First English translation of a major historical novel by Wilhelm Raabe, famous late 19th-century German novelist.Wilhelm Raabe (1831-1910) was Germany's greatest realist novelist. He has been called by Jeffrey Sammons "the major novelist in the German language between Goethe and Fontane." Das Odfeld, first published in 1888-89, occupies an undisputed place among Raabe's dozen or so novels of the first rank. The historical novel, set during the Seven Years' War, portrays the socio-political system in eighteenth-century Prussia, the deplorable German habit of inviting calamity, the human effort to preserve and protect what is good, and the paltry success that such efforts usually have. From the question of how one may live in a time of great historical change without sacrificing one's humanity, the book derives its moral and ethical ambivalence, the tension that underlies its calm resignation. The Odin Field deals with a major period of German history: it reveals much about German customs, manners, and outlook during the eighteenth century, and yet it also deals with timeless ethical issues in a subtle and convincing manner. The work has never previously been translated into English. A detailed introduction and a generous number of notes provide context and background for the contemporary reader.
Michael Ritterson is associate professor of German at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania.
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
BIC FYT, 1DFG, 2AB, 3JH
BISAC FIC014000, LIT004170
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The translation is unusually successful and admirable, the edition meticulous and utterly free of error. JAHRBUCH DER RAABE-GESELLSCHAFT