Questions tagged [german-language]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the German language, regardless of whether they were written or published in Germany or elsewhere.

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What do "fünf Tage Dicken" and "fünf Tage Kahn" mean in All Quiet on the Western Front?

In Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front), Remarque uses the phrases "fünf Tage Dicken" and "fünf Tage Kahn." Can anyone explain those phrases?
Maria Tatar's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
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When was Hermann Hesse arrested for ‘seducing a young girl’?

I've been reading ‘Autobiographical Writings’ by Hesse. In the section ‘Life story briefly told’, there’s the following quote: At the age of more than seventy, just after two universities had singled ...
user19904's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
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Quote identification by Weierstraß

At one of the few occasions a mathematician expresses himself outside his technical works, I've read, maybe in a short autobiographical or a note on pedagogy specifically, someday a quote by Karl ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
48 views

Are Thomas Bernhard's (highly critical) opinions of other German/Austrian authors in "Extinction" his own?

I've been reading "Extinction" (Auslöschung) by Bernhard, in which the main character (Franz-Josef Murau) expounds, highly critically, on Goethe, Thomas Mann, Musil, etc. All of them are ...
Cerulean's user avatar
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What did Stefan Zweig mean when he said "becoming old is no longer being afraid of the past"?

In 24 hours in the life of a woman, Stefan Zweig writes "becoming old is no longer being afraid of the past". What did he mean by this?
LMol's user avatar
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1 answer
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How did Hitler get the idea for the title “My Struggle”?

Are there any records elaborating on how Hitler came up with the title for his book? Were there any previous books he was emulating or alluding to? Was he influenced by some literary style in his ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
123 views

How is "Faust" a tragedy?

I just finished reading Goethe's Faust (the Martin Greenberg translation for those who may be curious). However, I am a bit disappointed in the ending due to Faust's soul being saved by God in the end....
Steven Creech's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
534 views

Is Mephistopheles Faust's first encounter with the otherwordly?

I noticed in Will Quadflieg's interpretation of Goethe's Faust that Faust seems to be relatively calm during his first encounter with Mephistopheles. I get that in the original text, Faust mentions in ...
Wilfred Montoya's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
107 views

Are the events in Thomas Bernhard’s “Correction” autobiographical?

Someone told me today that in “Correction” when Rothaimer “pursue[s] his project of constructing an extraordinary habitation, the Cone” (Wikipedia), that this is based on actual events in Bernhard’s ...
Cerulean's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Where else did Rilke mention John on Patmos?

It is well known and can be inferred by an online search that Rilke has used the comparison with the writing Johannes auf Patmos in The notebooks of Malte Laurid Brigge, namely in the 57th chapter of ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
322 views

Why are the prisoners that have become too weak to work referred to as "Moslems" by the Nazi guards?

I read Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl around half a year ago or so, and something I've been left wondering is why the Nazi/SS guards refer to men who no longer are fit to work due to ...
Newbyte's user avatar
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In what sense do The Gladiators, Darkness at Noon, and Arrival and Departure form a trilogy?

Arthur Koestler's three novels The Gladiators (1939), Darkness at Noon (1940), and Arrival and Departure (1943) are said to form a trilogy. The first is set during the Spartacus slave rebellion in 73 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
734 views

Children's book about a season clock and winter confining spring in his castle

I remember having a picture book as a child and I really would like to know its name and author. In it, the story goes as follows: A watch maker and his apprentice take care of a season clock that ...
Ria's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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Why did the book held by Rubashov change title between different versions of "Darkness at Noon"?

The English translation of Koestler's Darkness at Noon was made in 1940 by Daphne Hardy. Since the original version of the manuscript was presumed lost, for many years this was the only copy of the ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
126 views

Where is it indicated that Charlotte has difficulty choosing between Albert and Werther?

I read The Sorrows of Young Werther for my literature class (our translation was from Corngold and its title substituted "Sufferings" for "Sorrows", but it's the same story). For a ...
bobble's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
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A play in which the characters murder the author

The following sentence appears on p.26, Chapter 2 of Walter Frisch's Music in the Nineteenth Century: In one play by Ludwig Tieck, the characters gang up at the end and murder the author. However, ...
Joseph's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
243 views

Who rebutted Raul Hilberg's allegation that Man's Search for Meaning was a deception?

Man's Search for Meaning by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl is a well-known book in which the author described his experiences in several concentration camps (including Auschwitz) and discussed the ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
63 views

Name of a German Novel about a Girl Stalking a Man

I'm looking for a German novel which centers around a girl stalking a man. The man ends up fighting in World War I and even then the girl follows him into the trenches. I think her motive was ...
Thomas Klingler's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
78 views

Difference between "emperor" and "living emperor" in Kafka's "The Great Wall of China"

This is a quote from "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka. What's the difference between "emperor" and "living emperor"? Our land is so huge, that no fairy tale can ...
Siddharth Mahendiran's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
101 views

Explain a quote from "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka

Can anyone explain the following quote from the short story "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka: First, one must realize that at that time certain achievements were brought to fruition ...
Siddharth Mahendiran's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
34 views

Meaning of this passage from Baron Munchausen, chapter 20?

What is the meaning of this passage from The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, chapter 20? He is also to carry, under a large cloak, a utensil in each coat pocket, instead of those four ...
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6 votes
2 answers
916 views

Publications of Freud's psycho-analysis of Little Red Riding Hood

I have heard that Freud wrote at length on the Grimm Fairy Tale: Little Red Riding Hood, highlighting all the suggestive themes and symbolism and "id-like" interpretations. However, I was ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
246 views

What is the role of science in Georg Büchner's "Woyzeck"?

I've been reading the play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner in an Italian translation by Giorgio Dolfini. It's a really disquieting story. A specific character, the Doctor, seems to play an enigmatic obscure ...
Charo's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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What is the name of German-language horror or crime pulp novel series from late 80s/early 90s?

Back in the very early 90s, my father worked in Germany. The previous tenant in his apartment left some 80s/early-90s 7" vinyls, floppy discs and some horror/crime stich-bound short novels. ...
LordSauron's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
187 views

Significance of Effi Briest's name

I've been thinking about Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest for a while, and the names of the characters, especially Effi Briest's name, but also the other important characters, like for instance ...
Marcus Rost's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
25 views

Does Georg Heym's poem Louis Capet betray a specific political orientation?

The German poet Georg Heym was an important representative of expressionism. Wikipedia tells us that he was a member of the short-lived society or club Der Neue Club: Other members of this Club ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
285 views

When and where did Thomas Mann say that Effi Briest is one of the six best novels in his library?

Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest is often taught at German schools. The Wikipedia article about the novel has a section on the novel's legacy which says, [Thomas] Mann said that if one had to ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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When was any of Fontane's work first included in literary anthologies for use in schools?

Theodor Fontane is now regarded as the most important German-language novelist of the second half of the nineteenth century. His work is now often required reading (German: "Pflichtlektüre") ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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1 vote
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28 views

Why did Fontane spend almost a decade writing literary or historical accounts of Prussian wars?

Theodor Fontane is today best remembered as a novelist (and also as a poet). However, all his novels were written in the last two decades of his life. A list of publications by Fontane published by ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
166 views

What is the purpose of the motif of the Chinaman in Fontane's novel Effi Briest?

One of the recurring elements or motifs in Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest is that of the Chinaman. The Chinaman is a source of fear for Effi, something like a phantom. References to him are ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
81 views

Was Jorge Amado familiar with the work of Anna Seghers?

While looking for novels by Jorge Amado in the online catalogue of a bookseller, I stumbled upon the recently published novella Anna Seghers im Garten von Jorge Amado ("Anna Seghers in Jorge ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
647 views

Standard text for "Tristan and Isolde"

What is the standard narrative text to read "Tristan and Isolde"? That is, is there something that is a classical text, not in poem form, something like Le Morte d'Arthur for King Arthur?
PortMadeleineCrumpet's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
253 views

Nietzsche: It is improbable that you are not mistaken: double negative

In Beyond Good and Evil, chapter 1, #16, Nietzsche is criticizing idealism, and he says: He who ventures to answer these metaphysical questions at once by an appeal to a sort of intuitive perception, ...
BenG's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
309 views

What is the significance of the name Bastian Balthazar Bux?

Apart from being triply alliterative (BBB), what is the significance of the name Bastian Balathazar Bux (or Bastian Balthasar Bux in the German original), the protagonist of The Neverending Story? ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
236 views

In Effi Briest, what is the meaning and significance of a "wide field"?

I noticed a similar phrase recurring twice in the conversation between Effi's parents in Chapter V of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online: Miss Hulda had clinked her glass too ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.6k
2 votes
0 answers
40 views

What was Briest implying with his "Very true, very true"?

In Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, an exchange between Effi and her mother in Chapter IV seems to betray Effi's lack of love for her fiance Innstetten. Later, in Chapter V, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What are the "torch dance" and "garter dance", in 19th-century Germany?

From Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, during the wedding of Effi and Innstetten in Chapter V: The dancing had continued till three o'clock, with the effect that Briest, who ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
75 views

How does Resa becoming a swift reflect on her character in "Inkdeath"?

In Inkdeath, the third book in the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke, Resa uses seeds that turn the user into an animal. In Resa's case, she turns into a swift: It was easy to fly, so easy. The ...
Mithical's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the "Isle of the Blessed" and why should a girl see it before marriage?

In Chapter 3 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've recently started reading online, Effi and her mother are spending some days in Berlin before her marriage, accompanied by her cousin ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.6k
2 votes
1 answer
200 views

What is the significance of "Come, Effi"?

In Chapter 3 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've started reading online, there seems to be some kind of foreshadowing when Effi's future husband Baron von Innstetten is talking with (or ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.6k
7 votes
2 answers
191 views

What is known about the last book Theodor Fontane worked on?

This question started when I noticed a curious aside in Fontane's Wikipedia article: Fontane was plagued by health problems during his last years but continued to work until a few hours before his ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,794
2 votes
0 answers
56 views

What's the significance of the name "Johnnie" in "The Bridge by the Tay"?

There's only one named character in this translation of Fontane's "Die Brück’ am Tay" ("The Bridge by the Tay"): "Johnnie". Johnnie shows up twice in the poem: Now, ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,794
6 votes
1 answer
84 views

Why does "The Tragedy of Afghanistan" suddenly switch to second-person in the second-to-last verse?

Here's the second-to-last verse from a translation of Fontane's "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" ("The Tragedy of Afghanistan"): They played all night and the following day, They ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,794
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

What would it mean for a 19th-century German soldier to "wear the cross"?

In the first chapter of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I've started reading online, we are introduced to the character of Baron Geert von Innstetten as follows (emphasis mine): "Yes, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
93 views

What is this passage saying about Precentor Jahnke?

In Chapter 1 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've just started reading online, two friends of Effi are introduced as follows: Two of the young girls, plump little creatures, whose ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the central summary of "Erlkönig"?

I was listening to Franz Schubert’s musical concert of "Erlkönig", and the music was perfect. The lyrics were quite plain and simple, but why is it so famous? I read the poem, heard Schubert ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
65 views

What is meant by “present tense whatever” here, exactly?

This is excerpted from the forewords of the English translation by John E. Woods of The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg in German) by Thomas Mann: It takes place, or, to avoid any present tense ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
160 views

What does this quatrain of Goethe's ("Gesang der Geister über den Wassern") mean?

What does this quatrain of Goethe's ("Gesang der Geister über den Wassern") mean? Seele des Menschen Wie gleichst du dem Wasser Schicksal des Menschen Wie gleichst du dem Wind Translation: ...
ali_ runnindis's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
290 views

Why did Fontane choose to write "The Tragedy of Afghanistan"?

Theodor Fontane, a German poet, wrote "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" (translated here as "The Tragedy of Afghanistan") in 1847. It's about the aftermath of a massacre suffered ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,794
7 votes
0 answers
186 views

Was Fontane's Tay Bridge poem compared to McGonagall's at the time?

The Tay Bridge Disaster is one of the most famous bridge collapses. It inspired a universally reviled (yet nevertheless wildly (in)famous) poem from William McGonagall, "The Tay Bridge Disaster&...
bobble's user avatar
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