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Theodor Fontane and his time : Modern, märkisch

A common image of Theodor Fontane's, whose birthday is in December, to 200. Anniversary of, is still that of the old, cosy, Yes, conservative Plauderers. Why, it is not difficult to answer. First of all, many of his portraits, whether paintings or photographs, a man with graying hair and a huge mustache. Since it is natural to confuse him with the old Dubslav von Stechlin, the protagonist of his last novel, the chatting, in fact, and as a conservative choice man competes in. Or with the elderly Mr von Ribbeck from the famous ballad, the, when "the Golden autumn time" came, the bulbs around true to the end girl and boy to distribute used.

There is talk of "the old Fontane is not of about so often". The main reason is the fact that of the 20. December 1819 in Neuruppin, born 1898 in Berlin, died a pharmacist, a war correspondent, a foreign correspondent, a theatre critic and Poet, in addition to the "walks through the Mark Brandenburg" first of all, his great novels became famous, he had to publish only started at the age of almost 60 years.

What to do has Fontane's ballad "John Maynard" with Brandenburg?

in fact, the uncle-like image is skewed to devastating – because it prevents to read Fontane as a modern, progressive approaches, and feminist writers, he was also and much. For example, the word "oll". According to the dictionary, it means "old and worn", "worn", and is used in a rule to be derogatory. It is family-but it can also be seemingly positive use, to intimacy outspread. Then it gets a fine touch. About "the old Fontane" wants to charge anyone who calls him that, under the alleged Affection.

it works the other way as well. To glorify him to the "Goethe of Brandenburg", is nothing else than the attempt to make these large inter-nationalists smaller than he is. What has to do with the ballad "John Maynard" with the Mark of Brandenburg? Nothing, it focuses on the journey of a passenger steamer at the North American lake Erie and the hero death of the helmsman. This is also true for the novels, "Even", which plays the part in the United States, or "Irretrievably", which takes place in Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark.

You do Fontane wrong, if it is so. The fact that his grandchildren's generation, included the Thomas Mann and his brother Heinrich, him admired and as one of their considered, shows that more needs to be stuck in it. Not to forget, how the alleged Traditionalist for Ibsen and Gerhart Hauptmann began. He was a "magnificent mixture of lavender scent and the new era", wrote in 1919 Kurt Tucholsky.

Fontane promotes an understanding of his heroines

The author of "Effi Briest", a adultery novel, which need not fear comparison with Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Thomas Mann, the name of buddenbrooks borrowed, was not a dedicated author or self-proclaimed do-gooder. Even if in his novels Critical of Bismarck and Prussia, was his literary attitude is more subtle: He wanted to depict the realities as they were, which is so meticulous, naturalistic milieu studies like that of the impoverished nobility in the "Poggenpuhls" or the everyday descriptions of the "little people" in "the trials, tribulations" to testify.

The criticism of the nobility, for all its sympathy, the Fontane this solidified, and in the nascent layer brings to in his work is omnipresent. The young women in "the trials, tribulations" or "Stine", which is not worth it to marry a Nobleman (as you saw it at the time), appear to be of higher value than those of a false sense of honor-eaten species. Chess by Wuthenow, can't stand the of Friedrich Wilhelm III and Queen Luise demanded Might have with the smallpox disfigured Victoire. Out of fear of ridicule, he shoots himself. Fontane, it is about society that stigmatized or condemned women as Cécile, Melanie from "L' Adultera" or Effi Briest justice, he promotes an understanding of their fates.

Fontane's prose is poetry close

If he was even by today's terms is not a Feminist, but he devoted the women and their position a high level of compassionate, critical attention, showed by means of female designs for life problems and contradictions, and wore the Key to a cultural history of women in the 19th century. Century, as the Prussian-expert Christine von Brühl shows in her book on "Fontane's women". Its protagonists self-determined individuals, which violate the conventions. Fontane met them with sympathy, you will be approved to Act of him literally. His own marriage, he led at eye level, as you can see from the ehebrief exchange easily. And in the "Stechlin" condemns the widespread misogyny explicitly as something "Sick".

the Fact that Fontane's prose poetry is close to, pointed out already by Thomas Mann. To him it was not about "bare, prosaic", he called artistic "Transfiguration". His concept of the poetic realism makes him a kindred Spirit Ivan Turgenjews, and it is hardly to be exaggerated, in the tolstoiesken "Before the storm", the big panoramic novel about the time of the Napoleonic occupation, until today, far too little attention, to see the German, respectively the Prussian equivalent of "war and peace".

Fontane, also published some crime stories, was alike Humorist, and psychologist. His novels are of a remarkable openness to notice. For his "the whore novels", as some cursing in Berlin, he was met with hostility, violently, as he kept distance to rampant nationalism. In its compact, the political-historical context of the biography, "Theodor Fontane lighting. The novelist of Prussia“, emphasizes Hans Dieter Zimmermann, that it is a specifically Prussian, was always a never a German history.

Ivan-Michaelangelo D'Aprile portrays Fontane as an Experimentalist

Hans-Dieter Spill "The Wanderer" and Regina Dieterles detailed life description of "Theodor Fontane" are among the new publications in the Biographical. Out of them the shining Band, "Fontane stands out. A century in motion“ by Iwan-Michelangelo D'aprile, who teaches as a Professor of cultures of the enlightenment in Potsdam and the Cosmopolitans as the monster drained Experimentalist portrayed.

Modern was not only Fontane's image of man, but also the world changed around him rapidly. What was realized in Berlin in, he had experienced during his time in England already. The time of technical progress, industrial Revolution, spatial networking, turn – by railway, social democracy – is reflected in his lyrics, the horizon is usually a global.

"So far we are not there yet," once in "Effi Briest". This was Fontane's attitude in many ways. They did not prevent him to take a look in a more liberal and democratic future. A piece he helped to pave the way for it. Tobias Schwartz

Iwan-Michelangelo D'aprile: Fontane. A century in motion. Rowohlt 2018, 544 p., 28 €

Christine von Brühl: Precisely because you are dear to me. Theodor Fontane's women build-up to 2018, 368 p., 22 €

Regina Dieterle: by Theodor Fontane. Hanser 2018, 832 p., 34 €

Hans-Dieter-slip: of The Wanderer. The life of Theodor Fontane, Rowohlt Berlin, 2018, 333 p., 26 €

Burkhard spiders: , And everything without love. Theodor Fontane's timeless heroines, Schöffling 2019, 112 p., 12 €

Hans Dieter Zimmermann: by Theodor Fontane. The novelist of Prussia, C. H. Beck, 2019, 458 p., 28 €

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200 years of Theodor Fontane From the Dollhouse to the Hotspot

Andreas Austilat

On Saturday, 30. March, will be opened in Neuruppin, officially the Fontane-year . More: www.fontane-200.de

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