Kitsch in the prose works of Theodor Storm
The twofold purpose of this study is to clarify, on the one hand, the question of literary evaluation in general and of kitsch in particular, and, on the other, to analyse the prose works of Theodor Storm in the light of the theories of literary evaluation thus established. It therefore follows that the investigation falls into two main sections. The first is in essence theoretical. It consists of seven chapters, in which are examined the terminology, etymology and history of literary evaluation; the many different approaches to tackling and understanding the problem of kitsch (pedagogic, socio—economic, political, religious, moral, philosophical etc.); kitsch in its relationship to art; kitsch in literature and elsewhere (kitsch of both style and philosophy); kitsch and the consumer, especially the female consumer; kitsch's causes and functions under a variety of political and social regimes and, lastly, the possible dangers of kitsch and the remedies suggested to help counteract it. The second section commences with a survey of prominent trends in Storm research old and new, followed by an exploration of Storm's awareness of and relationship to his reading public and to his publishers, and the effect on his work of the demands of family finances. Three chapters are devoted specifically to Storm's wide—ranging techniques for appealing to his reading public, and four to one of the most important aspects of his work in relation to kitsch, the women figures and love and marriage in the 'Novellen'. Three more are given over to problems in his works, with particular emphasis on the function of social critic now widely claimed for him. Two chapters deal with Storm's literary aims, both in respect of artistic achievement and popular acclaim, how far he was successful in achieving them, and what shortcomings threatened to diminish the literary value of his works. Finally, there is a chapter on Storm's reception under various regimes and how prevailing ideological factions adapted the works for their own use, whilst Storm's reception in the immediate post—war era and in the present day is the subject of the conclusion.