Inaugural lecture by Marko Pajević, UT Professor of German Studies

On 11 October at 16:15, the University of Tartu Professor of German Studies Marko Pajević delivers his inaugural lecture “The Access to the World. Poetic Thinking and Reality” in the university assembly hall.

If we want to understand the world, we must first of all understand our access to it. In Professor Pajević’s view, when making sense of our perceptions, we necessarily recur to language. Our sensual perceptions pass through words in order for us to make sense of them and to establish what we consider the world we live in, our worldview. Consequently, meaning comes with language.

Literature can be considered the laboratory of meaning. If we want to think the specificity of literature, la chose littéraire, we must however think beyond the sign and find ways of considering other dimensions of meaning-making. Poetic thinking considers language not as a product but as an activity of the interaction between the form of language and the form of life. That implies that we have to consider the continuous (Henri Meschonnic) of language: we could say with Wilhelm von Humboldt that it is not the words that constitute speech but, on the contrary, the words emerge out of speech. Language is thus always determined by its unique situation. Reason must resonate with the world; we have to ‘reasonate’. This is the dialogical dimension of poetic thinking, the relationship primes.

Whence the need for a poetological anthropology. The Humanities then are ‘disciplines of meaning’, shaping our perception of reality.

Marko Pajević studied in Munich, Berlin and Paris and received his PhD at the Free University of Berlin and Paris 8 University on the poetics of Paul Celan, and his habilitation on Poetic Thinking in France. He taught at the Sorbonne, Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal Holloway University of London and Queen Mary University of London, and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre Marc Bloch (Humboldt University of Berlin) before taking up his appointment at Tartu in January 2018. He has published monographs on Paul Celan, Franz Kafka and Poetic Thinking and many articles on various aspects of poetics. For his recent and current projects, see Professor Marko Pajević’s work in Tartu is supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA project PER ASPERA, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

There will be a live webcast of the lecture, which can be viewed on the university’s video portaal

Additional information: Marko Pajević, Professor of German Studies, 58535504,