Bending the Frame in the German Cyclical Narrative: Achim Von Arnim's Der Wintergarten & E.T.A. Hoffmann's Die Serapionsbrüder

Catholic University of America Press, 1991 - 305 sidor
The frame story, a series of stories presented within a narrative, has been a staple in the catalog of literary genres ever since people started to tell tales. It enables the writer to integrate a wealth of heterogeneous material and to comment on contemporary events as well. German writers of the Romantic period, such as Achim von Arnim in Der Wintergarten (1809) and E. T. A. Hoffmann in Die Serapionsbruder (1818-21), followed Goethe in his expansion of the frame and began to experiment with the genre, making the first significant changes to the structure of the frame story in several hundred years. Written early in his career, Arnim's work has never received the attention it deserves. It provides us with an early example of tendencies that became important in his later work, such as the manner in which he adapted sources from the past for the present. His frame characters try to confront the reality of the Napoleonic wars and their significance for the Germans. Unlike Arnim's Der Wintergarten Hoffmann's Serapionsbruder was written near the end of his life. In the frame conversations, Hoffmann set down some of his final commentaries on major issues in German Romanticism: madness, the problems of the artist, and extrasensory phenomena. Consequently, the frame is an important and previously neglected interpretative resource, not only for the inner stories here, but also for the major works of both Arnim and Hoffmann. Vickie L. Ziegler examines these two cyclical narratives that are representative of two traditions (Arnim of Goethe's and Hoffmann of Tieck's) and then studies the interaction between the frames and the inner stories. She demonstrates, by means of strict and detailed textualanalysis, that there are significant linkages of meaning among the frame discourses and inner narratives. Written primarily for scholars of the late eigtheenth- and nineteenth- century German literature, this learned and perceptive volume will also interest students of comparative literature and medievalism.

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