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Title: Geschichte, Gedachtnispolitik und die Rolle des Helden: Sechs historische Erzahlungen von Wilhelm Raabe
Author: Paulus, Dagmar
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
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In this thesis, I discuss the representation of German history in six historical novellas by Wilhelm Raabe (1831-1910), analysing his use and deconstruction of heroic characters as well as his view of historical processes. I also compare Raabe's representation of German history with contemporaneous discourses in order to reassess his works in their historical context and in the context of political memory debates of the period. Recent research into cultural memory studies tends to focus on memorialisation of events during the twentieth century. In my thesis, I show that collective memory was just as relevant to nineteenth-century political and cultural discourse as it is now. In the period before the foundation of the German Reich in 1871, for example, debates on German identity time and again recurred on memorialisation of the past as a common national experience. Moreover, I show the shift in Raabe's historical narratives reflecting his development as a writer during the 1860s. In his earlier period, he depicts heroic characters in rather classical fashion, whereas later these characters disappear. Raabe's view of history clearly becomes more pessimistic, emphasizing man's inability to act in a historically relevant way. This places Raabe in an unorthodox position concerning the period's understanding of history. Contemporaneous historical statements in public debate tend to emphasize the possibility and duty of man to play an active role in history. The call for heroic commitment was particularly prominent during the 'unification wars' of the 1860s. My analysis focuses on selected texts from Raabe's intermediate period engaging with recurring historical themes and on which little or no research has been done to date: Die schwarze Galeere, Sankt Thomas, Else von der Tanne, Der Marsch nach Hause, Nach dem grofJen Kriege and Im Siegeskranze.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available