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Speaker: Sarah Fengler (Oxford)

This lecture explores animal metaphors of mortality and metamorphosis in three eighteenth-century works of religious literature. Gessner’s epic poem Der Tod Abels (1758) describes how the discovery of a dead bird prompts Eve to reflect on her responsibility for human mortality. Klopstock’s hymnic poem ‘Die Frühlingsfeyer’ (1759) questions the impermanence of life by the example of a little insect, the ‘Frühlingswürmchen’. In Lavater’s play Abraham und Isaak (1776), the metamorphosis of a butterfly proves that death is the threshold to eternity. What were the functions of animal metaphors in the literary reception of the Bible, and how did they
shape the German-language tradition of religious literature?

This lecture will be held in person (Room G37, Senate House) and will be streamed live via Zoom. 

Attendance is free. Advance registration is essential.