THE ROMANTIC FAIRY TALE by Marianne Thalmann


Email this review


A minor, mildly interesting study of German Romanticism, or that part of it which could cry: ""The Enlightenment is dead. Long live the fairy tale!"" The author, a professor emeritus of German at Wellesley College, defines this literature generally as a response to the times, seeing in the work of Tieck, Wackenroder, Brentano, Novalis and Hoffmann, an escape from the tyranny of rationalism and the petty bourgeois world of the everyday which gained so much prominence in the post-Napoleonic period. From there it is an easy step to correlate these concerns with modernist movements such as surrealism and existentialism, which the professor does, but always cautiously. Indeed, scholarly circumspection and a crossing of t's and a dotting of i's is everywhere evident, a somewhat unfortunate procedure for delineating the magical, especially so in Novalis' case, certainly the most exciting of the group and here the most boring. Faring much Letter is the tragicomic character of Hoffmann's creations and Tieck's mixing of everyday life with the exotic.

Publisher: Univ. of Michigan