Twentieth-century reworkings of German literature
No work of art stands in isolation. In one way or another it will have evolved from a form that has been created before, and likewise, it may itself have an influence on future developments and trends in a given genre. The literary reworking distinguishes itself by referring openly and explicitly to a previous fictional model, thus encouraging the reader to draw comparisons and to note contrasts between the model and the reworking. The investigation concentrates on two examples, from each genre, the drama, the novella and the novel. Reworkings of myths and legendary or historical characters have been excluded. Subject of the thesis is (a) an examination of how this link between model and reworking has been established, and (b) the effect the suggested presence of the literary model has on the interpretation of the reworking. With regard to (a) it has been found that each respective writer employs different narrative techniques to establish the link between model and reworking which has been summarized thus: - allusion to classicism: Schiller: Die Jungfrau von Orleans and Brecht: Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe; - ironic reproduction: Hebbel: Maria Magdalena and Franz Xaver Kroetz: Maria Magdalena; - fragmentation: Thomas Mann: Der Tod in Venedig and Wolfgang Koeppen: Der Tod in Rom; - integration: Georg Büchner: Lenz and Peter Schneider: Lenz; - quotation: Goethe: Die Leiden des jungen Werther and Ulrich Plenzdorf: Die neuen Leiden de jungen W.; - character constellation: Goethe: Die Wahlverwandstschaften and John Banville: The Newton Letter With regard to (b) the effect of the reworking when read in conjunction with its literary model is strikingly different in each case, but common to all reworkings is a gain in historical depth, and in each case new themes and issues arise which are not immediately apparent when the reworking is considered on its own.