2009 German Studies Conference, Mar 13-15

The Threat and Allure of the Magical in Literature, Language, Philosophy, History and the Arts
17th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference

Dating back to the 9th Century Old High German Merseburg Incantations (die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) and their influence on the fairy-tale world of the Brothers Grimm, references to the magical boil forth from a wide range of cultural forms, from Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) in music to Werner Herzog’s Invincible in film. In silent film, modern literature and the arts, magic both heralded and haunted an artistic revolution in which the avant-garde and the occult recurrently intersected. In critical theory, ideology is often described in terms of a spell. Accordingly, this conference presents an opportunity to explore these cultural encounters with the magical and further inquire why this space of radical alterity carries such an allure and/or threat.