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Genre and gender disturbance: Male perceptions of the self in Austrian novellen of the 1920s

Willmore, EJ; (2007) Genre and gender disturbance: Male perceptions of the self in Austrian novellen of the 1920s. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This project analyses some of the ways in which, by the 1920s, changes in discourse and historical context had undermined the notion of an 'ideal' form of the Novelle, even though this continued to be propagated by conservative theorists of the genre. The Austrian Novelle of the 1920s reflects the political turmoil and cultural unease that blighted the First Republic, a period not only characterised by a collision between old and new values but also still endeavouring to come to terms with the radical cultural destabilisation wrought by, for example, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. How Robert Musil's Tonka (1923), Oskar Jellinek's Der Bauernrichter (1925), Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle (1926) and Stefan Zweig's Verwirrung der Gefiihle (1926) inflect the normative criteria traditionally associated with the genre in order to elucidate the complicated interplay between form and historical change is a primary aim of this study. Bound up with this analysis of form is an exploration of gender disturbance. The four Novellen singled out for close reading are all written by men and deal with perceptions of the male self - how masculine subjectivity is under threat from changes in the relationship between the sexes and processes of sexual identity formation, how that subjectivity can potentially be recovered and reconstructed. By investigating crises in settings ranging from the peasant milieu to academia, from unsanctioned cohabitation to bourgeois marriage, Jellinek, Schnitzler, Zweig and Musil reveal varying degrees of disruption to the structural paradigms of the 'ideal' Novelle and provide a cross-section of subject matter dealing with depictions of disturbances to the male self in the 1920s. This thesis argues that the Novellen of this project are important precisely because they interrogate the complicated boundaries of socially sanctioned masculine behaviour, and for the different ways in which they reflect socio-cultural issues and intellectual debates of the First Republic. It is this insistence upon elucidating the interrelatedness of theme and structure that distinguishes this project from other studies on the Novelle.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Genre and gender disturbance: Male perceptions of the self in Austrian novellen of the 1920s
Identifier: PQ ETD:593281
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1445957
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