New Approaches to Theodor Fontane

New Approaches to Theodor Fontane

Cultural Codes in Flux

Edited by Marion Doebeling


Hardback out of stock

Camden House



New essays on the leading German novelist of the late 19th century, Theodor Fontane, in the light of recent literary theories.
This collection of essays offers eight incisive perspectives on the novels and essays of Theodor Fontane (1819-1898). While Fontane scholarship has primarily focused on the 'objective' portrayal of 19th-century German/Prussian culture and on the authenticity with which his work supposedly mirrors social reality, this collection investigates rhetorical and communicative patterns in the works that call this mirroring effect into question, emphasizing the difficulty - and ultimate impossibility - of 'realist' representation.
Here 19th-century German realism is re-evaluated as a set of normative conventions - one which, at crucial points in Fontane's narratives, breaks down. But it is precisely at these points of breakdown where some of the most repressed and excluded aspects of Fontane's culture can be uncovered.
Each of the essays reads the textual unconscious in a different way: as patterns of cultural disturbance, as the unmasking of male hysteria, as essayistic gaps, as gender prejudice. The authors present readings of Fontane that attempt to give an account of the multi-layered interplay of cultural codes and rhetorical conventions present in his time with reference to some of the most recent advances in literary, psychoanalytical, and media theory.

Marion Doebeling holds a Ph.D. in German literature from the Univeristy of California, Davis.


July 2000
202 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571131430
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LCO010000, LIT006000, LIT004170
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

Introduction: Breaking the Mimetic Chain--Patterns of Cultural Unground -
The Order of Appearance and Validation: On Perennial Classicism in Fontane's Society Novel Schach von Wuthenow - Horst Turk
On the Theory of the Essay and Fontane's England Essays as Modernist Signature -
Body and Nobility: The Interrelationship between Social Position and Bodily Condition in Stine - Ernst Hannemann
The Trauma of Separation: Public and Private Realms in Efi Briest - Sara Shostak
Cécile: Reading a Fatal Interpretation - Tilman Lang
History as Trauma: The Absent Ground of Meaning in Irrungen, Wirrungen - Randall Holt
Causerie: On the Function of Dialogue in Der Stechlin - Willi Goetschel
Grete Minde: Structures of Societal Disturbance - Sabine Cramer


Admirers of Fontane's last novel Der Stechlin will especially welcome Doebeling's important book. CHOICE

This collection offers...some interesting insight into Fontane's works. MONATSHEFTE

Also in Series