Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
The Book as a landscape
- There is a long tradition of regarding landscapes as texts and texts as landscapes. Characterizing visually experienced nature as a text implies stressing its meaningfulness, its character as a message or an expression. According to an old metaphor that was highly esteemed in medieval Christian culture as well as in early modem science, nature itself is a divine message addressed to mankind, analogously to the holy scriptures, revealing the will of God as the superior "author" to those who are able to decipher the signs. As a consequence of the process of secularization, art gains authority over the signs of nature, and it is the artist who creates messages by composing the elements of the visual world. The idea of interpreting texts as landscapes seems less evident at the first moment; it implies the notion of texts and landscapes as artificial products which depend on an individual human subject's intentions.