René Schickele, a writer from Alsace (1883-1940)
The present thesis seeks to study the works of René Schickele within the literary, social and historical context of his life. Born in Alsace at a turbulent point in its history, Schickele's personal development was bound to be affected by the immense political and linguistic changes resulting from its annexation into the newly created Second German Reich. The effects of these factors on Schickele's early literary theories form the basis of Chapter 1. Chapter 2 examines the expression of these theories in Schickele's editorial and creative work for Jügstes Elsaβ, a literary circle of his creation based in Strasbourg. The writer's position is considered within the different streams of thought in the Alsatian literary arena after the turn of the century. The consequences of Schickele's departure from Alsace to Berlin in 1904 form the focus of Chapter 3. In the blossoming German capital his editorial role for the high-profile literary journal Das Neue Magazin earned him nationwide recognition; while living in Berlin, Schickele wrote his first novel, Der Fremde. It is studied as an example of the author's developing literary style. In 1909, the offer of a post as foreign correspondent for the Straβburger Neue Zeitung took him to Paris and away from the literary scene he had frequented in Berlin. The nature of his work in Paris brought him into close contact with the political sphere, and this had an envigorating effect on his stylistic development. As Chapter 4 aims to illustrate, his writing between 1909 and 1911 demonstrates a close interplay of literature and politics. Chapter 5 analyses Schickele's expressionistic novel Benkal, der Frauentröter within the context of contemporary literary and artistic fervour in the years immediately preceding the First World War. Schickele's preoccupation with literary modernity is examined alongside his attitude to political events. The outbreak of war brought about the most active, and most celebrated phase of his life. At this time he took over the editorship of Die Weiβen Bläter and earned a reputation both as a central figure of the Expressionist generation and as an outspoken pacifist.