Research

Form of the Formless. A Text-Aesthetic Analysis of Jacob Böhme’s Writings

Giulia Baldelli

“Titelblatt [Figur], made by Michael Andreae for the complete edition Jacob Böhmen: Alle Theosophischen Wercken, Amsterdam 1682”

In her dissertation project “Form of the Formless. A Text-Aesthetic Analysis of Jacob Böhme’s Writings” (AT), she uses selected manuscripts and prints to examine the overforming and changing of the textual basis over the centuries. By analyzing the (material) textual form, i.e., for example, its organization, structure, and composition, she elaborates features of Boehme’s way of writing and its receptive overwriting. In addition to genre-theoretical and text-type-specific considerations for a more precise definition of Boehme’s texts and language, the focus is especially on questions of material representation and the resulting implications for the process of mystical writing (the writing down of revealed knowledge) in a broader sense as well as the interrelated processes of (integrated) reception, reading, and understanding. Questions of writing, written form, and notational iconicity are also tangential to hermetic-alchemical drawings and illustrations, which interact with the text and written form and influence the process of reception and understanding of mystical thought.
Boehme’s work “Von der wahren Gelassenheit” (1622) is at the center of her studies, whereby the focus lies not only on the textual object, questions of production and reception aesthetics, but also in particular on its contextual and representational classification in the tradition of writings on serenity since antiquity, to which Leon Battista Alberti’s “Della tranquillità dell’animo” can also be counted. 

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