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Wilhelm Raabe's «Der Hungerpastor» and Charles Dickens's «David Copperfield»

Intertextuality of Two Bildungsromane


Peter Arnds

Der Hungerpastor (1864-65) is Wilhelm Raabe's most popular novel. This monograph shows how Raabe borrowed much of the plot and characters from Charles Dickens's best-selling David Copperfield (1849-50). By providing the reasons why Raabe borrowed from Dickens, this study goes far beyond the existing research on the parallels between these two Bildungsromane. A comparison of the heroes, their Jewish antagonists and a number of female characters demonstrates the extent of Raabe's indebtedness to Dickens. The intertextuality ranges from direct verbal echoes to a mere use of Dickens's ideas upon which Raabe builds a novel distinctly his own.