The Philosophical Narrative as a Semiotic Laboratory of Theatrical Language: The Case of Jean Paul in the Context of the Russian Reception
Jean Paul (Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, 1763–1825), one of the most unorthodox German writers, eludes classification under the titles of Romanticism, classicism, neo-baroque, or sentimentalism, his oeuvre embodying the cultural project of the transitional period of the turn of the nineteenth century. His texts, dubbed a “dreadful monster” by Thomas Carlyle and considered “unbelievably mature” by Goethe, seem to comprise multiple incongruous layers, aesthetic techniques, literary styles, cultures and identities, drawing the reader into a phantasmagoric space, astoundingly ordinary and yet surreal at the same time. This study seeks to demonstrate this creative (contrapuntal and ironical) multilayeredness and identify Jean Paul’s mechanisms of creating literary works and essays in philosophical aesthetics, which, on the one hand, fit into the cultural context of the “end of the age of rhetoric”, and on the other, anticipate the challenges of the upcoming age of modernist art. A large-scale symposium held several years ago in Moscow discussed the comparative issues associated with the reception of Jean Paul’s works in various national contexts where his ideas, images, techniques, and strategies have been employed for local cultural and literary needs.The reception of Jean Paul in Russian literature has been intense, with the 2010s seeing another climax in interpretation of his oeuvre.