Barthold Heinrich Brockes’ Physico-Theology of Smell

Krause, Frank. 2024. Barthold Heinrich Brockes’ Physico-Theology of Smell. ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics, 13(2), ISSN 1339-1119 [Article] (Forthcoming)

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Abstract or Description

Studies on the significance of olfaction for philosophical aesthetics are justifiably interested in innovative literary explorations of links between aesthetic values and olfactory perceptions. In this context, the early Enlightenment poetry by Barthold Heinrich Brockes has remained neglected: literary historians rarely pay attention to his approaches to smell, and the few pertinent studies appeared in German only. This article introduces the English-speaking public to the valuation of smell in the theological aesthetics of Brockes’ poems, and it concludes with a sketch of his contribution to the tradition of modern cultic smelling, in which the olfactory and the aesthetic are variously intertwined. He thematises smelling as an emotional climax of human relations to external nature which are validated by a sacred essence of the experiential world, the awareness of which can be conjured up through innerworldly poetic thought. This interpretive pattern of olfactory culture has remained relevant to the present day.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


March 2024Accepted
June 2024Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2024 10:56

Last Modified:

26 Mar 2024 11:46

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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