4 Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Übertragung literaturwissenschaftlicher Terminologie auf Gegenstände der Kunstwissenschaft: Überlegungen zu einem Weg interdisziplinärer Verständigung am Beispiel von ‘Erzählsituationen’ und ‘Metafiktion’ [2007]

In: Selected Essays on Intermediality by Werner Wolf (1992–2014)


[Focusing on the scholarly discussion of intermedial phenomena, the essay discusses a general problem of interdisciplinarity, namely how to ensure communication between individual disciplines with reference to their various objects of research. Simply accepting the status quo, i. e. terminological pluralism, from the perspective of monomedial research is, in this context, as unwelcome as discarding scholarly terminological precision or limiting discussion to commonsensical notions. Among the three possible alternatives to these problematical options, the essay favours the following: rather than resorting to neologisms (since their fate is notoriously uncertain) transfer from areas in which given phenomena have extensively been researched is advisable, be it in the form of ‘importing’ terminology from one discipline to another or, preferably, by adapting discipline-specific terminology to broader uses in other disciplines. The problems occurring in such attempts at a terminological transfer are illustrated by means of two contrasting examples, both stemming from literary studies dealing with fiction (in principle, other disciplines could have been used as well) and by asking the following questions: can a) the narratological concept of ‘narrative situation’ (Erzählsituation) as described by F.K. Stanzel and b) the notion of ‘metareference’ (as in ‘metafiction’) be transferred to pictures and hence be integrated into the discourse of art history? While in the former case, in spite of some analogies between fiction and pictures, the answer is negative (since pictures are not necessarily narrative in the first place and can hardly represent narrators as transmitters of represented worlds), the latter case is more promising: literary subforms of metafiction can, with some adaptations, be found in pictures, and compounds using ‘meta-’ can meaningfully be used in order to denote media-specific phenomena and even genres. Three criteria should, however, be applicable as a precondition of a terminological transfer from a source to a target discipline: a) the existence of analogies in the media at hand to a degree that warrants a common terminology; b) in the source discipline, a sufficiently clear description of the phenomenon in question as well as of the term to be transferred; and c) a sufficient heuristic benefit of the transfer itself. In conclusion, some areas are mentioned in which a common terminology for different arts and media could yield interesting results, and moreover some problems of interdisciplinarity are addressed which today’s tendency towards ever-increasing specialization in study programmmes and research courses have created.]

Selected Essays on Intermediality by Werner Wolf (1992–2014)

Theory and Typology, Literature-Music Relations, Transmedial Narratology, Miscellaneous Transmedial Phenomena



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