Whether it be as a symbol of proletarian solidarity in East German theater or as part of West German literary engagement with American Jewish culture, Yiddish shows up all over postwar German literature and performance. Building on scholarship from German Studies, Yiddish Studies, and cultural and political history, the following study connects the study of Yiddish in German literature after both to discourses from the early 20th century and to broader discussions on German identity and literary legacy in the postwar era.
I am primarily interested in the reinvention of the folk tradition following the Nazi era and the creation of a usable literary past at a time in which the German political and geographic present was in flux. This dissertation explores these issues by looking at the ways in which German-language authors on both sides of the Berlin Wall, and those writing after its fall, relied on Yiddish to negotiate national literary identities.
By looking at the diverse body of texts that do this and the ways in which these works were received, this dissertation demonstrates that the presence of Yiddish language and culture in German literature after was used to create spaces in which foundational narratives could be reshaped and new identities defined. Parents: This work has no parents. Tweet Share. Master's Papers Deposit your masters paper, project or other capstone work.
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Frankfurt a. CeFischer - Erste Auflage. Geburtstages E. Item added to your basket View basket. Proceed to Basket. View basket. Continue shopping. Results 1 - 12 of Search Within These Results:. Textlinguistische Analyse Im Comic. Das Kinderh rspiel. In his literary works, Hoffmann explores a wide variety of loveaffairs. What we have to remember is the essentially masculine perspective from which these are presented — a point that should also be remembered when considering the work of other writers such as Schlegel, Novalis, Tieck, and Fichte, and their views on the nature of Romantic love.
All of them regard woman as primarily an object of love and attribute her, almost a priori, with a specific function.
She appears in a variety of roles: as the embodiment of an ideal, as redeemer, as a caricatured representative of bourgeois marriage, or even as femme fatale. But whatever her role, she is providing the man with the kind of love for which he yearns. Whatever role she is cast in, woman has no choice but to assume it for the benefit of the man. She must become the perfect fulfillment of male longing, which means she loses her identity and becomes nothing 51 but a male fantasy. This reveals the celebrated passion of the artist to be nothing more than the passion of a man for a woman, who may be a real-life individual of flesh and blood, or merely the embodiment of an ideal in which unconditional mutual love plays little part.
In any case, it hardly seems to matter what form the woman assumes. It is unsurprising, therefore, that Hoffmann — in common with so many of his generation — should choose to explore the multi-faceted nature of love through a variety of different female figures. First, there is the woman involved in a bourgeois marriage of convenience, a social arrangement designed to provide financial security for her and a well-maintained domestic environment for her husband. It is hardly surprising that Hoffmann, from his perspective as a literary artist, should take such a dim view of this type of marriage, which he saw purely as an arrangement devoid of any genuine feelings of love.
In its ideal form, such a relationship achieves the goal 53 of Romantic philosophy, harmonizing the realms of love and art. In both realms, the Romantic individual is able to draw closer to the Ideal by breaking free from the constraints of his individuality and finding fulfillment in the Other, or in the work of art. That is to say, love, like art, offers a glimpse of a world beyond everyday reality. We return here to the theme of Romantic longing; it is in his insatiable longing that the Romantic artist who is continually striving to capture the Ideal in his work turns his attention to another realm in which, according to Romantic philosophy, the satisfaction of this longing is possible, namely love.
Usually it is through his art that the artist 54 makes first contact with the woman in question. Moreover, these women are not merely blessed with musical talents, they are beautiful as well, making the artist regard them as reflections of the Ideal and of divine beauty. This is how Berthold views Angiola T. Also, in real life, Julia Marc, with whom Hoffmann was passionately in love, had a beautiful singing voice and great physical beauty as well.
All of his unfocused longing suddenly becomes channeled: he idolizes the woman, attributes divine qualities to her, and, in so doing, robs her of her own personality and destroys her sense of self. He sees her only in terms of his own longing, not as she is in reality. Laura war des Dichters Werk. But it is not just abstract philosophical concerns that play a role here; there are two other factors that should not be overlooked.
