Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Albano (ahl-BAH-noh), the prince of the mythical German principality of Hohenfliess (HOH-ehn-flees). Albano is a young, fiery, and handsome aristocrat. As the novel begins, he is about to meet his assumed father, Gaspar de Cesara, with whom he spent the first three years of his life on the island of Isola Bella. Albano’s complicated history is revealed to him in a letter from his mother, Princess Eleonore, toward the end of the novel. Because his real parents, the rulers of Hohenfliess, feared an attempt on his life by their cunning relatives, the rulers of the neighboring principality of Haarhaar, they arranged that their son be reared by the trustworthy burgher Wehrfritz under the supervision of Gaspard. Consequently, Albano is educated in the quiet countryside with the help of several tutors and emerges as a noble and serious young man who does not yet know the world. He admires, respects, and loves unusual and great individuals. His assumed father, a knight of the Golden Fleece, has attained superhuman status for him, primarily by his absence and invisibility. Albano is the central character of this novel, on whom all events and occurrences focus. The purpose of his entry into society, beginning with the return to the island where he spent his infancy, is the formation of Albano as a worthy successor to the throne of Hohenfliess. Eventually, Albano learns who his true parents and siblings are and becomes acquainted with Roquairol von Froulay, the son of the prime minister of Hohenfliess, who had been held up as a model by his teachers. Roquairol proves to be immoral and deceitful, and after the friendship that Albano had sought with him dissolves, Count Cesara sends him on a trip to Rome so that he can learn to appreciate art. Albano, who still does not know that he is next in line to the throne of Hohenfliess, which in the meantime has been claimed by his older and unknown brother Luigi, expresses his republican inclination in his desire to travel to France to assist the revolutionaries. In the course of the novel, Albano succeeds in emancipating himself from his complex family background and from the passivity of the young, disinterested aristocrat. When Luigi dies and Albano is told of his true birth, he gives up the planned trip to France and, along with his bride, Idoine, becomes the enlightened ruler of Hohenfliess.


Julienne, Albano’s twin sister, of whose existence he does not know until he is an adult. Along with their older brother Luigi, Julienne was reared at the court of Hohenfliess. The young princess, whose best friend is Liane von Froulay, shares the sentimentality and tendency toward ecstatic imaginings of her friend. Julienne, who is also Linda’s friend, reveals herself to Albano as his sister during his stay in Italy, where she has been visiting with Linda.


Luigi, Albano’s older brother, heir to the throne of Hohenfliess. He is a degenerate who wastes his life and suffers from boredom. His face carries an expression of permanent discontent, and his body is bloated from his incontinent eating and drinking habits. When the old prince dies, Luigi, who has married the oldest daughter of the Prince of Haarhaar, becomes ruler of Hohenfliess. He soon dies. Luigi represents the decadent aristocrat who is doomed from birth. Hope lies with Albano, who is not reared at the court.

Liane von Froulay

Liane von Froulay (fon FROW-lay), the daughter of the prime minister of Hohenfliess. Liane is fifteen years old when she first meets Albano, a year and one-half her senior, in the princely gardens of Lilar, where she and her brother are spending some time. Exceptionally beautiful, Liane is also an eager student who excels in music and drawing. Liane and Albano fall in love, but Liane renounces her claim on Albano when she is told his true identity. The young woman, sickly and sentimental, soon becomes fatally ill. On her deathbed, she requests one last visit from Albano. After her death, Albano becomes very ill and recovers only with the appearance of Idoine, his later bride, who resembles Liane.

Roquairol von Froulay


(The entire section is 1748 words.)

Titan The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Jean Paul’s characters have been controversial ever since the first publication of Titan. Some viewed the characters as the most sublime embodiments of idealized human nature; others found them incredible, strained, and implausible, both too grotesque and too abstract to be believable. That division has persisted: Modern critics either praise Jean Paul for the nobility and intensity of his creations or damn him for his distortions and exaggerations. Even his admirers note the inexplicable gap between his high critical celebrity and his lack of readership. Some of this can be attributed to the difficulty of his style; yet that has not proved to be a handicap to even the greatest writers, including William Shakespeare.

The dilemma can be resolved in part by recognizing certain qualities of Jean Paul’s period and certain consequences of his central themes. First, his era. Jean Paul was an almost exact contemporary of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron. Like them, he seized on the larger-than-life possibilities that seemed implicit in the critical and political theories of the revolutionary phase of Romanticism. He, too, suffered from the waning of those ideals in later, more cynical periods. Like these other authors, Jean Paul ceased to appeal to the common reader, for whom extravagance of any kind became increasingly out of fashion.

Second, his themes require a unique manner of characterization. Jean Paul’s aim was to use words and images in order to set the imagination free, to release it from material bonds and enter the sphere of eternity, where it naturally belonged. To achieve that, he set everything in his novels into tumultuous motion and emotion, as if images and characters could then shake themselves free. Thus, all the characters exhibit “Titanic” energy. One result of this technique is that characters who seem very different at the outset appear fundamentally alike in the end.

Thus all the characters are intentionally overstated. Albano’s insistence on intense experience requires him to be drenched with feeling. In fact, all the main characters are “Titans”: Liane is the idealist of feeling; Linda requires the passion of defying convention; Roquairol is the consummate dramatist of the self; Gaspard is the manipulator, using others as puppets to his ends; and Schoppe is both a cynical opportunist and a philosopher abstracted from life. Each has to learn to temper this Titanism; failure to do so brings loss, death, or both.

Titan Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Benham, G. F. “Jean Paul on the Education of a Prince,” in Neophilologus. LX (1976), pp. 551-559.

Carlyle, Thomas. Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, 1827.

Davies, M. L. “Some Aspects of the Theme of Representation and Reality in the Works of Jean Paul,” in German Life and Letters. XXX (1976), pp. 1-15.

Smeed, John W. Jean Paul’s “Dreams,” 1966.

Smeed, John W. “Surrealist Features in Jean Paul’s Art,” in German Life and Letters. XVIV (1965), pp. 26-33.