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    Poetic realism, the German Novelle and the legacy of German idealist aesthetics. Franz Grillparzer's 'Der arme Spielmann'

    Walker, John (2015) Poetic realism, the German Novelle and the legacy of German idealist aesthetics. Franz Grillparzer's 'Der arme Spielmann'. German Life and Letters 68 (4), pp. 543-553. ISSN 0016-8777.

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    Grillparzer’s Der arme Spielmann exemplifies the truth that the nineteenth-century German novella, although informed by the philosophical and cultural legacy of German idealist aesthetics, also embodies a narrative critique of it. The poetic realist novella in German should therefore be read in the context of German idealist aesthetics but never reduced to the terms which that aesthetics defines. This essay challenges, through a detailed analysis of Grillparzer’s text, the view that German poetic realism expresses an idea of art which is supposed to be transcendent of the world of economic necessity and social facts. On the contrary, Grillparzer’s novella is shown to highlight the contradiction between that world and the way its central character experiences ‘art’. Unlike the major modes of idealist aesthetics, and despite its concern with the ‘formless art’ of music, this text does not endorse an idea of artistic creation derived from the non-verbal arts, in which art more embodies than represents the real. Grillparzer’s text does not hide but rather foregrounds the process of literary creation. It emphasises the distance between any supposedly disengaged realism and the actuality of experience. The essay both argues this thesis in detail in relation to Grillparzer’s Der arme Spielmann and shows its relevance to the reassessment of German poetic realism in German as a whole.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: John Walker
    Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2016 11:49
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:37


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