A Companion to German Realism 1848-1900

A Companion to German Realism 1848-1900

Edited by Todd Kontje


Camden House



New, specially commissioned essays on representative works of 19th-century German realism.
This volume of new essays by leading scholars treats a representative sampling of German realist prose from the period 1848 to 1900, the period of its dominance of the German literary landscape. It includes essays on familiar, canonical authors -- Stifter, Freytag, Raabe, Fontane, Thomas Mann -- and canonical texts, but also considers writers frequently omitted from traditional literary histories, such as Luise Mühlbach, Friedrich Spielhagen, Louise von François, Karl May, and Eugenie Marlitt. The introduction situates German realism in the context of both German literary history and of developments in other European literatures, and surveys the most prominent critical studies of ninteenth-century realism. The essays treat the following topics: Stifter's Brigitta and the lesson of realism; Mühlbach, Ranke, and the truth of historical fiction; regional histories as national history in Freytag's Die Ahnen; gender and nation in Louise von François's historical fiction; theory, reputation, and the career of Friedrich Spielhagen; Wilhelm Raabe and the German colonial experience; the poetics of work in Freytag, Stifter, and Raabe; Jewish identity in Berthold Auerbach's novels; Eugenie Marlitt's narratives of virtuous desire; the appeal of Karl May in the Wilhelmine Empire; Thomas Mann's portrayal of male-male desire in his early short fiction; and Fontane's Effi Briest and the end of realism.

Contributors: Robert C. Holub, Brent O. Petersen, Lynne Tatlock, Thomas C. Fox, Jeffrey L. Sammons, John Pizer, Hans J. Rindisbacher, Irene S. Di Maio, Kirsten Belgum, Nina Berman, Robert Tobin, Russell A. Berman.

Todd Kontje is professor of German at the University of California, San Diego.


420 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
Paperback, 9781571134455, June 2010
Hardback, 9781571133229, January 2002
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT020000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reawakening German Realism - Todd Kontje
Adalbert Stifter's Brigitta, or the Lesson of Realism - Robert C. Holub
Mühlbach, Ranke, and the Truth of Historical Fiction - Brent O. Peterson
"In the Heart of the Heart of the Country": Regional Histories as National History in Gustav Freytag's Die Ahnen (1872-80)(1872-80) -
A Woman's Post: Gender and Nation in Historical Fiction by Louise von François - Thomas C. Fox
Friedrich Spielhagen: The Demon of Theory and the Decline of Reputation - Jeffrey L Sammons
Wilhelm Raabe and the German Colonial Experience - John Pizer
From National Task to Individual Pursuit: The Poetics of Work in Freytag, Stifter, and Raabe - Hans J. Rindisbacher
Das Republikanische, das Demokratische, das Pantheistische: Jewish Identity in Berthold Auerbach's Novels - Irene Stocksiecker Di Maio
E. Marlitt: Narratives of Virtuous Desire - Kirsten Belgum
The Appeal of Karl May in the Wilhelmine Empire: Emigration, Modernization, and the Need for Heroes - Nina Berman
Making Way for the Third Sex: Liberal and Antiliberal Impulses in Mann's Portrayal of Male-Male Desire in His Early Short Fiction - Robert Tobin
Effi Briest and the End of Realism - Russell A. Berman


This outstanding collection of essays on the writing of this period provides an excellent overview of this great age of fiction. The contributors are among the very best of German literary critics.... CHOICE

The volume's contribution in documenting current scholarly trends in a field that, according to Kontje, suffers from a "bad reputation," is great: it opens new windows onto neglected areas of consideration. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

...notable for its welcome focus on national identity and on marginalized voices... GERMAN QUARTERLY

These essays are all excellent studies that should stimulate renewed interest in 19th-century German realism. MONATSHEFTE

Major figures of realism are treated - Stifter, Freytag, Raabe and Fontane - but also lesser-known names such as Mühlbach, Louise von Francois, Spielhagen, Auerbach, and even Karl May, author of Winnetou, in connection with German emigration to the United States.... ETUDES GERMANIQUES

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