Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.604543
Title: Society and its outsiders in the novels of Jakob Wassermann
Author: Volckmer, Katharina Barbara Emmy
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
This thesis looks at a number of Jakob Wassermann’s novels and the ways in which society is depicted in them. Seen as a whole, Wassermann’s oeuvre can therefore be understood as an attempt to portray (mostly) German society at different historical stages. The periods in question are Biedermeier Germany, the Wilhelmine era, the years of the Great War and finally the Weimar Republic, the depiction of all of which reveal Wassermann as a fierce critic of his time. In addition to this interest in society, this thesis will examine Wassermann’s concern with various outsider figures which complement his portrayals of society. The outsider figures Wassermann seems to be mostly interested in are the Jew, the woman, the child and the homosexual man. However, Wassermann is not just interested in these outsiders on their own but also draws extensive parallels between the various forms of exclusion they experience in a society dominated by the Gentile man or, as in the case of the child, by the adult. These parallels have proven to be revelatory and have led to new insights into Wassermann’s works. The dynamic of the outsider vs. society is, however, in many ways no longer applicable to those novels written during and after the Great War. Instead Wassermann now combines his interest in the figure of the outsider with an interest in the depiction of character. At the same time character becomes a mirror not only for the society Wassermann portrays in his writing but also for the society he lived in. This makes for an altogether more complex but also more intriguing structure of his later writing. This thesis will examine how all these different elements when combined offer new ways of looking at Wassermann’s writing.
Supervisor: Robertson, Ritchie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.604543  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Art ; Intellectual History ; Languages (Medieval and Modern) and non-English literature ; Germanic languages ; German ; Literature (non-English) ; Literatures of Germanic languages ; Judaism ; Wassermann ; outsider ; homosexuality ; Jewish Studies ; child ; German society ; sainthood ; Weimar Republic
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