In so doing she makes her unique contribution to his development towards a state of perfection and appears to him as both his redeemer and the embodiment of his ideal. Although the artist may believe that he has discovered the embodiment of the Ideal in a particular woman and through her has gained access to the metaphysical realm of the Ideal, it is important not to underestimate the contribution made by latent sexual desire in his idealization of woman.
In the final analysis, the artist is not simply a disembodied spirit, but a real human being of flesh and blood. Indeed we might ask why the Ideal should not be embodied in a masculine form, a question Thomas Mann explores 61 in Der Tod in Venedig Death in Venice, Accordingly, the fact that it is woman — and not man — who is subject to this process of idealization is in no small measure a reflection of her erotic appeal for the 62 male artist.
It is only when the erotic dimension is held in check that this process of idealization can take place. Female sexuality is also associated with death, as is the case with Euphemie in Die Elixiere des Teufels, and Lorelei, who uses her charms to attract the sailors. All of these woman bring about the downfall of men, and as a result, come to be seen not as individuals offering the prospect of unconditional love, but as the root cause of catastrophe. When an artist raises a particular woman to the status of feminine ideal, he is — consciously or unconsciously — channeling his unfocused longing from the Absolute and towards an entity in the real world.
This is, of course, only human and quite understandable. Any attempt to turn another female human being into an embodiment of the Ideal, however, is doomed to fail because Romantic longing is insatiable by its very nature, being focused on the infinite and, as such, is an end in itself. Its elusiveness may frustrate the artist, but it also provides him with the inspiration for his art and is a source of creative energy. Although there is, at least in theory, no end to such longing, the fact that it is an endless quest need not necessarily be seen as something wholly negative.
Indeed, paradoxically, the artist whose longing is satisfied is almost always bitterly disappointed because in finding the Ideal he loses his source of inspiration and is left with nothing more than the mundane reality of the material world. To understand the positive nature of Romantic longing, we must remember that the journey is more important than the goal. Much the same can be said about Romantic love, which by its very nature must remain unrequited. No matter how obvious he may have made his feelings to Julia, they remained unrequited.
Even at the height of his obsession, he never 64 contemplated abandoning his wife Mischa. And just three months after Julia had left town, Hoffmann records in his diary that marital harmony 65 with the long-suffering Mischa had been restored. Hoffmann was able to write about the multifarious forms of love from personal experience, from the hopeless passion of the Romantic artist at one extreme, to bourgeois marriage with its everyday banalities but also its deep-rooted relationship of mutual trust at the other.
He is also presenting us with an instance of the relationship of the Ideal to reality, a relationship which can only be fully appreciated with the help of Romantic irony. Hoffmann survived this particular catastrophe as a result of his ability to take an ironic — and thus detached — view of his own situation. He was sufficiently rational to be able to reflect on his own situation and acknowledge that he was both a thinking subject and the object of that process of reflection. As a result, he was able to confront the hopelessness of his predicament not in purely emotional terms but with a degree of critical detachment.
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In literature as in life, Hoffmann wrestled with the Romantic dilemma, probing and analyzing the nature of the Ideal — the ideal of love, of art, or a synthesis of the two. The Romantic artist longs for a fusion of the realms of art and love, and his unending quest is to bring about such a fusion. Only then does he come close to capturing the Ideal itself. Whatever he was doing in his life — whether working as an artist, practicing as a lawyer, or suffering as a lover, Hoffmann put all of his energies into his quest for the Ideal.
Notes 1 Hoffmann, who enjoyed friendships with many of his contemporary writers, and who read widely in literature and books on philosophy, science, and history, is generally considered hard to classify; he does not seem to fit comfortably into any identifiable school of Romantic writing. For a more detailed discussion of the works with which Hoffmann was familiar, see Brigitte Feldges and Ulrich Stadler, eds. NS I, Hoffmann Marburg: Hitzeroth, , 39— Ludwig Tieck, Nachgelassene Schriften, 2 vols. Bruno Hillebrand Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, , —82 See Briefwechsel I, See Briefwechsel I, 26 September Kaiser, E.
Hoffmann Stuttgart: Metzler, , Hoffmann in Aufzeichnungen seiner Freunde und Bekannten. The various female artists who appear in the novellas may be accomplished in a particular sphere of artistic activity, but they are not full-blooded Romantic artists in the above sense.
Wolfgang Paulsen Bern, Munich: Franke, , — Hoffmann Berlin: Stapp, , Hoffmann himself provides proof of just how irreconcilable theory and practice were; he recognized the impasse he was in with Julia, yet could not prevent himself from idealizing her. Friedrich Schnapp Munich: Winkler, , Considerable disagreement remains, however, as to how the novella is to be interpreted.
Very soon after its publication, two quite distinct readings had emerged. Nicht zum Verstehen. First, who is the main character? Is it Cardillac or Scuderi? And second, how does the story end? Does it end on a positive note insofar as 5 the central protagonists bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion, or 6 are we invited to take a more skeptical view of the denouement?
Given the number of diametrically opposed interpretations of the story, it is hardly surprising that some critics have turned their attention to the formal qualities of the novella instead and viewed it as an early example of a detective 7 novel. Fascinating though such discussions of genre are, they tend to be 8 of little help in resolving differences of interpretation. The decisions of the Sun King and his ministers — which inevitably have profound and far-reaching consequences — are made at court; yet the atmosphere of this rococo court is one of superficial frivolity that is quite incompatible with deciding weighty matters of state.
The courtiers are primarily concerned with composing amusing ditties so that the king and his immediate circle who appear to have no particularly pressing tasks can wile away their time and stave off boredom. Here art is something purely decorative — all form and no content. Apart from satisfying the personal vanity of their authors, such bon mots are designed to entertain the king and win his support in the hope that this will secure an advantage for their author. In this process of aesthetic manipulation, the truth is distorted, if not obscured altogether.
But it is not just public life that is distorted by being packaged into such empty aesthetic forms. The Organs of Justice It is not just those at court who try to blot out the truth by aestheticizing human experience and excluding its more unpleasant aspects. Unlike the courtiers, who seize upon every quirk of character, adapting and shaping it for inclusion in their trivial verses, La Regnie deliberately closes his eyes to anything which seems to require a more differentiated view of the 9 case on hand, thereby complicating its investigation.
When investigating the murder of Cardillac, he not only disregards the complexities of the case but shows himself to be unscrupulous. Those responsible for maintaining law and order need to be seen by the king — and by the general public — to be getting results. It is enough for them to give an appearance of having the situation under control to justify both their position in society and their methods.
The fact is, however, that when La Regnie exercises the draconian powers at his disposal, not only do the innocent suffer, but further obstacles are placed in the way of arriving at the truth. They clamor for an arrest and regard the police as having failed in their duties when they take too long to find a culprit.
The atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in which they live makes them want any results, regardless of how unreliable these may be. Here the novella exposes the glaring discrepancy between truth and justice on the one hand, and the arbitrary decisions of the judiciary on the other. Initially, the king is moved less by the facts of the case than by the skillful rhetoric of Scuderi and the innocent charms of Madelon. Yet, a ruler who is all too eager to ignore the facts almost certainly bodes disaster for his subjects.
On a number of occasions he even expresses his concern about the excessive zeal with which La Regnie and Desgrais go about their business, as well as the inevitable spread of fear and terror through the execution of perfectly innocent citizens. There is, of course, a distinction to be drawn between the judgements of the judiciary and justice itself. Hoffmann, who was actively involved in the Prussian legal administration, naturally understood that a state cannot function without a judiciary.
At the same time, he recognized that human beings are not infallible, and consequently any judicial system is likely to have its defects. Cardillac and the Poisoners When the novella opens, we learn that a series of mysterious murders has been taking place, and all the evidence appears to point to one particular band of criminals. After a long investigation the authorities identify those responsible and bring them to justice. But the sense of relief experienced by both the police and the public is short-lived.
It is not long before a new series of murders — this time committed in conjunction with a string of robberies — plunge the city into a state of anxiety. Although the two sets of murders appear to be similar, they represent two quite different types of crime, carried out by individuals who have little in common with one another. The power they wield is purely a destructive power. Cardillac, on the other 11 hand, murders and robs for much more complex motives. This is not simply on account of his murderous tendencies, but also because his conception of art is the very opposite of the prevailing rococo aesthetic.
He has no time for such superficial frivolity; his artistic striving is directed solely towards penetrating the mysteries of art itself. His artistic integrity and his tireless quest to make the perfect work of art lead him to despise any notion of functional art. It is this attitude that sets Cardillac apart from other members of his society and in the end brings about his downfall. On the surface there may seem to be little to distinguish the crimes of the poisoners from those committed by Cardillac in that both result in sudden death.
But, as we shall see, there is a rationale behind the murders Cardillac commits. Of course, the wider issue of the ownership of a work of art — does it belongs to the creator or the patron for whom it was made — is notoriously difficult to answer. According to Romantic theories of art, it is something that enables human beings to make contact with a higher realm of transcendent forms.
At the same time, Hoffmann is aware that works of art are not simply abstract entities suspended in an aesthetic realm, but have a concrete, material aspect, and are closely bound up with social reality. Accordingly, neither the philistine public who inhabit the world of social and financial power, nor the artist who inhabits the sphere of aesthetics, can lay exclusive claim to the ownership of a work of art.
Cardillac mistakenly believes that he can, and must, assert his claim to the sole ownership of his masterpieces and tries to steal them back from his philistine patrons. Such people recognize that art is an activity pursued for its own sake and is not a means to an end. The poisoners are driven by the basest of motives, being concerned solely with destruction and the assertion of power over others.
Their cruelty knows no limits, and they embark upon an orgy of killings which demands an ever increasing supply of innocent victims. But unlike the poisoners who simply indulge their arbitrary lust for killing, Cardillac tries to break free from the deterministic force he has had to live with since birth by making a gift of a beautiful piece of jewelry to Scuderi. In this way, Hoffmann underlines the fact that Cardillac does suffer as a result of his conscience, and even if he is powerless to control his criminal tendencies, he tries at least to keep them in check.
Cardillac has the psychological make-up of the artist; he is obsessively attached to the artifacts he has created and is constantly striving to create new works that surpass his previous best attempts. Some critics have suggested that this admittedly mysterious set of circumstances entails that Cardillac is not in control of his actions and therefore cannot be held responsible for these. But there is no need to jump to this conclusion. In a narrowly moral sense, Cardillac is guilty. Olivier and Madelon As we have seen, appearance and reality play a crucial role in this novella.
The courtiers, as might be expected, often prefer to gloss over the truth, but even Scuderi and Olivier, both of whom appear to be of impeccable character and caught up in events through no fault of their own, show that they too prefer an edited version of the truth occasionally. He knows that if he manages to do this he is bound to appear to his beloved in a much better light.
Olivier realizes the extent of his own guilt, knowing that he was responsible, albeit indirectly, for a series of murders by not turning Cardillac in to the police. He would have had to confess his guilt to Madelon, also revealing that he was not an innocent victim of circumstances, but a fallible individual quite capable of carrying out ignoble deeds, all of which would have meant the collapse of his vision of an idealistic love affair.
He is not willing to risk jeopardizing this, nor is he prepared to run the risk that, rather than her forgiving him, accepting his faults, and thereby growing into a mature adult human being capable of love in the true sense of the word, she might simply reject him out of hand. He would rather die than allow her illusions and his! Cardillac, no less than Olivier, is anxious to conceal the truth from Madelon, but his reasons differ. The more guilt-laden he becomes about his crimes, the more he values the virginal purity of his daughter and takes every care to preserve this innocence. First he throws Olivier out of his house, only to accept him back later because he has become privy to his murderous secret.
But this condition of innocence is, of course, an artificial state of affairs. That is to say, if there can be no paradise 17 on earth, at least there should be a virginal Madonna. Although it would be traumatic for Madelon to discover that her father was a murderer, this experience is unlikely to have caused her death.
In deciding to keep the truth concealed, Scuderi and Olivier simply assume it would have killed her. In so doing, they act in accordance with a model of education in which young girls are deliberately shielded from reality, a model of education that neither criticizes and both encourage. As an unmarried woman in an essentially male-dominated 18 society, she enjoys considerable independence, as a member of the court, she has had ample opportunity to observe the course of political and romantic intrigue at close quarters, and as an elderly lady she is of little interest to potential admirers.
All of the above enable her to view the world from a more objective perspective than most. Why then does this intelligent and resourceful woman appear to disregard the experience she has gathered over the course of a lifetime by agreeing with Olivier that it would be better for Madelon to be kept in the dark about her father? The girl has already lost her father and were 19 Olivier to be executed, she would have had a double loss to bear. However, it is not simply in respect of the education of young women that Scuderi is misguided.
She sees art as principally concerned with form, not content. She composes witty rhyming couplets, uses extravagant rhetoric, and can always turn a bon mot. She sees it essentially as bound up with the business of escaping the prosaic and unpleasant aspects of everyday life, which makes her no different from the other artists at court, except that she uses her art to try and gain an advantage for Olivier rather than for herself.
His evaluation of Scuderi is correct; it is in her personal courage, together with her refusal to compromise, that her strength lies. Whether it is a question of making sure that true love will end in fulfillment or simply of seeing to it that truth and justice are not lost amidst the general corruption of society, she will always do her utmost. Hoffmann presents the two extremes of love in this novella: the trivial, sensual passion and the grand emotion that prompts human beings to pursue the Ideal.
For his part, Olivier is willing to sacrifice his own life in order to spare Madelon the pain of discovering the truth, though his motive for so doing is somewhat questionable. This overhasty, erroneous conclusion has the advantage that it is far simpler than embarking upon a systematic investigation of human motives and complex pieces of evidence.
When circumstances force Scuderi to recognize the dangers inherent in a world from which truth has been excluded, her motherly sensibilities are aroused, and she proves both willing and able to confront reality, especially when, as in this case, the lives and future happiness of two innocent human beings are at stake.
This makes her an exceptional figure in her society. The whole thing is pure theater. But as it happens, her plan goes horribly wrong. And of course, this ultimately leads to Olivier being acquitted of murder.
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It prompts the king to take an interest in the case and become personally involved in it. Nonetheless, we should not imagine that justice can be secured solely through an emotional commitment, as Scuderi initially appears to believe; justice also requires the use of reason and a detailed examination of the available facts. Like art, justice 22 requires the application of reason and emotion in equal measure.
He lacks the delicate balance between reason and emotion, and it is this imbalance that eventually brings about his downfall. He bears the dual burden of being a full-blooded Romantic artist and having an inborn obsession for jewelry, making him doubly likely to transgress conventional boundaries in his quest for the Ideal. But the latter, Hoffmann makes quite clear, is contrary to the true purpose of art.
Neither Cardillac, the artist who does not feel himself bound by moral codes, nor Scuderi, who has moral principles but only a slender understanding of art, perceives how intimately art and morality are bound up together. The society that Hoffmann depicts is one in which violence and terror are widespread. The novella as a whole suggests that any society that neglects either art or morality will fail its citizens and that if it runs its civic affairs on purely pragmatic lines, it is doomed to decay.
The story is not, as some critics would have it, open-ended. It may be left to us to draw our own conclusions, but that does not mean that the ending can be interpreted arbitrarily. This series of oppositions is one with which all human beings must come to terms — whether as lovers, artists, or judges. It is not sufficient to favor one term over the other, and the consequences of doing so are clearly spelled out in the novella.
Nor is the solution to be found in a banal position of compromise mid-way between these two poles. What matters is that society can accommodate a variety of opposing tendencies and that a man like Cardillac has the right to exist and to pursue his artistic endeavors without feeling driven to resort to the extreme behavior depicted in the story. Accordingly, we must not lose sight of either art or morality; if truth, which is never simple, is to emerge, a case must be considered from a variety of often diametrically opposed perspectives.
Rather, it is a continually evolving state of consciousness that can never come to rest without running the risk of ossifying into a fixed position. This continual process of calling ideas into question and adopting a critical attitude is essential if human beings are to make progress in grasping reality and discovering truth. Hoffmann, ed. Helmut Prang Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, , —36 At the same time, he sees Scuderi as an embodiment of virtue and thus as someone who offers Cardillac the possibility of redemption.
In a later essay, she goes on to claim that the denouement forces the reader to question the kind of black and white judgments to which the characters themselves are all too prone. The Artistic Detective in E. Winfried Freund Munich: Fink, , 47— The difference between the two lies in the original moral impulse behind their actions.
His eccentric behavior makes him reminiscent of Krespel in Rat Krespel; in his burning desire to defend the value of art, he is similar to Berthold in Die Jesuiterkirche in G. Of course, unlike his mother, Cardillac attaches no significance to the material value of the jewelry. Aristotle, Nicomachaean Ethics, VI, ii, 5. We must also remember that for Hoffmann this is not simply a theoretical view of legal or aesthetic matters; in his capacity as both judge and writer, he had to effect a synthesis of reason and emotion.
It is hardly surprising that the volume of secondary literature on the story has now reached such proportions that it is difficult to present a concise overview of all that has been written. Despite this claim, it is possible to discern a number of distinct critical trends. First, there are those who have isolated particular motifs in the story: the symbolism of the eye; the opposition between madness and 2 sickness, between hot and cold; and the idea of the human robot. But for all their diversity, most of these approaches can be categorized by the way that they deal with two key questions: a is Nathanael driven mad by his own unfettered imagination, or are there other mysterious forces at work?
And b , is Clara to be seen as a positive or a negative figure in 4 the story? If we consider that Nathanael is a creative artist of a sort, Der Sandmann can be fitted into the series of novellas in which one of the main characters is an artist. Of course, he is not a professional artist like Berthold in Die Jesuiterkirche in G. In short, art — and creative activity in gen6 eral — are at the heart of this novella. The point Hoffmann makes most emphatically in the novella is the inter-relationship of art and reality.
Although he is involved in a continual struggle to discover new artistic forms, the artist is driven by the desire to communicate these artistic creations to an audience. Furthermore, there is no reason why this audience should be confined only to professional critics and experts. This moment marks a turning point in the story since Nathanael interprets this rejection as her refusal to get involved and show an interest in the feelings and experiences that he has worked up into an artistic form.
He experiences the crushing disappointment of the artist whose audience walks out in the middle of his performance. There he is alone, with no one to whom he can communicate the products of his artistic imagination and no one from whom he can expect any kind of response, let alone understanding. It is the fate with which the Romantic artist is all too familiar. But just as she repudiates him and his fantasy world, he turns his back on her and the reality of her world, but this is hardly a solution. His desire to articulate his feelings and the products of his imagination is so strong that he is unable to check his creative instincts and stop himself from seeking out a new audience.
Olimpia Unlike his bourgeois friends who have no interest in art and who are not seeking a soul mate, Nathanael is predisposed to fall in love with her and find in her a substitute for all that Clara and the other members of the rational bourgeois world have denied him. It is not until he desperately needs an audience for his poetry that she springs to mind again. To begin with he believes that in her he has found a soul mate and willing audience, someone who admires him and to whom he feels increasingly close.
This is merely an illusion since she is, of course, a robot. Sie spricht wenig Worte [. Unable to recognize her for the robot she is, he attributes qualities to her to which his fellow students are oblivious. But do we not all see more in the object of our affections than the rest of the world does? Is it not the case that the lover, and also the artist, sees more in his beloved than the rational world, which approaches such things with only instrumental reason at its disposal?
The discovery that Olimpia is a mechanical doll is a traumatic event for Nathanael, but in pledging himself to her, Nathanael sets himself apart from the philistines who lack imagination, and whose view of art and of the world around them is wholly superficial.
The Romantic artist is in a similar situation to the lover in that both are distanced from the world of instrumental reason. Although this might appear to be a shortcoming, it does entail a broadening of perspective and a recognition of those qualities that remain concealed from those of a non-Romantic disposition. We may laugh at Nathanael when he insists that Olimpia possesses unique qualities, but as a lover and an artist, he is privy to a world that eludes many others. If he had never discovered that Olimpia was an automaton, it is possible that he might have remained happy and contented with her, although to the rational mind, this would be an unthinkable situation.
They cannot enjoy this temporary liberation of the imagination and with it the provocatively amusing aspect of the whole business for what it is. It should be added, however, that while his failure to perceive that Olimpia was nothing but a marionette may be excusable, he is guilty of contributing to the artificiality of her being by projecting the categories of his imagination on to her. As a lover and artist, Nathanael needs an Other, someone to respond to his expressions of love and art.
Failing to find such a person, Nathanael creates one, rather like a present-day Pygmalion. Olimpia is doubly artificial; her physical body has been assembled by Spalanzani and Coppelius, and her identity has been constructed by 10 Nathanael. This tragic event shows how fatal it is for the artist or lover to cling to an illusion of his own making. No lover can create the perfect bride, nor can the Romantic artist create the perfect audience.
The fact remains that the perfect woman does not exist; the perfect audience — which for the Romantic artist would be made up of like-minded artists — when taken to its logical conclusion would be nothing less than a mirror image of the artist himself. Too late to save himself, Nathanael realizes that Olimpia is not — any more than Clara was — the Ideal for which he longs. The more Romantic Nathanael grows, the more rational Clara becomes. The question is, which will turn out to be dominant. And finally, we must not forget that it is Clara who prevents Nathanael and Lothar from fighting a senseless duel: Ihr wilden entsetzlichen Menschen!
SW I, So much for the warm, caring side of her personality. Her fatal mistake is not so much her understandable reluctance to take seriously the figures Nathanael refers to in his writings and conversations, rather it is her refusal to take seriously his fears and anxieties, which are only too real to Nathanael. Clara may try to get Nathanael to view the world from her perspective, but he tries to do exactly the same to her in a forlorn attempt to make her more receptive to his world.
Ultimately it is her reluctance — or inability — to derive pleasure from the world of fantasy that drives him, quite literally, mad.
She lacks precisely those qualities of the imagination that the narrator hopes to arouse in the reader: Vielleicht wirst du, o mein Leser! SW I, The rational Clara cannot do this, and her prosaic and bourgeois view of the world appalls Nathanael, who feels misunderstood and humiliated both in his capacity as a lover and artist.
He wants to plunge into the Romantic world of the imagination, whereas Clara clings to the rules and paradigms of her rationalistic world. Of course, both are guilty of exaggeration when they claim that happiness is only to be found in their world, the only one which is real. When they both climb the tower to enjoy the view, catastrophe strikes.
Seized by a fit, Nathanael attempts to hurl Clara down from the tower, before throwing himself off the top. Why does the novella end on this tragic note, and how are we to interpret it? Nathanael never actually encounters the mysterious figure face to face. What she tells Nathanael is, of course, typical of many a fairy-tale in which other equally terrifying figures play a prominent role. However, unlike her account of the Sandman, these tales usually have a happy ending in which good triumphs over evil.
By projecting his atavistic fears on to a particular figure and by overcoming this figure in his mind, a child can often overcome his fears and thereby experience a catharsis. The mysterious atmosphere that pervades the house seems to be the very antithesis of a rationalistic attitude to the world.
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