Germanic Languages and Literatures
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Chair and Committee
Gunpowder technology had been in Europe since the fourteenth century, but it took two hundred years before German authors were aware of its social and aesthetic implications. When early modern people discussed gunpowder warfare in texts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries they were astonished by its ability to destroy people, places, and things, as well as an aesthetic of warfare upon which war stories had long been based: heroics. While modern historians still debate the quantitative impact of gunpowder technology on society, early modern authors and eyewitnesses were in unanimous agreement: Gunpowder changed the way they thought about war. At the same time, an aesthetic discrepancy between past heroic narratives and a present unheroic reality, made possible by gunpowder weapons, needed to be worked out. Using a theory that I call "aesthetic dissonance," this project explores the impact of technology on aesthetic representation through the case of gunpowder warfare.
Brugh, Patrick, "Mediating War in Early Modern German Prose" (2012). All Theses and Dissertations (ETDs). 683.