The late nineteenth century was a crucial period for the development of German fiction. Political unification and industrialization were accompanied by the rise of a mass market for German literature, and with it the beginnings of the German bestseller.Offering escape, romance, or adventure, as well as insights into the modern world, nineteenth-century bestsellers often captured the imagination of readers well into the twentieth century and beyond. However, many have been neglected by scholars.
This volume offers new readings of literary realism by focusing not on the accepted intellectual canon but on commercially successful fiction in its material and social contexts. It investigates bestsellers from writers such as Freytag, Dahn, Jensen, Raabe, Viebig, Stifter, Auerbach, Storm, Moellhausen, Marlitt, Suttner, and Thomas Mann. The contributions examine the aesthetic strategies that made the works such a success, and writers' attempts to appeal simultaneously on different levels to different readers. Bestselling writers often sought to accommodate the expectations of publishers and the marketplace, while preserving some sense of artistic integrity. This volume sheds light on the important effect of the mass market on the writing not just of popular works, but of German prose fiction on all levels.
Contributors: Christiane Arndt, Caroline Bland, Elizabeth Boa, Anita Bunyan, Katrin Kohl, Todd Kontje, Peter C. Pfeiffer, Nicholas Saul, Benedict Schofield, Ernest Schonfield, Martin Swales, Charlotte Woodford.
Charlotte Woodford is Lecturer in German and Director of Studies in Modern Languages at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Benedict Schofield is Senior Lecturer in German and Head of the Department of German at King's College London.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 624 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
[T]akes a fresh and highly productive look at German best-selling novels and novellas written between the 1840s and the early 1900s. It combines sociohistorical enquiry into the history of literary writing, publishing, and reading with a particular focus on "the fertile crossover between so-called high literature and works written for the mass market." . . . The twelve chapters . . . written by established Germanists as well as younger researchers, are well researched and thoughtful almost throughout. Many are highly successful in combining socio-historical enquiry with in-depth literary analysis. --Dirk Goettsche, MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW
[F]ascinating . . . . In her excellent introduction, Charlotte Woodford draws attention to the production and distribution of literature in the nineteenth century as well as to the rapid growth of subscription libraries. The serialisation of longer fiction was also an important factor in bringing literature to a wider and broader-based audience. All these factors are taken up . . . by Benedict Schofield, [Woodford's] co-editor, and the other ten contributors to the volume. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES
Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. CHOICE
Handsomely produced and expertly edited . . . . The essays are often fascinating and always informative. The best of them make their arguments against the forgetting of their once-bestselling authors exciting. They share a passion for getting to the bottom of why, in or outside Germany, we know so little about books that were, in the main, not just flashes in the pan, as they often endured for up to a century. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT [P]resents a fresh look at late-nineteenth-century realist ?ction by examining the "fertile crossover between so-called high literature and works written for the mass market" (1). [D]emonstrates an exceptional breadth . . . . [T]his impressive collection will surely inject new energy into nineteenth-century scholarship. . . . [I]ts unique focus on poetics provides a welcome complement to recent scholarship such as Publishing Culture and the "Reading Nation" (edited by Lynne Tatlock, [Camden House], 2010). MONATSHEFTE