n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Chamisso und Payer auf Reisen
Entdecken, Aufzeichnen und Erzählen über die Arktis

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



The submission analyses the relationship between poetry and knowledge in travelogues and fiction in the 19th century. The study draws on texts published in the context of the Rurik-Expedition led by Otto von Kotzebue (1815-1818) and of the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition headed by Carl Weyprecht and Julius Payer (1872-1874). On the one hand the paper traces the changing scientific methods and aesthetic techniques employed by polar travellers. Whereas at the beginning of the century exploration travels follow a humanistic ideal, based on a universal broad concept of knowledge and a humble, self-reflective psychologically aware way of dealing with its subjects exploring at the end of the century involved expert knowledge, scientific competition, and a self-aggrandizing tendency. On the other hand the investigation reveals an intrinsic entanglement of epistemic and aesthetic practices. Hence, expedition travelogues use rethorical, narrative and iconographical strategies to organize knowledge, and fictional polar travels stimulate scientific discourse as they creatively rethink and discuss the nature of knowledge.

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