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Made to order: Reflections on selected works by Jeremias Gotthelf, C. F. Meyer and Gottfried Keller

Bott, Martin Hulton; (1999) Made to order: Reflections on selected works by Jeremias Gotthelf, C. F. Meyer and Gottfried Keller. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Notions of order are examined in selected works of three nineteenth-century, Swiss-German authors: Gotthelf, Meyer and Keller. In each case, order is both a governing thematic and a property of textual (stylistic and structural) statement. Gotthelf s novels are not highly structured; they delight in the materiality of peasant life - despite the frequently evident didactic intent. The interplay between the realist's attention to the world in its own terms and the preacher's concern to judge that world by Christian criteria produces the energy and fascination of Gotthelf's narrative project. Meyer's writing both articulates and embodies principles of order and containment. The textual patterning of the lyric poetry, the consummately framed Novellen, can produce an impression of perfectly wrought claustrophobia. Keller's writing is similarly dense, but does not feel anxiously encapsulating like Meyer's. Rather, Keller suggests that human order consists of complexly interacting structures of signification. Three novels by Gotthelf are considered. Der Bauernspiegel traces the consequences of exclusion from order. Geld and Geist is a fictional realization of ideal order. Anne Bäbi Jowäger is Gotthelf's supreme articulation of how his ideal and the unregenerate order of reality both overlap and diverge. Meyer is represented by selected lyric poems - which deal above all with a longed-for order, enshrined in their aesthetic form - and two prose works. Der Heilige is a framed Novelle, whilst Jürg Jenatsch is unframed; both, however, use the issue of narrative itself to posit and question certain notions of order in the real world. A single work represents Keller: Der grüne Heinrich, a novel of a scope which renders it uniquely representative. The central character, despite his instinctive preference for a private, internal order, encounters many external - social, economic, natural - orders. The novel shows how these agencies interact to create the complexly negotiated realm of human reality.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Made to order: Reflections on selected works by Jeremias Gotthelf, C. F. Meyer and Gottfried Keller
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Gotthelf, Jeremias
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112582
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