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Volume 107, Number 4, Winter 2015 Table of Contents


Sarah Vandegrift Eldridge
Narrating (Im)Maturity: The Progressive Popularization of Enlightenment Principles in Wieland’s Geschichte des Agathon and Engel’s Herr Lorenz Stark
This article argues for scholarly attention to so-called ‘trivial literature’ as a site of the development of Enlightenment ideals of self-reflection and critical thinking. After establishing the bifurcation of the ‘canonical’ and the ‘trivial’ in literary scholarship, it traces 18th-century philosophical concern with spreading enlightenment in essays by Kant and Herder. It then turns to analyses of a canonical work of literature—Christoph Martin Wieland’s History of Agathon—and an exemplar of trivial literature—Johann Jakob Engel’s Herr Lorenz Stark—to assert that these novels, their significant differences in difficulty or accessibility notwithstanding, both depict processes of enlightenment and induce these processes in their readers via distinctive thematic and formal means. Trivial literature becomes a first step toward processes of individual maturity—and more difficult reading. I thus argue that it makes sense to move beyond the trivial/canonical bifurcation and investigate the literary world of the late eighteenth century as a malleable continuum. (SVE)


Malte Wessels
The Parrhesiastic Urszene of the Modern Novel in Wieland’s Geschichte des Agathon: Subject as Method
It appears that Christian von Blanckenburg presents two contradicting criteria for the modern novel: on the one hand it has to render visible the relationship of causes and effects that shape human life, on the other hand the subjects in fiction should be presented as autonomous and not as their author’s ‘machines.’ I argue that Blanckenburg’s notion of subjects in fiction depends on a ‘biocentric’ model that actually does not apply to the novel and its rhetorical surface. I will then present parrhesia as an alternative concept of authenticity that functions on the novel’s textual surface. I will present the final book of the third version of Wieland’s Geschichte des Agathon as a model case for parrhesia’s role in the construction and function of subjectivity in the 18th-century novel and argue that subjectivity can be understood as the novel’s method of self-authentification. (MW)


Brian Haman
Reevaluating Eichendorff’s Romanticism: Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts as Metafictional Parody
Generations of scholars have downplayed the formal significance of humor in Eichendorff’s Taugenichts. I argue that the novella is an example of romantic parody by an author who employed comic-critical strategies and ironic inversions in multiple genres throughout his career to establish a critical distance from normative aesthetic standards and modish literary trends. I highlight the intertextual, metafictional, and self-reflexive aspects of Taugenichts and decode its parodic references by focusing on the novella’s form and content. By combining elements from contemporary theories of parody by Margaret Rose and Linda Hutcheon with those of Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel, a definition of parody is offered, one that reflects recent developments while acknowledging the contributions of early German romantic theory. In addition to emphasizing its comic-critical relationship to works by Goethe, Loeben, Tieck, and Hoffmann (amongst others), Taugenichts is considered in connection with Eichendorff’s other works such as Ahnung und Gegenwart. Eichendorff’s self-reflexive parody partakes of a meta-epochal critique that marks his fiction as simultaneously representative of and at a remove from romanticism, and the modernity of his rhetorical strategies underscores the continued relevance of Taugenichts for contemporary debates surrounding the efficacy of humor in subverting official hierarchies and dominant discourses. (BH)


Sabine Wilke
„Die Katastrophe ist ein schwarzes Blatt“: Katastrophenmanagement und Umweltethik in Georg Kaisers Schauspiel Gas (1918)
Kaiser’s play presents the catastrophic explosion of a plant that produces the world’s supply of gas in the context of weighing strategies of risk management and certain positions in environmental ethics. An ecocritical reading of this expressionist play and its thematic focus on industrial automation, alienation, and the problems of modern mass society that lead to a vicious cycle of war and violence underscores the limitations of the aesthetic solutions that the play offers for these ethical concepts. While the hyperbolic staging of the explosion at the end of Act One and the debate of the various ethical positions that are offered for rebuilding society over the course of the remaining four acts raises awareness of some of the environmental issues that are related to that project, it nevertheless falls short of sketching a dimension that leads beyond the anthropocentrism, lack of a global perspective, and genuine interest in finding a sustainable solution that still informs these positions. (SW; in German)


