Theory and patterns of tragedy in the later Novellen of Theodor Storm
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The thesis is an. attempt to refute the indictment of Storm's work as being sentimental and melancholy, arguing that such a judgment fails to take account of the writer's portrayal of tragedy in the final seventeen years of his life. Chapter One analyses a number of aspects of Storm's thought and experience which disposed him towards a tragic view of the world: this includes an examination of the possible impact of the popular philosophies of Feuerbach, the Materialists, Darwin and Schopenhauer, as well as the significance of his educational background, his career as a judge, and his attitude to family life, religion, politics and society. Chapter Two considers the aesthetic convictions underlying Storm's conception and portrayal of tragedy, looking also at the idea of the Novelle as a suitable medium for tragedy and at the relationship between the author's later work and the tragedies of Naturalism. Chapters Three to Five present a detailed study of six individual Novellen which treat themes representative of Storm's work. Chapter Three focuses on Storm's attitude to the destructive potential of prejudice and superstition in society, taking Renate (1878) and Ein Doppelganger (1886) as examples of "The Tragedy of Social Compulsion". Chapter Four investigates his pessimistic preoccupation with the subject of heredity, discussing John Riew' (1885) and Der Herr Etatsrat (1881) as cases of "The Tragedy of Genetic Compulsion". Chapter Five is entitled "The Tragedy of Personal Responsibility": it examines Ein Bekenntnis (1887) and Zur Chronik von Grieshuus (1883) as Novellen in which the leading characters incur specific moral guilt, and considers the nature and results of their attempts to atone for their crime.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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