Synopses & Reviews
The late nineteenth century saw German unification, industrialization, and radical changes in science and philosophy; it was also a crucial period for the development of German fiction, with the rise of the mass market and hence the German bestseller. Bestselling German fiction engaged the values of the new German nation, reflecting an emergent middle-class consciousness as well as authors' engagement with social questions. Providing escape, romance, or adventure in unsettling times, bestsellers mirrored contemporary values and captured the imagination of readers, but many have been neglected by scholars. This volume investigates bestselling fiction of the period from writers such as Freytag, Dahn, Jensen, Raabe, Viebig, Stifter, Auerbach, Storm, Mollhausen, Marlitt, Suttner, and Thomas Mann in its material and social contexts, treating conditions of publication and reception alongside aesthetic questions. It offers new readings of literary realism by focusing not on the accepted intellectual canon but on works read soon after publication by hundreds of thousands. Bestselling writers often sought to accommodate the expectations of publishers and the marketplace; this volume sheds light on those changing expectations and writers' attempts to find freedom and be innovative within those limits. Contributors: Christiane Arndt, Caroline Bland, Elizabeth Boa, Anita Bunyan, Katrin Kohl, Todd Kontje, Peter C. Pfeiffer, Nicholas Saul, Benedict Schofield, Ernest Schonfield, Martin Swales, Charlotte Woodford. Charlotte Woodford is Fellow in German, Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Benedict Schofield is Lecturer in German and Senior Tutor for the School of Arts and Humanities at King's College London.