Kosmos
Zitierempfehlung (Kapitel)

Ziche, Paul: Cosmic Enthusiasm and Loss of Perspective: Cosmology and Generalized Feelings around 1900, in: König, Peter und Schlaudt, Oliver (Hrsg.): Kosmos: Vom Umgang mit der Welt zwischen Ausdruck und Ordnung, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2023, S. 351-380. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.857.c15263

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ISBN 978-3-96822-093-2 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-094-9 (Hardcover)

Veröffentlicht am 12.01.2023.


Paul Ziche

Cosmic Enthusiasm and Loss of Perspective: Cosmology and Generalized Feelings around 1900

Abstract In the course of the nineteenth century, ‘cosmic feelings’ became somewhat of a technical term, but with a twist: these feelings, i.e. the feel­ings that the experience of the cosmos, its vastness, and its orderly beauty, kindle in man are highly ambivalent in character, both elevating and crush­ing. By studying the difficulty to express cosmic experiences in the works of Camille Flammarion and Adalbert Stifter, looking at the particular impor­tance accorded to cosmic nebulae and at the surprising variations that organ­ic metaphors undergo in the writings of the brothers von Humboldt, this paper tries to drive home an observation that is characteristic of discourses about the cosmos in the nineteenth century, but also far beyond this subject area: namely that in this period, feelings tend to be treated as highly general and highly abstract, and yet remain fully emotional experiences.

Keywords cosmic feelings; nebulae, abstraction; general feelings; Camille Flammarion; Adalbert Stifter; Alexander von Humboldt; Wilhelm von Humboldt