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Title page for ETD etd-12042013-184058

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Schellmann, Lisa Cornelia
Author's Email Address lisa.c.schellmann@Vanderbilt.Edu
URN etd-12042013-184058
Title Das Motiv des Orients in der deutschen Literatur der Aufklärung und Romantik. Gotthold Ephraim Lessings Nathan der Weise und Novalisʼ Heinrich von Ofterdingen.
Degree Master of Arts
Department German
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Christoph Zeller Committee Chair
Johannes Endres Committee Member
John A. McCarthy Committee Member
  • Romanticism
  • Enlightenment
  • Orientalism
  • German Literature
Date of Defense 2013-10-11
Availability unrestricted
The depiction of the orient in the German literature during the Enlightenment and the Romantic period is unsurpassed in terms of its diversity. Intercultural communication and the representation of multicultural societies are not only phenomena occurring in the 20th century, but fictional images of the orient shaped modernity and still contributes to mutual acceptance among ethnical groups. This cultural sphere was a true inspiration for German literature comprising various discourses. They manifest in the dramatical poem Nathan der Weise, which was written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in 1779, and Novalisʼ romantic novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1802). Both serve as samples for the German oriental discourse which is distinct from the latter of other European countries. In Lessingʼs Nathan der Weise, the orient is a region of religious tolerance. In contrast to many other pieces of literature of that period, it is not the Christians serving as role model for human and ethical behavior, but Jewish Nathan, who is the embodiment of wisdom and benevolence. Moreover, the text breaks with gender stereotypes, since women are depicted as strong-willed and independent who influence male protagonists. The orient in the novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen is depicted as the source of poetry and religion. The acquaintance with this region serves as foundation for the fusion of orient and occident. The romantic idea of unity and universality are represented by this cultural sphere. Religion and poetry merge in the novel to create a universal religion. The protagonist is being confronted with oriental figures who have a striking impact on his career to become a poet.
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