Sacred Genres

Poetics of Sacred Genres: Transformations of Medieval and Early Modern Christian Literature between the 18th and 20th Century

The research group traces the transformation of Christian literary genres in the period following the enlightened criticism of religion, i.e., between the mid 18th and the mid 20th century. Our project is subdivided into three parts concerning (1.) the reception of early modern hymns in Klopstock, Gellert, and Novalis, (2.) the transformation of the baroque miracle play at the beginning of the 19th century, and (3.) the appropriation of medieval legends of the saints from Keller to Seghers. In collaboration with visiting scholars, we want to investigate the way literary modernism draws on older patterns and generic schemes of religious literature to negotiate the sacred – even in those instances where it rejects Christianity programmatically. Thus, we argue that the debate on the dynamics of secularization and sacralization in the modern era needs to be reformulated with respect to genre and intertextuality.