restricted access Fragmenting Fragments: Jean Paul’s Poetics of the Small in “Meine Miszellen”
Abstract

Abstract:

While Jean Paul is often associated with notoriously long, digressive novels, this article makes the case for the reading of Jean Paul above all as an author of the small. By taking the example of his minor work “Meine Miszellen,” the article examines how his reference to the discursive-literary tradition of 19thcentury romantic miscellanies serves as an experimental testing ground for his poetics and epistemology of the small, as encapsulated by his concept of humor as the “inverted sublime.” From there the article seeks to distinguish Jean Paul’s poetics of the small from the romantic fragment by demonstrating how humor, in contrast to irony, serves as a material strategy for reflecting on the fragmentary character of his texts. The article ends by suggesting that Jean Paul’s emphasis on the small and fragmentary is not restricted to his fleeting minor works, but extends to later novels like Leben Fibels.


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