The Novel as Archive

The Novel as Archive

The Genesis, Reception, and Criticism of Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre

Ehrhard Bahr


Hardback out of stock

Camden House



Goethe's novel defined as a key work anticipating modernist novels of 20th century.
A fresh study of one of the most perplexing and daring novels ever written, one that was largely misunderstood when it first appeared, and which has emerged only in the last two decades as a work that pointed forward, stylistically and structurally, to the modernist novels of the twentieth century. Bahr shows how Goethe subordinated the role of the author-narrator, making use of a variety of sophisticated narrative devices, such as the archive, the interpolated novella (some of whose characters appear as 'real' figures in the novel itself!) to distance himself from the work, thus ironizing its apparent meaning.


October 1998
139 pages
22.8x15.2 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571130969
Format: Hardback
Camden House
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[Bahr's] view of [the novel] as being characterized by ambiguity, multiplicity of perspective, destabilization of genre, analogy, mirroring, ironical structure, and resistance to closure, clears masses of critical debris and opens the doors to a more adequate understanding. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES'Bahr sees the archive fiction [used by Goethe] as a confirmation of Foucault's thesis of the death of the author, which in Bahr's interpretation is to be set several decades earlier than Foucault had done with reference to Mallarmé. GERMANISTIK

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