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Techniques of Compression and Prefiguration in the Beginnings of Theodor Fontane's Novels


Carol Hawkes Velardi

Theodor Fontane repeatedly cited the beginning as key to a novel's construction and development, as exemplified in a letter to his publisher in 1880: «Beim richtigen Aufbau muß in der ersten Seite der Keim des Ganzen stecken». Through close reading and analysis of the beginnings of five Fontane «Gesellschaftsromane», this work focuses on Fontane's varied techniques of compression and prefiguration and traces their developing refinement throughout his career as novelist and social critic.
Contents: Works analyzed include L'Adultera, Graf Petöfy, Unwiederbringlich, Effi Briest, and Die Poggenpuhls.