Wednesday 8th – Friday 10th April 2015 Lichtenberg

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
King’s College London
Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
University College London
Wednesday 8th – Friday 10th April 2015
Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen and Herzog-August-Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel
This interdisciplinary workshop takes its cue from the 250th anniversary of
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Laokoon, oder über die Grenzen der Mahlerey und Poesie
(‘Laokoon, or on the boundaries of painting and poetry’), first published in 1766.
Lessing’s essay is focused on an ancient statue and its interpretation. Yet over the
last 250 years, Lessing’s essay has had a profound influence on all manner of
different disciplinary fields: if the text helped define the direction and scope of
Enlightenment and Romantic aesthetics in Germany (and indeed beyond), it has
also helped to shape the very form and practices of modern European poetry and
painting. At different moments within the twentieth century in particular, Lessing
was both heroized and demonized for his carefully calibrated (and for many,
hierarchical) delineation between the temporal linearity of poetry and the spatial
field of the visual arts. The speakers will negotiate and discuss different ways of
approaching the text, at once rethinking the medial ‘limits’ defined by the Laokoon,
and situating the text within both its Entstehungs- and Rezeptionsgeschichte.
The workshop is generously supported by the Lichtenberg-Kolleg (Göttingen’s
Institute for Advanced Study) and the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, in collaboration
with the Herzog-August-Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel, the Department of History at
University College London, and the Department of Classics at King’s College
• Avi Lifschitz (Department of History, University College London); Fellow
at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen, 2014-15)
• Michael Squire (Department of Classics, King’s College London; Fellow at
the Morphomata-Kolleg, Cologne, 2014-15)
Wednesday, 8 April 2015: Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen
14:00 Martin van Gelderen (Göttingen), Michael Squire (London/Cologne), and
Avi Lifschitz (London/Göttingen): welcome and introduction
14:30 Friedrich Vollhardt (Munich): Lessings Laokoon: Aktualität − Historizität –
15:30 Refreshments
16:00 Jonas Grethlein (Heidelberg): Lessing’s Laokoon and the ‘as-if’ of aesthetic
Jürgen Trabant (Berlin): Symbolic articulation
18:00 Reception
19:00 Dinner
Thursday, 9 April 2015: Herzog-August-Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel
Organised transport from Göttingen to Wolfenbüttel
11:00 Guided tour of the ducal library and the Lessinghaus
12:45 Lunch
14:00 Elisabeth Décultot (Halle): Über die Grenzen der Kritik: Zur
epistemologischen Verortung von Lessings Laokoon
Daniel Fulda (Halle): Verzeitlichung? Lessings Laokoon und die
Modernisierungsprobleme der seinerzeitigen Geschichtsschreibung
15:45 Refreshments
16:30 Jason Gaiger (Oxford): ‘Yielding stone’: the material as medium in
Lessing’s Laokoon and recent sculptural practice
Susan Gustafson (Rochester, NY): Gender, sexuality, and family
entanglements: fathers, mothers, and snakes in Lessing’s Laokoon
18:15 Reception
19:00 Dinner
Friday, 10 April: Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen
Frederick Beiser (Syracuse, NY): Mendelssohn’s critique of Lessing’s
Ritchie Robertson (Oxford): Goethe, Laokoon, and the artistic depiction of
10:45 Refreshments
11:15 Katherine Harloe (Reading): Sympathy, tragedy, and the morality of
sentiment in the Laokoon
Alfred Nordmann (Darmstadt): Lessing’s pregnant moment in works of art
and technology
13:00 Lunch
14:30 Round-up discussion: Laokoon after 250 years
Attendance is free, but registration is required with Ms Turan Lackschewitz:
[email protected]
Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen:
Herzog-August-Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel: