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Title: 'Die Rechte Schau' : Blick, Macht und Geschlechet in Annette von Droste-Hülshoffs Verserzählungen
Author: Peters, Anja
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2002
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In my thesis I examine the significance of the gaze in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff's epic poems. Whereas previous research has regarded these texts as mere moralistic tales about the struggle between 'good' and 'evil' forces, my analysis shows how Droste uses her poetic personas to express her awareness of the correlations between power, gender and the gaze. The thesis is written in German. I differentiate between two types of gaze; gazing at nature and gazing at people and analyse each of these with reference to its 19th-century context. Thereby the gaze at nature is investigated in relation to advances in contemporary natural sciences, in particular how the gaze was used to come to terms with, unify and control the large amount of new scientific findings. For the gaze at people I refer to Michel Foucault's work on power, especially his concept of the 'panopticon' and its impact on disciplinary practices. In the epic poem 'Das Hospiz auf dem grossen St. Bernhard' I analyse the motif of the gaze with relation to early 19th-century geological findings and theories that call the biblical account of genesis into question. The poem's protagonist Benoit gets lost in the Alps and feels at the mercy of natural phenomena that can longer be interpreted as symbolic of the presence of God in his creation. In order to combat this loss Benoit searches desperately of the light of the hospice as a sign of safety and salvation. Benoit uses his gaze selectively so as to endow his surroundings with religious significance. In doing so he tries to control a situation that threatens his life and his belief. In the second epic poem 'Des Arztes Vermächtnis' Droste draws on the romantic stereotype of femininity and deconstructs it by employing a male persona - a doctor who is kidnapped by a band of robbers - who changes his gender identity depending on his ability to see. Being deprived of the power of the gaze the doctor loses the control over his body, his power to heal and takes on feminine gender characteristics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available