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Infanticide in 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' and 'Faust I': romantic variations on a 'Sturm und Drang' theme

Pilsworth, E. ORCID: (2016) Infanticide in 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' and 'Faust I': romantic variations on a 'Sturm und Drang' theme. Oxford German Studies, 45 (4). pp. 405-420. ISSN 0078-7191

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00787191.2016.1243326


This article explores how the motif of infanticide is approached by two works of 1808: Volume II of Arnim and Brentano's romantic verse collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and Goethes Faust I. I argue that their treatments of the theme are fundamentally different to those of their Sturm und Drang predecessors of the 1770s and 80s. Instead of using the motif for purposes of social critique, the infanticide motif per se is explored, by citing a variety of versions and fragments from collective memory, or 'oral' tradition. At the same time, both works draw attention to their modes of collection and citation, highlighting the role of the romantic Author in the compilation, rather than creation, of their text; echoing Barthes's description of the writing process in 'The Death of the Author' as a 'tissue of quotations'.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > German
ID Code:79531
Publisher:Maney Publishing

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