Men Viewing Women as Art Objects

Men Viewing Women as Art Objects

Studies in German Literature

Christoph E. Schweitzer

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Varied images of women studied in a variety of German texts as a springboard for plot or character.
A man looks at the portrait of a woman and then sets out to 'liberate'her and make her his own (Die Zauberflöte, Maria Stuart); an oldman, while looking at the picture of his youthful beloved, reminiscesabout his failed courtship (Storm's Immensee). These are just twoof many uses of art works depicting women discussed in this book. Theart work can displace the living woman as in Hauff's 'Die Bettlerinvom Pont des Arts', in Jensen's 'Gradiva', and in Schimmang's'Intimität'. A man looking at a painting of himself (E. T. A.Hoffmann's Die Fermate) or a man looking at a sculpture comes toappreciate the beauty of the female figure, both in art and life(Stifter's Der Nachsommer). The innovative approach, which in part goes back to theories developed by Lessing in his Laokoon, yields, via a close reading of a variety of the texts, new insights into their structure and meaning.

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