Kamaal Haque
“Damals gingen die Schnulzen eben gut:” Luis Trenker and the Heimatfilm
Of those actors and directors who have come to be associated with the genre of the Heimatfilm, one name remains both curiously present and absent: Luis Trenker. On the one hand, Trenker continues to be present in the public consciousness as a representative of the Heimatfilm. On the other hand, Trenker focused much of his productivity during the main decade of the genre, the 1950s, on writing books rather than making films. The three films that he made that can be considered examples of the Heimatfilm, Flucht in die Dolomiten (1955), Von der Liebe besiegt (1956) and Wetterleuchten um Maria (1957), are only occasionally mentioned in histories and critical works on the Heimatfilm and never in great detail nor, justifiably, as exemplars of the genre. Nevertheless, in this article I will discuss these films in detail and argue that they are all unified by the false assumption of guilt. The young men who are falsely accused are exonerated when the truth about the true perpetrators, older and with more social capital than these young men, is revealed. I read this discourse of guilt in Trenker’s Heimatfilme as representing a particular strain in German thought regarding the legacy of the Nazi past: in these films, only the rich and powerful are truly guilty; the young and less powerful are innocent. (KH)



Introduction, German Departments in the U.S.A., German Departments in Canada, Promotions, New Appointments, Visitors, Retirements, Necrology, Doctoral Dissertations, Summary

Book Reviews

Askey, Jennifer Drake, Good Girls, Good Germans: Girls’ Education and Emotional Nationalism in Wilhelminian Germany (Daniela Richter)

Berghahn, Daniela, Far-Flung Families in Film: The Diasporic Family in Contemporary European Cinema (Randall Halle)

Bono, Francesco, Luigi Cimmino, and Giorgio Pangaro, eds., Morte a Venezia. Thomas Mann / Luchino Visconti: un confronto (Saskia Elizabeth Ziolkowski)

Carstensen, Thorsten, Romanisches Erzählen. Peter Handke und die epische Tradition (Katharina Pektor)

Cheesman, Tom, German Text Crimes: Writers Accused, from the 1950s to the 2000s (Siegfried Mews)

Choe, Steve, Afterlives: Allegories of Film and Mortality in Early Weimar Germany (Daniel H. Magilow)

Cimmino, Luigi, Daniele Dottorini, and Giorgio Pangaro, eds., Franz Kafka / Orson Welles: Il Processo (Saskia Elizabeth Ziolkowski)

Cook, Roger F., Lutz Koepnick, Kristin Kopp, and Brad Prager, eds., Berlin School Glossary: An ABC of the New Wave in German Cinema (David Clarke)

Cosgrove, Mary, Born Under Auschwitz: Melancholy Traditions in Postwar German Literature (Sonja Boos)

Dassanowsky, Robert von and Oliver C. Speck, eds., New Austrian Film (Jack Davis)

Elbing, Steffen, Heinrich Lersch (1889–1936). Eine literaturpolitische Biographie (Jost Hermand)

Ellis, Robert, Ernst Toller and German Society: Intellectuals as Leaders and Critics, 1914–1939 (Michael McGillen)

Fritsche, Maria, Homemade Men in Postwar Austrian Cinema: Nationhood, Genre and Masculinity (Erik N. Jensen)

Guerin, Frances, Through Amateur Eyes: Film and Photography in Nazi Germany (Darcy Buerkle)

Hofeneder, Veronika, Der produktive Kosmos der Gina Kaus. Schriftstellerin – Pädagogin – Revolutionärin (Erhard Schütz)

Ireton, Sean and Caroline Schaumann, eds., Heights of Reflection: Mountains in the German Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century (Christoph Weber)

Kauffmann, Kai, Stefan George. Eine Biographie (Rolf J. Goebel)

Krobb, Florian, and Elaine Martin, eds., Weimar Colonialism: Discourses and Legacies of Post-Imperialism in Germany after 1918 (Jill Suzanne Smith)

Küppers, Patrick, Die Sprache der Großstadt. Zeitkritik und ästhetische Moderne in den frühnaturalistischen Berlinromanen Max Kretzers (Jost Hermand)

May, Terrill John, Popular Fiction in the Age of Bismarck: E. Marlitt and her Narrative Strategies (Kirsten Belgum)

Schönherr, Ulrich, Klang – Bild – Sprache. Musikalisch-akustische Konfigurationen in der Literatur und im Film der Gegenwart (Marcel Krings)

Smith, Jill Suzanne, Berlin Coquette: Prostitution and the New German Woman, 1890–1933 (Erhard Schütz)

Strowick, Elisabeth und Ulrike Vedder, Hrsg., Wirklichkeit und Wahrnehmung. Neue Perspektiven auf Theodor Storm (Robert L. Jamison)

Woodford, Charlotte and Benedict Schofield, eds., The German Bestseller in the Late Nineteenth Century (Shane D. Peterson)

Woodford, Charlotte, Women, Emancipation and the German Novel 1871–1910: Protest Fiction in its Cultural Context (Jeffrey L. Sammons)

Index Volume 107 (2015)