Hans Von Trotha
ifk Gast des Direktors

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2022 bis 31. January 2023

On the Gradual Professionalization of Dilettantism While Writing. Theory and Practice


After the international success of his latest novel Pollak’s Arm (2021) Hans von Trotha is applying the same procedure to another topic, which means: exploring an (art) historical issue in fictional dialogues and on the basis of scientific research. Underlying this approach is the question: to what extent it is possible to acquire historical knowledge using literary instead of scientific techniques?

Again, the setting is Rome. The time of the events discussed is around 1750, their reconstruction around 1790. Issues covered include the techniques people used to appropriate the world in the course of Enlightenment; how this procedure shaped (or deformed) personalities; how societies reacted to the upheaval; what role the concept of dilettantism played; landscape gardening as an important new medium of the Enlightenment; and the role of women in this complex portrait of an era.


Hans von Trotha studied German literature, philosophy, and history in Heidelberg and Berlin. His Ph.D. dissertation was about the mutual influence of eighteenth-century literature, philosophy, and gardening. He was editor-in-chief, then publisher, of Nicolai Verlag, Berlin, for ten years and subsequently a consultant for the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). He has published several fiction and non-fiction books. As a curator he has been involved in various exhibitions and festivals. During research stays in England and China, he deepened his knowledge of the history and philosophy of garden art, a field in which he is an internationally recognized expert. His book The English Garden. A Journey through Its History is a classic. Hans von Trotha is a Berlin-based author, publicist, and curator, as well as a frequent contributor to German national radio on literature, cultural history, and historical topics.


Pollaks Arm, Berlin 2021; Im Garten der Romantik, Berlin 2016; Angenehme Empfindungen. Medien einer populären Wirkungsästhetik im 18. Jahrhundert vom Landschaftsgarten bis zum Schauerroman, München 1999.

12 December 2022
  • Lecture
Hans von Trotha

!ACHTUNG! NUR ONLINE: Über die allmähliche Professionalisierung des Dilettantismus beim Schreiben. Theorie und Praxis

Im 18. Jahrhundert wurde Rom auch für eine populäre europäische Kultur zum zentralen Mythos. In einem auf intensiver Recherche beruhenden Roman wird Hans von Trotha davon erzählen und davon, wie segensreich die Bewegung des Dilettantismus für die Kultur der Zeit gewesen ist. Und wie gefährlich.