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On the centenary of Fontane's death and at the turn of the century these essays take a new look at this supreme chronicler of Prussia and of the Germany that emerges after 1871. Written by scholars from different countries and disciplines, they focus on novels and theatre reviews from the perspectives of philosophy, sociology, comparative literature and translation theory, and in the contexts of topography and painting. Connections and crosscurrents emerge to reveal new aspects of Fontane's poetics and to produce contrasting but complementary readings of his novels. He appears in the company of predecessors and contemporaries, such as Scott, Thackeray, Saar, Ibsen, Turgenev, but also in that of writers he has rarely, if ever, been seen beside, such as E.T.A. Hoffmann, Stendhal, Trollope, Henry James and Edith Wharton, Beckett and Faulkner. The historical novel and the social position of women are each a recurring focus of interest. Fontane emerges as receptive to other voices, as a precursor of developments in modern narrative, and confirmed as the novelist who brings the nineteenth-century German novel closest to the broad traditions of European realism.