Private Lives and Collective Destinies
Class, Nation and the Folk in the Works of Gustav Freytag (1816-1895)

Benedict Schofield

Bithell Series of Dissertations 37

MHRA Texts and Dissertations 81

Modern Humanities Research Association and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies

30 May 2012  •  222pp

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ModernGermanFictionDramaHistory


Nineteenth-century Germany witnessed many debates on the nature of the nation, both before and after unification in 1871. Bourgeois authors engaged closely with questions of class and national identity, and resourcefully sought to influence the collective destiny of the German people through works of popular fiction and cultural history. Typical of this trend was the realist writer Gustav Freytag (1816-1895), the most widely read novelist of his era. Innovatively exploring all of Freytag’s works (poetry, drama, novels, history, journalism, biography and literary theory), Schofield examines how his popular writing systematically re-imagined the social structures of German society, embedding political agendas within contemporary stories of private lives. Connecting the aesthetics of Realism with the political aims of the bourgeoisie, the study both reassesses Freytag’s position within the German literary canon and re-evaluates received opinion on the socio-political function of Realism in German culture.

Benedict Schofield is Lecturer in German at King’s College London.

Reviews:

  • ‘Schofield’s unprecedented and skillful incorporation of the author’s entire oeuvre has made a real and lasting contribution to nineteenth-century scholarship.’ — Alyssa Howards, German Quarterly 86, 2013, 489-90
  • ‘Represents a valuable contribution to the field and enhances our understanding of Freytag’s strategy and agenda in no small measure.’ — Florian Krobb, Modern Language Review 109, 2014, 556-58 (full text online)
  • ‘This is the only comprehensive work on Freytag that I know of, at least in our time. It is thoroughly researched... The criticism is exacting and precise.’ — Jeffrey L. Sammons, Monatshefte 106, 2014, 312-15

Contents:

i-iv
Front Matter
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v-vi
Table of Contents
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vii-viii
Acknowledgements
B. S.
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1-14
Introduction
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15-39
Chapter 1 Towards A National Community: the Vormärz Poetry
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40-77
Chapter 2 Defining Class Identities: the Vormärz Dramas
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78-124
Chapter 3 Revolution and Reaction: Literary Practice and the Bourgeois Cause in the Nachmärz
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125-168
Chapter 4 Present Pasts: History, Bildung, and the Volkskraft
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169-192
Chapter 5 Writing Unification: Love As An Exercise in Nation-Building
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193-198
Conclusion
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199-213
Bibliography
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214-220
INDEX
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Bibliography entry:

Schofield, Benedict, Private Lives and Collective Destinies: Class, Nation and the Folk in the Works of Gustav Freytag (1816-1895), Bithell Series of Dissertations, 37 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2012)

First footnote reference: 35 Benedict Schofield, Private Lives and Collective Destinies: Class, Nation and the Folk in the Works of Gustav Freytag (1816-1895), Bithell Series of Dissertations, 37 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2012), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Schofield, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Schofield, Benedict. 2012. Private Lives and Collective Destinies: Class, Nation and the Folk in the Works of Gustav Freytag (1816-1895), Bithell Series of Dissertations, 37 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Schofield 2012: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Schofield 2012: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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