Questions tagged [theodor-fontane]

Questions about the works of German author and journalist Theodor Fontane (1819 – 1898) or his life as a writer. He is best known for his novels, which have a skeptical view of German society. Use with [german-literature].

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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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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") ...
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1 vote
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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 ...
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3 votes
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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 ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Why was Fontane's copy of Thackeray's Vanity Fair confiscated by English customs?

When Theodor Fontane travelled to London in September 1855, the three volumes of his copy of William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair were confiscated by customs. As far as I can tell, Vanity Fair ...
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2 votes
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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 ...
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2 votes
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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, ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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10 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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7 votes
2 answers
168 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 ...
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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, ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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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, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
258 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 ...
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7 votes
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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&...
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6 votes
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Does the original German version of Fontane's Tay Bridge poem contain the same literary references?

In this English translation of Theodor Fontane's poem "Die Brücke am Tay" (here translated as "The Bridge by the Tay", elsewhere also as "The Tay Bridge"), I noticed a ...
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