Metropolitan miniatures are short prose texts written for newspaper feuilletons by major French, German, and Austrian modernists. In their very form, they reflect the fleeting experiences of modern city life in the late 19th and early 20th century. Akin to the snapshot and the film strip, the miniature takes its cue from the visual media, but then reconstitutes literature's Eigensinn vis-à-vis the threat to literature emanating from photography and film.
Drawing on Critical Theory, the lecture will give a conceptual framework for reading this major body of modernist literary experimention which has been hiding in plain sight. Kafka and Musil will exemplify this new form which was not a form.
This event is co-sponsored by The Institute of the Humanities, The Taubman School of Architecture, and the Department of Comparative Literature.
Professor Andreas Huyssen, Columbia University