Great Books by German Women in the Age of Emotion, 1770-1820
Title Details

310 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Women and Gender in German Studies

Imprint: Camden House

Great Books by German Women in the Age of Emotion, 1770-1820

by Margaretmary Daley

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  • Contents
  • Author
Emphasizing the role of and portrayal of emotion, this study argues for the inclusion of six late-eighteenth-century German-language novels by and about women in a revised canon.
Literature written by women in German during the "Age of Goethe" was largely considered unworthy Trivialliteratur. Using insights from Gender Studies yet acknowledging the need for a literary canon, Great Books by German Women offers a critical interpretation of six canon-worthy German novels written by women in the period, which it calls the "Age of Emotion." The novels are chosen because they depict women's ordinary yet interesting lives and because each contains prose particularly expressive of emotion. Sophie von La Roche's Die Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim draws on the tradition of the epistolary novel while finding new ways to depict empathetic emotions. Friederike Unger's Julchen Grünthal brings to the Frauenroman or women's novel the use of irony to portray a heroine's emotions during her coming of age. Sophie Mereau's Blütenalter der Empfindung imagines women's affinity for the philosophical sublime, while Caroline Wolzogen depicts female desire in her Agnes von Lilien: both add lyricism to their prose, capturing sensual emotions. Karoline Fischer's Die Honigmonathe explores the agony that extreme emotions cause - not only for women but for men. And Caroline Pichler's Frauenwürde expands the focus from a young heroine to multiple mature characters. This study concludes that the influence of these six works was in no way trivial, either in portraying women's lives and emotions or in the history of German literature.
Introduction: Passion and Prejudice: Toward a New Literary Canon for the German Novel
1: An Anglophile Fräulein and Her Epistolary Emotions: Die Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim (1771) by Sophie von La Roche
2: Reading for Pleasure vs. Reading for Pain: Julchen Grünthal: Eine Pensionsgeschichte (1784) by Friederike Unger
3: Sympathy for the Sublime: Das Blütenalter der Empfindung (1794) by Sophie Mereau
4: The Legitimacy of Passionate Narrative and the Metanarrative of Anonymity: Agnes von Lilien (1796) by Caroline von Wolzogen
5: Monstrous Pathos and the Agony of Female Influence: Die Honigmonathe(1804) by Caroline Fischer
6: Adultery Rewarded: Women's Emotions and Men's Indignity in Frauenwürde (1818) by Caroline Pichler
Conclusion: Great Books, Or: The Laurel Wreath as a Mixed Blessing
Appendix A: Publication Information and Plot Summaries, Chronologically Listed
Appendix B: Biographies of the Novelists
Bibliography
Index

MARGARETMARY DALEY is Associate Professor of German at Case Western Reserve University and author of Women of Letters: A Study of Self and Genre in the Personal Writing of Caroline Schlegel-Schelling, Rahel Levin Varnhagen, and Bettina von Arnim (Camden House, 1998).
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Title Details

310 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Women and Gender in German Studies

Imprint: Camden House