Theodor Fontane

Theodor Fontane (tā´ōdôr fôntä´nə), 1819–98, German writer. Although he is primarily important as a novelist, he did not begin to write fiction until he was almost 60 years old. Thereafter, during his last two decades, he produced almost a novel a year. Earlier he had written two volumes of poetry, Gedichte (1851) and Balladen (1861), as well as accounts of his travels and his experiences as a war correspondent and prisoner during the Franco-Prussian War. He was also a drama critic for many years. The first master of the realistic novel in Germany, he wrote 17 perceptive novels that revealed the state of contemporary Berlin society, delineating the characters of its inhabitants largely through dialogue and monologue. He was particularly adept at studies of troubled women. His novels include L'Adultera (1882, tr. The Woman Taken in Adultery, 1979), Irrungen, Wirrungen (1888, tr. Trials and Tribulations, 1917), Frau Jenny Treibel (1893, tr. 1968, 1976), and his masterpiece, Effi Briest (1895, tr. 1976). He also wrote short novels and the autobiographical Meine Kinderjahre (1894, tr. of extracts, My Childhood Days, 1913–15).

See studies by H. Garland (1980), A. Bance (1982), H. Chambers (1997), G. A. Craig (2000), and M. Doebeling, ed. (2000).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Theodor Fontane: Literature and History in the Bismarck Reich
Gordon A. Craig.
Oxford University Press, 1999
The German Novel: Studies
Roy Pascal.
University of Toronto Press, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "Theodor Fontane, 1819-98"
Echoes in the Text: Musical Citation in German Narratives from Theodor Fontane to Martin Walser
Jean H. Leventhal.
Peter Lang, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. I "From the 'Master' to the Hurdy-Gurdy Man: Theodor Fontane's L'Adultera"
Literary Theory and Criticism Festschrift Presented to René Wellek in Honor of His Eightieth Birthday
Joseph P. Strelka.
Peter Lang, 1984
Librarian’s tip: "On Stifter's and Fontane's Realism: Turmalin and Mathilde Mohring" begins on p. 767
German Men of Letters
Alex Natan.
O. Wolff, vol.1, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "Theodor Fontane" begins on p. 215
Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature
Horatio Smith.
Columbia University Press, 1947
Librarian’s tip: "Fontane, Theodor (1819-1898, German Novelist)" begins on p. 271
Imperial Berlin
Gerhard Masur.
Basic Books, 1970
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Theodor Fontane begins on p. 155
Philosophy and German Literature, 1700-1990
Nicholas Saul.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Theodor Fontane begins on p. 141
Germany, a Companion to German Studies
Jethro Bithell.
Methuen, 1955 (5th edition)
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Theodor Fontane begins on p. 282
Essays on Culture and Society in Modern Germany
David L. Gross; Charles E. McClelland; David B. King; Gordon A. Craig; Gary D. Stark; Vernon L. Lidtke; Leonard Krieger; Bede K. Lackner.
Texas A&M University Press, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Irony and Rage in the German Social Novel: Theodor Fontane and Heinrich Mann" begins on p. 98
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator