Romantic Scraps: Cutouts, Collages, and Inkblots


ACLS Fellowship Program


Germanic Languages and Literatures


This project explores the proliferation of paper-cuts (Scherenschnitte in German), collage, decoupage, and ink blots in German and Danish romanticism. Romantic authors and visual artists cut, glue, stain, and recycle paper; they generate paper-cuts, collages, and ink blot poems in profusion, and combine them in what are for their time striking new hybrid forms such as the picture books of fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen and medical doctor and poet Justinus Kerner. Scholarship on collage has almost completely ignored romantic innovations in cut paper. As the project shows, however, these deceptively minor works cross boundaries of gender, genre, and medium, and, challenging the scale of monumentality, are on the cutting edge.