodied narrator and other spectators within the text, the story creates a public space in which the distinct appearance of characters relies upon their simultaneous presentation as singular actualities and generalized units. Narrator and character, reader and text, thus engage in an interdependent re-creation of one another, moving the reader from a concern with Romantic subjectivity to the potential for new meaning generated by the narrative reconstruction of objective phenomena. The vacillation between the characters’ “concrete typicality as generalized creations” and their “opacity as particular images” constitutes a transgressive technique for creating unique characters that reflect a turning away from Romantic subjectivity toward particularity.

Keywords:   The Golden Pot, idiosyncrasy, Arendt, typical, subjectivity, objectivity

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