Black devil and iron angel

Black devil and iron angel: the railway in nineteenth-century German realism

Paul A. Youngman
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Black devil and iron angel
    Book Description:

    Black Devil and Iron Angel examines how the railway was received and represented by a variety of nineteenth-century German and Austrian realist authors including Berthold Auerbach, Theodor Fontane, and Gerhart Hauptmann.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1668-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Paul A. Youngman
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    (pp. 1-26)

    In 1846, when Berthold Auerbach published Sträflinge (Convicts), part of his popular Schwarzwälder Dorfgeschichten (Black Forest Village Tales), the entire German railway system was eleven years old and consisted of a mere 3,291 kilometers. By the time Max Eyth published his technological novella Berufstragik (Occupational Tragedy) (1899), the system consisted of an iron net that encompassed more than fifty thousand kilometers in the German territory—a more than fifteen-fold increase.¹ Given this explosive growth rate, it is hardly surprising that the train and its associated technologies became a focus of study in German society, particularly in the realm of literature....

    (pp. 27-54)

    Berthold Auerbach, born Moses Baruch Auerbach in the Swabian city of Nordstetten in 1812, was one of the most widely read and critically acclaimed authors in the latter half of the nineteenth century. History, however, has not been kind to Auerbach. His works are generally not considered part of the canon of German literature, and he has frequently been consigned to the rank of writers of provincial village stories, suggesting a certain lack of relevance. But Auerbach, as a transitional author whose works herald the beginning of the realist movement in German literature, is relevant in any analysis of realism...

    (pp. 55-83)

    The railway presented the same conflict in Austria that it did in Germany, and it is interesting that the conflict plays a central role in the works of another writer of so-called village tales and a friend of Berthold Auerbach—the Austrian author Peter Rosegger. Rosegger’s attitude toward the railway and technological advancement in general can best be characterized as ambivalent. Rosegger noted in his journal that he was in favor of progress in cultures on the rise but against it in cultures on the wane. In rising cultures, he believed, technological progress would only enhance the improvement, while in...

    (pp. 84-108)

    Theodor Fontane was born in Neuruppin near Berlin in 1819, more than twenty-five years before the first steam-driven German railway, the Bavarian Nürnberg-Fürth line, was built.¹ By 1878, when Fontane published Vor dem Sturm (Before the Storm), his first major work of fiction, the German railway system was flourishing. For him, the rail was therefore not something startlingly new.² Unlike the Heines of the world, Fontane did not perceive an uncanny horror or monster in the train.³ But this does not mean that Heinimann is right to diminish the importance of the railway in Fontane’s works by suggesting that it...

    (pp. 109-127)

    Gerhart Hauptmann was born in Obersalzbrunn in Silesia in 1862, more than twenty-five years after the first railway in Germany was built. By the time of Hauptmann’s birth the system was flourishing, with approximately 12,150 kilometers of rail lines, more than half of them in Prussia.¹ In his notes to an edition of Hauptmann’s Bahnwärter Thiel, Klaus Post discusses the rather interesting role the railway played in the life of the young Hauptmann. Early in his life, Hauptmann’s parents owned a hotel in Salzbrunn, Zur Preußischen Krone (the Prussian Crown). When Hauptmann was seventeen years old, his father was forced...

  10. 6 MAX EYTH
    (pp. 128-148)

    Like Fontane, the former pharmacist, Max Eyth came to his writing career rather late in life from an unrelated field. He was sixty years old when he moved from Berlin to Ulm to be with his aging mother and began his career as a writer. This phase of his life started in 1896 and ended with his death in 1906. It is what he did before this final phase of his life that makes him of particular interest to this project. Although both his father and grandfather were men of letters, “Altphilologen,Theologen der tüchtigen schwäbischen Art” (old philologists, theologians of...

    (pp. 149-154)

    This project originated in response to a call by Peter Watson to begin to think of the arts and sciences as part of one extended narrative.¹ This type of prodding has quite a history indeed. Elinor S. Shaffer puts it best in her introduction to a collection of essays she edited, entitled The Third Culture: Literature and Science (1998). She notes that with the ascendancy of science and the scientific outlook in the latter half of the nineteenth century, “ the need to find a framework in which old values could still guide the new procedures seemed urgent to many.”²...

    (pp. 155-158)
    (pp. 159-162)
    (pp. 163-168)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 169-174)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 175-175)