A study of the evolution of the sub-genre of seduction and tragedy through three centuries of German drama.Stressing the verbal nature of seduction, with its roots in the unkept promise and the seduction discourse, the author reveals the core of the seduction interaction in the destruction of the father-daughter relationship. Once found sexually alluring by a man not of her father's choosing, the fate of the daughter is sealed. The only way she can demonstrate her virginal purity, to her father, her society, and herself, is by sacrifice and death.
In chapters dealing with Andreas Gryphius's Catharina von Georgien, Lessing's Miss Sara Sampson and Emilia Galotti, and Hebbel's Maria Magdalena, the author uncovers the archetypal patterns that always inform the dramatic conception of the daughter's seduction. Walsoe-Engel's analysis of Emilia Galotti is especially provocative, as she reveals the source of the much disputed inconsistency and ambiguity in the character of the title-figure. She provides a surprising answer to the age-old questions: 'Does Emilia love the Prince?' and 'Has Emilia been seduced?'
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
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"This is a highly readable study with a wealth of subtle close reading. In tapping such a rich vein, the author will surely provoke readers to think further." MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW