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Samuel Frederick

Samuel Frederick

Assistant Professor of German

Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures


Title: A Poetics of Collecting: The Redemption of Things in German Realism and Modernism

I will be using the CHI fellowship to make headway on my second monograph, which looks to the discourses and practices of collecting to understand the precarious place of things in literary and cinematic works. I focus in particular on realist and modernist aesthetics in the German tradition and the problem of making visible or legible what is so small, fleeting, trivial, or devoid of use value that it falls below the threshold of representability. Drawing on thing theory, information theory, and ecocriticism this book thus turns from subjects to objects, from people to things, from human experience to inanimate matter in order to replace the traditional model of mimesis (imitation, reproduction of reality) with a model of collecting (accumulation, sorting and classifying of reality) as an alternative critical paradigm that is better able to come to terms with the neglected, contingent, and discarded things of the world.