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20 votes

Why was Fontane's copy of Thackeray's Vanity Fair confiscated by English customs?

The edition of Fontane's diaries by Charlotte Jolles and Rudolf Muhs mentions the occurrence in the entry for 23 May 1852, when Fontane started reading Vanity Fair. (Fontane's diaries are partly lost, ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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17 votes
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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
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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
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13 votes

Why was Fontane's copy of Thackeray's Vanity Fair confiscated by English customs?

Prior to the Berne convention of 1886 (see A Brief History of Copyright) there was limited international enforcement of copyright, so foreign publishers were able to print books which would have been ...
mikado's user avatar
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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
8 votes
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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
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7 votes
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What is the "Isle of the Blessed" and why should a girl see it before marriage?

The comment doesn't need to reference a real painting to make sense in the context of the novel, but some searching shows that Fontane had a particular painting in mind. Since Hesiod, Elysium has also ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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6 votes
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What is known about the last book Theodor Fontane worked on?

Fontane was working on several projects when he died. As mantioned in Cahir Mawr Dyffryn æp Ceallach's answer, one of these was Die Likedeeler. "Likedeeler" was the Low German name of the &...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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6 votes

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

When adapting the book title you name a little and spelling it "Likedeeler", together with the statement "which was to deal with certain bold, half-mythical pirates of the fourteenth ...
Cahir Mawr Dyffryn æp Ceallach's user avatar
5 votes
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What is this passage saying about Precentor Jahnke?

In German, the corresponding passage (quoted from Effie Briest on Zeno.org) goes as follows: Zwei der jungen Mädchen – kleine, rundliche Persönchen, zu deren krausem, rotblondem Haar ihre ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
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Significance of Effi Briest's name

Fontane spent several years in England as correspondent for Prussian newspapers. One of the English-language authors he read was Walter Scott; he even translated a number of Scott's poems into German. ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes

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

@Tsundoku writes: "He is teasing Effi with the idea that marriage does not lead to a blessed or happy state, so she should at least get a glimpse of it before she gets married." Not quite. ...
S. Eligen's user avatar
4 votes
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What would it mean for a 19th-century German soldier to "wear the cross"?

In German, the corresponding passage (quoted from Effie Briest on Zeno.org) does not mention the type of cross: Kurz und gut, er nahm den Abschied und fing an, Juristerei zu studieren, wie Papa sagt, ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
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What is the significance of "Come, Effi"?

The "little incident" is nothing more than what is described at the end of Chapter II: almost at the very moment when he was approaching her with a friendly bow there appeared at one of ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes

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

A quick Google Translate of the original verse confirms that the original also addressed the reader Maybe I'm totally missing something here but as a german native speaker, I'd doubt that the ...
Secundi's user avatar
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3 votes
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Why did Fontane choose to write "The Tragedy of Afghanistan"?

Theodor Fontane did not write "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" in 1847/8, as the Berlin Review of Books erroneously claims, but a decade later. By that time, Fontane had been twice been in ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
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When and where did Thomas Mann say that Effi Briest is one of the six best novels in his library?

Thomas Mann's article "To Theodor Fontane's 100th Birthday" was published in Berliner Tageblatt on 25-Dec-1919. There you can find the quote: Eine Romanbibliothek der rigorosesten Auswahl, ...
Andra's user avatar
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2 votes

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

"Ein weites Feld" generally means "There would be too much to discuss, let's leave it here, I don't want to go further now" (I am German)
Alfred's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
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In Effi Briest, what is the meaning and significance of a "wide field"?

What field, in this context, is too wide? The topic of the inequality between women and men, manifested in the fact that Innstetten decides how he and Effi will spend their honeymoon, and Effi has to ...
Michael Borgwardt's user avatar
1 vote

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

The cross that is been talked about is the Iron Cross, established as the military decoration. From the linked Wikipedia page: The Iron Cross (German: Eisernes Kreuz, abbreviated EK) is a former ...
Shreyansh Dwivedi's user avatar

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