Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Campe
Rüdiger Campe (PhD, Freiburg 1986) is the Alfred C. and Martha F. Mohr Professor of German and Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. He has been a Professor of German at John Hopkins and Visiting Professor at NYU, the universities of Konstanz, Siegen, Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder) and others. He was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Berlin, the International Institute for Cultural Studies at Vienna, and the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale. He was awarded the Aby-Warburg Research Prize, Hamburg, und the Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation.
Rudiger Campe has worked on rhetoric (since Aristotle) and aesthetics (since Baumgarten), as well as interrelations between literature, science, and the law; in this context he has published on the history and theory of (self)evidence, advocacy (speaking-for), and auto-affection. Areas of concentration in literary history are the baroque theater, reception studies, and the novel of the institution in modernism. He has published on, among others, Racine, Gryphius, Baumgarten, Goethe, Lichtenberg, Kleist Büchner, Kafka, Joyce, Lukács, and Musil, as well as the work of Hans Blumenberg. In 2021, the Modern Language Notes, comparative literature, devoted a special issue to his concept of the Writing Scene.
Rudiger Campe is co-editor of the book series Paradigms at DeGruyter and a member of the advisory boards at the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Berlin, the Erich-Auerbach-Institute at Cologne and the Center of Cultural Studies at the university of Graz.
- Affekt und Ausdruck. Zur Umwandlung der literarischen Rede im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert, Tübingen 1990.
- Game of Probability. Literature and Calculation between Pascal and Kleist, Stanford 2012 (German, 2002).
- with A. Haverkamp und Chr. Menke: Baumgarten-Studien. Zur Genealogie der Ästhetik, Berlin 2014.
- Die Institution im Roman. Robert Musil, Würzburg 2020.
- Co-ed. with M. Schneider: Geschichten der Physiognomik. Text – Bild - Wissen, Freiburg 1996.
- Co-ed. with C. Buckley, F. Casetti: Screen Genealogies. From Optical Device to Environmental Medium, Amsterdam 2019.
Research topic: Energeia, a term between rhetoric and geometry (Aristotle)
The project is devoted to the notion of energeia in Aristotle (as well as in its context of contemporary Greek philosophy and mathematics). According to my underlying assumption, the questions I would like to pursue circumscribe the basis of a constellation of force, figuration, and diagrammatic imagination as it has been relevant and valid well into Europe’s Early Modern times. This project is, however, largely restricted to what I assume is the constellation’s point of departure in Aristotle.
The core concept of Aristotelian metaphysics – energeia – is used in this context in a particular connection. It appears as what is ‘pro ommaton,’ i.e. what ‘stands before one’s eyes,’ an expression Aristotle relates to the ‘vivid’ metaphor in the Rhetoric as well as, in De anima, the intuition of the geometric figure. Whereas there is ample scholarship about the ‘pro ommaton (poiein)’ of metaphor, we know much less about the connections with intuition and figuration in geometry. It is this connection, however, which I assume to be fundamental for understanding the configuration of force, figuration, and imagination.
The study will use the method of a history of terminology. What is in this case meant by terminology is the use of a concept in various changing areas (or discourses). Only if a certain concept is explored together with the various discursive fields in which it appears, I assume we are able to approach the fundamental semantic historic in its full meaning and importance.
Research results: Energeia, a term between rhetoric and geometry (Aristotle)
Since the end of the last century, the importance of the concept and the practices of “intuition and evidence” for the development of arts and sciences in early modernity is well known; and much has been said about the role “intuition and evidence” has played in the development of aesthetics before Kant (Baumgarten). There is also considerable scholarship concerning the prehistory of the complex of “intuition and evidence” in Latin rhetoric and poetics of the Middle Ages and Early Modernity (representational evidence in enargeia and dynamic evidence in energeia). Less attention has been paid, however, to the fact that the pair of figural practices in description and narration, enargeia and energeia, was preceded in the Greek – i.e., Aristotelian – rhetorical doctrine by metaphor. More precisely, the metaphor in question here is the specific process by which what is inanimate or abstract is translated into living, moving being (the metaphor which “puts something before the eyes” and that has an energetic function). I was able to show how, in Aristotle, psychology and geometry, physics, the theory of memory and metaphysics contribute in various ways to this metaphorical process in which inanimate entities come into being as living and moving beings. Contrary to my prior assumptions, however, this does not mean that the tension between representational enargeia and dynamic energeia originated in Aristotle out of a unity of concept and figure, metaphysics and rhetoric, resp. poetics. Far from that, the “putting before the eyes” in geometry, for instance, has no connection for Aristotle with the energeia of the psychology where the soul appears as the principle of life and movement in humans and animals. Different from what I had expected, it turned out that it is a political aspect under which “putting before the eyes” and energeia come together in the figural process of the “living metaphor.” The “living metaphor,” in which ”putting before the eyes” in geometry has the function of energeia (the principle of life in the philosophy of the soul), emerges in Aristotle’s Rhetoric under the heading of “asteia (that which belongs to the city).” “Asteia” (urbanitas) is a specific kind of speaking and exchange that has its place and possibility in the polis. If we take this seriously – thus was and is the upshot for me – then we must assume a political context as the background for our own understanding of intuition and evidence in our world – political, that is to say, in a broad sense of the word.