Skip to main content
40 votes

Why would one of Germany's leading publishers publish a novel by Jewish writer Stefan Zweig in 1939?

Samuel Fischer, who founded the S. Fischer Verlag in 1886 was also Jewish. After his death in 1934, his son-in-law Gottfried Bermann Fischer took over management of the publishing house, but in 1936 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
20 votes
Accepted

When was Hermann Hesse arrested for ‘seducing a young girl’?

The reason behind this strange quote is given nicely in the Introduction to Autobiographical Writings. Hesse is writing a "fictional autobiography", extrapolating how his future life would ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

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

"Torch dance" is the translation of Fackeltanz. The Fackeltanz is similair to the polonaise but the dancers hold torches or candles in their hands and move according to fixed patterns. There ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
14 votes
Accepted

Where is Kafka's "The Trial" set?

This answer is primarily based on Ignace Feuerlicht, "Omissions and Contradictions in Kafka's Trial", The German Quarterly 1967, 40(3), pp. 339-350 - available here if you have Jstor access. ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
13 votes
Accepted

If I find a book by Nietzsche, how do I know if it's Friedrich's original work, and not work that was edited by his nazi sister, Elisabeth?

That Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche falsified her brother's letters and other writings was something that several scholars had already been aware of before her death in 1935. This includes scholars such ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
13 votes

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

The “war of seventy” refers to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and this is confirmed by the mention of Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of the North German Confederation at the outbreak of the war, ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 57.8k
12 votes
Accepted

What are all the stories left unfinished in The Neverending Story?

I actually made a list of all of these many years ago, which deserves to be recorded for posterity. Here they are, in the order that they appear in the text. The four messengers: Gluckuk, Vooshvazool,...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
12 votes

In the "Neverending Story", what judgement do Falkor and Atreyu make of the Childlike Empress?

It is important to distinguish between the original text and the English translation. If one only allows for text-immanent interpretation and considers the translation the sole text, all my following ...
Narusan's user avatar
  • 877
12 votes

What's the significance of Faust's meeting being on Easter Day?

While Easter sure comes with a significant religious meaning, it seems to be distinctly its more earthly and mundane aspects that are emphasised in Faust. Though, the connections to resurrection aren'...
Cahir Mawr Dyffryn æp Ceallach's user avatar
12 votes

When was Hermann Hesse arrested for ‘seducing a young girl’?

Hesse wrote "Kurzgefasster Lebenslauf" in 1925, well before he turned 70. That anecdote is part of a future he imagines for himself. A few pages before he presented the event in question, he ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 3,208
10 votes

What is the Neverending Story's moral about power?

It is first important to recognize what kind of story this is. It is about a young boy whose mother has died. His journey in the novel reflects his emotional growth, developing sense of identity and ...
Julius's user avatar
  • 201
10 votes
Accepted

Standard text for "Tristan and Isolde"

The versions of the story of Tristan and Isolde that we know today date from the Middle Ages, a period in history when copyright did not yet exist, when originality was not the highest goal in ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
10 votes
Accepted

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

This sounds like The Season Clock (1986) by Valerie Littlewood and Michael Foreman, published by Viking Books for Young Readers. The publisher’s description on Amazon matches the details in your post:...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 57.8k
9 votes
Accepted

Where is Momo set?

There are multiple hints that the unnamed city the plot takes place in is a reminiscence of Genzano di Roma. Ende has lived there during the writing of Momo, and the Italian background (the names, but ...
Narusan's user avatar
  • 877
9 votes
Accepted

Why do the names of the first two characters introduced in "The Neverending Story" start with B and C?

In the original, it's B and K, not B and C. You can see this in the German Wikipedia page (emphasis mine): Bastian Balthasar Bux ist ein zehn oder elf Jahre alter, in sich gekehrter Junge. Sein Vater ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
9 votes

How can the inscription on AURYN be interpreted?

TL; DR: There is an ambiguity, intended by the author, between "do what you wish" and "find your true will" which is important for the development of the main character Bastian. Long answer: To ...
wra's user avatar
  • 191
9 votes

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

At the end of the 19th century Arnold Böcklin was a well-known painter. Die Gefilde der Seligen, apparently the painting the book refers to, had been commissioned in 1876 by the National Gallery. ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

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

Freud discussed ‘Little Red Riding-Hood’ (‘Rotkäppchen’) in his 1918 case history of Sergei Pankejeff, who appears under the pseudonym “der Wolfsmann”. Wenn der Wolf bei meinem Patienten nur der ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 57.8k
9 votes
Accepted

A play in which the characters murder the author

Perhaps there is another play of Tieck's with which I'm not familiar, but the epilogue to Der gestiefelte Kater sounds similar. From Wikipedia: Im Widerspruch dazu, dass dem Publikum das Stück nicht ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 1,036
9 votes
Accepted

Is Mephistopheles Faust's first encounter with the otherwordly?

Faust is an experienced practitioner. "Drum hab ich mich der Magie ergeben" suggests an ongoing activity, and it would be a bit odd if his first successful spell was one that forced the ...
Eike Pierstorff's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Why is Josef K.'s last name never revealed?

This answer is primarily based on Ignace Feuerlicht, "Omissions and Contradictions in Kafka's Trial", The German Quarterly 1967, 40(3), pp. 339-350 - available here if you have Jstor access. All ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
8 votes
Accepted

What does "Wireless-men" mean?

The original German text reads, on page 232 in the linked edition: Inzwischen ist Besuch gekommen, zwei Funker, die freigebig zum Essen eingeladen werden. Sie sitzen im Wohnzimmer, wo ein ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 4,200
8 votes

Which German book was Poe referring to?

Hortulus Animae (or better in French) is the usual answer. See, for instance, section 3 of this essay: Just as one need not know precisely which "certain German book" Poe is referring to ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 4,200
8 votes

Why "Moon Child"?

The simplest explanation, in-universe so to speak, would be that you need a new unique name to see the Childlike Empress, and "Mondenkind" isn't really a word that existed before in the ...
Eike Pierstorff's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Does the original German version of Fontane's Tay Bridge poem contain the same literary references?

The original German text begins with the following lines: »Wann treffen wir drei wieder zusamm'?«   »Um die siebente Stund', am Brückendamm.«    »Am Mittelpfeiler.« »Ich lösche die Flamm'.« ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
8 votes

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

The first phrase "fünf Tage Dicken" translates as "five days of thickness", according to Google translate - I am not a German speaker. The equivalent passage in the English ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
  • 22.6k
7 votes

In the "Neverending Story", what judgement do Falkor and Atreyu make of the Childlike Empress?

Perhaps it's deliberately meant to be ambiguous. Certainly there's a recurrent theme in The Neverending Story of ambiguous endings and unfinished tales: just look at how often variations of the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
7 votes
Accepted

How can the inscription on AURYN be interpreted?

The German version reads Do what you want (Tu Was Du Willst). The ambiguity could exist in German as well with Tu Was Du Wünscht, albeit that would be a less common phrase and kids probably had ...
Narusan's user avatar
  • 877
7 votes
Accepted

Why is Georg Büchner considered such an important figure in German literature?

Büchner died when he was not even twenty-three and a half years old, at an age when Goethe hadn't written any of his famous works (not even Götz von Berlichingen or Die Leiden des jungen Werthers) and ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible