The Aphorism: Condensation and Surprise

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The aphorism is a literary-philosophical genre that has had an especially rich tradition in Germany, although it is known, of course, in other literary traditions. Referring to examples by some of the most famous aphorists—the 18th-century scientist Georg Lichtenberg, Goethe, Nietzsche, Elias Canetti, as well as the Rumanien-French writer E. M. Cioran—this presentation will demonstrate the possibilities of this genre and explain the source of its power and fascination.