The perfect story: Anecdote and exemplarity in Linnaeus and Blumenberg

Thesis Eleven 104 (1):72-86 (2011)

Abstract
Hans Blumenberg’s work is characterized by a seemingly insatiable predilection for anecdotes — about Thales and Pyrrhus, Goethe and Fontane, Husserl and Wittgenstein, Polgar and Jünger. This essay explores the theoretical status of anecdotes by juxtaposing Carl Linnaeus’s Nemesis Divina with Blumenberg’s Care Crosses the River, both read alongside Aristotle’s notion of exemplarity and Joel Fineman’s delineation of the anecdote as the literary-historical form for expressing contingency. As a mode of thought at the nexus of literature and experience, anecdotes immediately pose the question of evidence. Even if true, an anecdote opens the issue of whether it is the exception or the norm, whether it only speaks for itself or assumes exemplary force, and what such exemplarity might mean. By juxtaposing two theorists qua anecdotists — Carl Linnaeus and Hans Blumenberg — this essay aims to show the inextricable relation between anecdote and example, and thus between anecdote and rhetoric, a counterpart and supplement to the poetics of metaphor within what one can call with Blumenberg a theory of nonconceptuality
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DOI 10.1177/0725513610394736
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References found in this work BETA

Anecdote and History.Lionel Gossman - 2003 - History and Theory 42 (2):143–168.

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A Note on a Curious Lie by Leibniz.Giuliano Gasparri - forthcoming - Intellectual History Review:1-11.

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