9781571131430 / 1571131434

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About the book:

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.

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