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Female Victims and Oppressors in Novels by Theodor Fontane and François Mauriac

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Susan Wansink

This book compares selected novels of Theodor Fontane (1819-1898) with those of François Mauriac (1885-1970), breaking new ground by revealing the strong thematic parallels and certain stylistic affinities in the authors' presentations of female characters and society. It focuses on the female characters in Effi Briest (1895) and Thérèse Desqueyroux (1927) as victims of a rigid, yet degenerating patriarchal society, and on the women in Frau Jenny Treibel (1892) and Genitrix (1924) as possessive dominators. These presentations reveal the injustices and insufficiencies of a social system on the verge of decline, existent in both authors' fictive worlds.