UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Geschichte in Literatur-- Literatur als Geschichte: Fürst Pücklers literarische Stellungnahme zu den historisch-politischen und sozialen Zuständen seiner Zeit dargestellt an den Werken : Briefe eines Verstorbenen, Tutti Frutti und Südöstlicher Bildersaal Bürklin-Aulinger, Elvira


Fürst Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871) is a writer whose work enjoyed immense popularity in his lifetime. Today, however, he is largely forgotten or ignored. This thesis proposes the rehabilitation of Nickler in German literary history. His work, consisting mainly of travelogues, achieves a stylistic distinction comparable to that of Heinrich Heine, and depicts events, places and people with a political and social perception that shows him to have been far ahead of his time. Nickler has always been a controversial figure. Though seen by some of his contemporaries as one of Germany's most influential and eloquent liberal travelogue-writers, he was also denounced as a second-rate poet who pandered to the aristocracy. As far as it exists, modern Nickler scholarship grants his work its deserved position in the genre of travel literature, but does not fully recognize its importance as politically and socially committed writing. For most of his life Pückler was interested in social and political questions. During his travels in Great Britain (1826-1828), documented in the Briefe eines Verstorbenen, he was introduced to the English political system. Henceforth, he proclaimed the need for a German constitutional monarchy. While travelling in Ireland he witnessed the struggle of the Irish people and became a strong supporter of the Irish emancipation movement. In Germany, he came in close contact with the group of writers known as "Junges Deutschland." Their writings were outlawed by the authorities in 1835, because of their treatment of political issues ranging from freedom of the press, autonomy of the universities, and constitutional questions, to the need for greater social justice. When he raised these issues in Tutti Frutti (1834), Nickler narrowly escaped a ban on the publication of his works, for some reactionary circles considered him a liberal agitator. Indeed, both Nickler's early pieces and his later work, such as the travel narrative Süd Ostlicher Bildersaal(1840), depicting the Wittelsbacher reign in Greece and the author’s association with the autocratic King of the Greeks, Otto I, demonstrate liberal conviction and progressive political thinking. This thesis examines critically Nickler's writings about England, Ireland, Germany und Greece, traces the author’s attitudes towards historical circumstances and personages and argues for the importance of his work and for its location close to that of other "Young German" writers, such as Heine, Borne or Herwegh.

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