DFG Research Training Group Globalization and Literature. Representations, Transformations,  Interventions

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Isabel Kranz

Dr. Isabel Kranz



Dr. Kranz is currently Principal Investigator of the Research Project "Literary Botanics" (funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation) at the Department of German Studies at the University of Vienna. She was Postdoc at the Research Training Group from 2014 to 2016.

Abstract of the Research Project Floral Messages. Language and Botany, Gender and Order 1700–2000

This project investigates the relations between flowers and epistemology from 1700 to 2000. It starts with the concurrent emergence of two floral languages in the early 18th century: firstly, a flower-based ideographic sign system arising in France, relying on the idea that flowers can be combined to encode secret messages; and secondly, Linnaean taxonomy in which flowers structure the linguistic order of the plant kingdom. Departing from these rhetorical and taxonomic founding scenes, I trace the history of floral knowledge between language, gender and the spatial and social orders. My leading hypothesis is that along with the exoteric systematization of plants around 1750, an esoteric knowledge was delegated to flowers that can be traced in aesthetic and literary as well as scientific discourses up to the present time. I will inquire how, in distinctly different disciplinary and historical contexts, flowers can be understood as images of transmission, translation, and transposition. The material is taken from the realm of the aesthetic as well as from scientific discourse. While the primary methodology employed is minute and sensitive analysis of texts, the project’s theoretical backbone is formed by rhetoric and semiotics as well as media studies, the history of science and discourse analysis.


Sprechende Blumen. Ein ABC der Pflanzensprache. Band 11 der Reihe Naturkunden, ed. Judith Schalansky. Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2014.

"Raumgewordene Vergangenheit". Walter Benjamins Poetologie der Geschichte. München: Fink, 2011.

"Medium und Genre. Panoramatische Literatur als historiographisches Material in Walter Benjamins Passagenarbeit". In: Nathalie Preiss, Valérie Stiénon (eds.): Interférences Littéraires/Literaires interferenties 8 (Mai 2012), Croqués par eux-mêmes: La société à l’épreuve du panoramique.

"Einleitung". In: Isabel Kranz (ed.): Was wäre wenn? Alternative Gegenwarten und Projektionen in die Zukunft um 1914. München: Fink, erscheint im Frühjahr 2016.

"Presque une féerie: Le roman de Pierre Loti Madame Chrysanthème (1887)". In: Jörg Dünne und Gesine Hindemith (eds.): Lendemains. Études comparées sur la France, Sonderheft "La féerie autour de 1900 – une figure de la modernité?", Tübingen: Narr, 2014, S. 19–32.

"Über die günstigen Erfolge der Wechselbefruchtung. Adaption und Adaptation". In: Jörg Dünne, Martin Jörg Schäfer, Myriam Suchet und Jessica Wilker (eds.): Les Intraduisibles/Unübersetzbarkeiten: Sprachen, Literaturen, Medien, Kulturen/Langues, Littératures, Médias, Cultures, Paris: Collection du CéP, Editions des Archives contemporaines, 2013, S. 355–369.

"Die stumme Sprache der Blumen: Selamographie in Pixerécourts Les Ruines de Babylone, ou le Massacre des Barmécides (1810)". In: Bettine Menke, Armin Schäfer und Daniel Eschkötter (eds.): Das Melodram. Ein Medienbastard, Berlin: Verlag Theater der Zeit, 2013, S. 75–95.