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Variations on Falun

A Comparative Anthology for the Advanced German Reader-

Doris S. Guilloton and Agnes D. Langon

Variations on Falun, a thematic anthology for the advanced German reader, contains 19th-century writings by Johann Peter Hebel, Achim von Arnim, E.T.A. Hoffmann and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The comparative analysis provides insights into the universal nature of human experience as it is reflected in these writings about a single event: The body of a miner, buried as a result of a mining accident at Falun in Sweden, was discovered 50 years later in a totally preserved state. The texts span four genres: short short story, poem, novella, and drama. They all blend scientific interest with fascination for inexplicable occurrences involving magnetism, hypnosis and symbols of dreams as reflected in the romantic notion of a mountain and its threatening subterranean spheres. The editors' introduction and selection of critical materials, footnotes and questions to the texts acquaint the reader with literary contexts, the authors and their times.