The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature

By Friederike Eigler; Susanne Kord | Go to book overview

A

Abenteuerroman. This is a literary term for novels in which a suspenseful plot predominates. The protagonist lives through a series of adventures during the course of an imposed or self-imposed journey. The events do not describe a developmental process but seem to follow each other coincidentally.

During the Middle Ages, the genre can mainly be found in translations of French Arthurian epics, for example, in Elisabeth von Nassau-Saarbrücken's Huge Scheppel (c. 1450) and Eleonore von Österreich's Pontus und Sidonia (c. 1450).

After the Thirty Years' War ( 1618-1648), many characteristics of the Abenteuerroman were incorporated in the picaresque novel. These novels combined medieval ideals of court culture with adventurism, eroticism, and phantasmal elements. Many women coauthored such novels, usually anonymously. Sibylle Ursula von Braunschweig-Lüneburg and her brother Anton Ulrich wrote the completely original fragment Aramena in five volumes ( 1669- 1673).

A genuine interest in ethnography and a passion for adventurism resulted from the discoveries of new continents and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe ( 1717). Travel literature and Robinsonaden became popular during the 18th century. Women authors contributed to this new genre, such as Sophie von La Roche's Tagebuch einer Reise durch die Schweiz ( 1787) and Johanna Schopenhauer's Reise durch England und Schottland ( 1800, printed in 1818). These travelogues characterize women's attempts to break out of their roles by educating themselves through traveling and by chronicling their experiences. Sophie von La Roche 's famous novel Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim ( 1771) became

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The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • B 37
  • C 61
  • D 83
  • E 105
  • F 139
  • G 195
  • H 229
  • I 253
  • J 263
  • K 271
  • L 275
  • M 293
  • N 345
  • O 375
  • P 383
  • Q 429
  • R 431
  • S 465
  • T 515
  • U 531
  • V 537
  • W 553
  • Y 579
  • Z 581
  • Appendix of Names 587
  • Index 637
  • Contributors 673
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