Aby Warburg: Energie und Pathos für die Kulturwissenschaften

The fact that Aby Warburg (1866-1929) is not only an important name for art history and iconology is proven by the numerous studies that focus on him and his intuitions in very different research fields: terms such as “Nachleben”, “Pathosformel”, “engram”, “energy” are, as it is known, important Warburghian categories, which do not find application exclusively in the historical-artistic field. Moreover, the very formation of the Hamburg iconologist moves between Nietzsche and Jacob Burkhardt, and the implications of his intuitions cannot but concern sometimes very different fields of knowledge. Warburg, in short, is not only the “unspeakable ancestor” of art history or “phantasmal father” of iconology, as Georges Didi-Huberman argues in his The Surviving Image. Phantoms of Time and Time of Phantoms: Aby Warburg’s History of Art (Pennsylvania University Press, 2016): he can also be considered as a hidden but pivotal father of cultural studies, precisely because of their visual character, of their uncannily substrate, of their energy-potential for history.

For all these reasons next issue of “links. Journal of German Literature and Culture / Zeitschrift für deutsche Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft” will focus on aspects of Warburg’s broad intellectual heritage and its impacts on other cultural areas, both in terms of historical reconstruction and in the form of a methodological proposal.