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Mignon's AfterlivesCrossing Cultures from Goethe to the Twenty-First Century$
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Terence Cave

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604807

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604807.001.0001

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The Mignon Corpus

The Mignon Corpus

Preliminary Considerations

(p.14) 1 The Mignon Corpus
Mignon's Afterlives

Terence Cave

Oxford University Press

A preliminary analysis of Mignon’s signature song ‘Kennst du das Land’ establishes a narrative and thematic point of departure for the study. A series of different methodological perspectives and problems are then considered. The nature of cultural collections and of the Mignon corpus as an example of such collections is explored and the notion of ‘category’ introduced: Mignon and her successors share a set of family resemblances rather than of defining features. The suspicion of sentimentality and kitsch that is often associated with the corpus is addressed, after which the question of collective cultural memory leads to a discussion of the concept ‘afterlives’ and to the problem of retrospective reading. The chapter concludes with the notion of Mignon as a figure of cultural translation, crossing the borders of gender, adolescence, genre, historical period, high culture and popular culture as well as of national culture.

Keywords:   ‘Kennst du das Land’, cultural collections, categories, family resemblances, sentimentality, kitsch, cultural memory, afterlives, retrospective reading, cultural translation

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