How many of the authors were male, how many were female? Relying on various reference books, we captured basic biographical information and data on all authors.
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Looking at their distribution in time, however, we came across a few surprises: Although there were two well-known female writers, i. With the advent of the Scott devotees the share of female authors quintuples.
Remarkably, this amount of female participation in the trade begins as early as and does not change over the years. From our point of view, however, it was the time between and that produced the most remarkable result. This amount of female literary productivity will - according to our figures - not be attained again, not even in the 20 th century. According to the research conducted by Kurt Habitzel on the historical novel of the German Democratic Republic,  this curve can be traced up to the present.
It is obvious the choice of which historical period a novel is set in is of essential importance see diagram 3. For the sake of simplicity we shall distinguish between novels set in ancient times, in the Middle Ages, and in modern times. As it is, the beginning of the historical novel is clearly under the sign of the Middle Ages and of classical antiquity.
What particularly strikes the eye is the disappearance of antiquity novels after This complete disappearance of classical antiquity is to continue for more than half an century. Diagram 3: Setting in time. On investigating the development of the antiquity novel after we are confronted with a radical change after the foundation of the German Empire: The share of the antiquity novel multiplied right up to ; after that, however, its appeal dwindled significantly. The way the Middle Ages are taken as a theme is not devoid of idiosyncrasy. As mentioned before, the Middle Ages provide the dominant subject-matter for the historical novels of the 18 th century.
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And even though most of them are quite different from their predecessors, the romances of chivalry, the lamentations of contemporary critics seem understandable against that background. The focus on the Middle Ages continues to be an essential feature of the years between and After and into the early s, however, this dominance totally diminishes. It is not until that the Middle Ages become popular in historical novels again and this situation continues - with some variation - up to When looking at the graph as whole, two things become apparent: Between and there is a dramatic rise in public interest in subject-matters dealing with modern and contemporary history.
The peak of focusing on modern history is reached between and , and interest in this period of history is never to be as intense again. After this interest dwindles in a brief span of time; it is classical antiquity and the Middle Ages that are rediscovered as new subject-matters - all this, however, against the background of the successful foundation of the German Empire.
During the years of World War I interest in subject-matters closer to the present also significantly increases; after the war there is a renaissance of the more remote past again.
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While the general success of the genre is undisputed, we know very little about the exact proportions of their authors' success or failure in the literary market. Pointing at the first great wave of the reception of Sir Walter Scott in the German market as an example, we documented in some detail the winners and losers among the writers of historical novels. Since sales success is one of the best indicators of the contemporary significance of a book, one of our intentions was to find out not only the most successful novels of the period in question but also the mediocre ones and the failures.
The usual method would have been to collect statements by contemporary commentators, to read the book reviews of important literary journals, and to give an interpretation of these investigations. In this way it would obviously not be possible to obtain information about all novels written between and In contrast to the methods conventionally applied, our solution is based on a completely different access to the literary market. Given that between and the prices for books in Germany and Austria were so high that literature and, especially, novels were distributed nearly exclusively by lending libraries, we consequently focused on lending libraries.
In order to obtain more precise data, we further considered the date of publication of the catalogues and of the novels - and obtained interesting results about the success of individual historical novels in the German lending libraries between and These 8 novels had been written by three male authors and one female author. And it should be mentioned that the book that came in second had been written as early as in , thus providing an example for the favourable and widespread reception of early historical novels during the Biedermeier period.
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Interestingly enough, as many as 40 novels could not be found in any lending library. These novels did not get any feedback from the literary market and were completely ignored by readers and by contemporary criticism alike. The result of this partial investigation might help to correct a notion that is prevalent among researchers of popular fiction, namely that popular fiction is automatically widely read. If we finally break down the figures according to the respective proportions of male and female writers, historical novels written by women turn out to have been just as successful with lending libraries as those written by their male colleagues.
When looking at the number of reprints, however, the ratio is clearly in favour of male writers: Reprints of historical novels by female authors are much less frequent. In other words, while historical novels written by women of the Biedermeier period seem to have answered the immediate needs of their readership, those by male authors came to be regarded as part of the cultural heritage and were, consequently, clearly favoured by the publishers.
The choice of title of a novel also needs to be considered. In this context, genre denominations also play an important part see diagram 4. Diagram 4: Genre denominations. We picked out the most frequently used genre denominations, i.
To the diagram we added those novels that displayed other or no genre denominations in their titles. The most popular genre name is not, as one might expect, "historischer Roman" but "Roman". This denotation experiences a linear rise beginning in the s right across all periodic divisions.
go site It is also quite illuminating to look at the trends started by the designation "historischer Roman". The name is used for the first time in a book title in After the "historische Roman" enters the scene again, but it is only after that it becomes the predominant genre denominator. This development reaches its peak around when almost every second historical novel is subtitled "historischer Roman". The group of "others" deserves special mention.
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It contains as many as different names for the genre. Most of them, in particular, have obviously been formed ad hoc and were used only once. The high percentage of the group of "others" before , but also in the s and s, shows that the writers found it difficult to classify and name their works in an appropriate way. We will close this survey by briefly summarising the time after Apart from data on the literature of the German Democratic Republic, we do not have any reliable figures on the development of the genre after There are many indications, however, that there is a temporary renaissance of the historical novel during the late s and early s; but no later than in the s this short-lived development finally comes to an end.
It is only with Umberto Eco's Il nome della rosa The Name of the Rose , published in German in , that the historical novel becomes socially acceptable again. At least partly influenced by postmodernism, the s accordingly see the publication of some of the models that have recently shaped the style of the genre. The latest trends towards the historical novel have not gone unnoticed by literary critics.
Seit einiger Zeit erleben historische Romane eine Renaissance. Vom lasterhaften alten Rom bis zu Bergwerken des Jahrhunderts bleibt kaum eine Epoche unbearbeitet. This text has been translated by Manfred Nikolussi. The susceptibility of an era to a particular genre of novels conveys the spirit of that era; and an investigation of the relationship between the two is apt to be more beneficial than all the complaints about the flood of bad novels that, albeit frequently lodged, do not alter the actual state of affairs: their readership goes on reading, and its ever ready servants go on writing, until a powerful spirit, or the inexorable pressure of circumstances, redirect the mighty current.
Not even the historian of mankind may reject the task of characterising the former, of analysing the latter. Hugo Aust: Der historische Roman. Stuttgart Sammlung Metzler , p. In: Philosophischer Anzeiger 13 May No.
In: Berliner Tageblatt. In: Das Deutsche Wort 11 No. Eine Geschichte aus dem sechszehnten Jahrhunderte. Berlin , p. Albeit feeble, its stile is quite pure and modern, and the tale does not resound with the rattle of tournaments and lances, of banquets and tankards. The real model of the protagonist was the mysterious poet Ilse Schneider-Lengyel, in whose house on the Bannwaldsee the first meeting of Group 47 took place..
His novel makes him part of a large international movement which since the turn of the century has worked to introduce esthetic demands and contemporary knowledge into a scientific context.. After Wiener began a new life in Berlin by founding several different restaurants which are now famous.. In particular, the religious and philosophical dimensions of this monumental work of fiction offer an immense field of study that has begun to be, but in large part remains to be explored.. The contribution of this dissertation will be to set the novel in the intellectual context of its creation by returning to precisely that in the text which originally won its acclaim:.
On completing his studies, Schubert began to practice in Altenburg, where he soon was in financial difficulties.. The novel centres around a group of men in the Nicaraguan city of Leon towards the beginning of the last century.. They revere the poet Ruben Dario, who was one of the major Latin American poets of the era, but another key theme is their plan to assassinate the then dictator, Somoza.. We have a long similar history of socialization through music, through our involvement in bands and the related discourses..