The Mignon Corpus

Terence Cave

in Mignon's Afterlives

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604807
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731624 | DOI:
The Mignon Corpus

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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

Chapter.  15343 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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