From the late seventeenth century into the eighteenth, critics and authors in Germany defended the novel: indeed it depicted vice and immorality, but only with the intention of exhorting the reader to avoid such dangers to the soul. This book examines outstanding novels of life from the Thirty Years’ War to the
Vormärz, mostly written with this real or apparent moral aim, and evaluates them as documents of social history. The author finds that concepts of truth and plausibility are different in the early modern period. Initial and closing chapters deal with French novels, showing how approaches to society differ across national cultures.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2005. 228 pp.
Contents: Social history, everyday history and history of mentalities, exemplified in German and French novels, seventeenth
to nineteenth centuries: Sorel, Grimmelshausen, Christian Reuter, Der Sächsische Robinson, Schnabel, Gellert, La Roche,
Nicolai, Goethe, Jean Paul, Tieck, Gotthelf, Keller, Balzac – Distinguishing historical evidence from fantasy.