Private Lives in the Public Sphere: The German Bildungsroman as Metafiction

Overview

""Todd Kontje addresses a number of intriguing problems in the literary history of this important moment in German development, not all of which can be easily separated into discrete categories, and he does it elegantly and with a strict attention to the literature under consideration. It will be a welcome addition to the study of the novel."" ---Kenneth Weisinger, University of California, Berkeley
Private Lives in the Public Sphere examines the Bildungsroman in the context of the rapid changes that affected the...
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Overview

""Todd Kontje addresses a number of intriguing problems in the literary history of this important moment in German development, not all of which can be easily separated into discrete categories, and he does it elegantly and with a strict attention to the literature under consideration. It will be a welcome addition to the study of the novel."" ---Kenneth Weisinger, University of California, Berkeley
Private Lives in the Public Sphere examines the Bildungsroman in the context of the rapid changes that affected the German literary revolution that made up for its belatedness in its rapidity and scope. The nature and quantity of reading material produced, the social status of the writer, and the reading habits of the public changed dramatically within a few decades. At the beginning of the century the new texts that appeared at the annual book fairs were primarily written in Latin and devoted to theology. By the end of the century the number of new publications each year has increased almost exponentially, with the novel leading the way. This new institution of literature constituted an important part of what Jurgen Habermas has termed the ""public sphere,"" a forum for public debate in which members of the middle class, although still limited in their direct access to political power, could at least begin to articulate their problems and formulate their hopes. The Bildungsroman emerged during this period.
This study focuses on moments of literary self-consciousness in the Bildungsroman as reflections on the rapid transformation of the German literary institution. The novels are viewed as examples of what Patricia Waugh has called ""metafiction,"" that is, ""fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality."" By concentrating on the interaction between literary form and institutional context in these novels, it becomes possible to mediat
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271026480
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 3/24/2005
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Todd Kontje is Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The German Bildungsroman as Metafiction 1
2 Private Life in the Public Sphere: Heinrich Jung-Stilling's Lebensgeschichte (1777-1804) 19
3 Creative Destruction: Karl Philipp Moritz's Anton Reiser (1785-90) 33
4 The Aesthetic Alienation of Wilhelm Meister (1795-97) 51
5 Professional Romanticism: Ludwig Tieck's Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen (1798) 79
6 Nostalgic and Progressive Utopias in Novalis's Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1800) 97
7 Self-Engendering Fictions in Jean Paul's Flegeljahre (1804-5) 123
8 From Cultural Renaissance to Political Reaction: E.T.A. Hoffmann's Kater Murr (1819-21) 143
9 Conclusion 161
Works Cited 167
Index 181
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