Gustav Freytag Criticism - Essay

Martin Schutze (essay date 1913)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Shutze, Martin. “Gustav Freytag, Theorist of the Drama and Playwright.” The Drama: A Quarterly Review of Dramatic Literature, no. 9 (February 1913): 3-28.

[In the following essay, Schutze examines Freytag's plays and his theoretical text, The Technique of the Drama, claiming that Freytag's works were outdated by the end of the nineteenth century.]

Less than two generations separate us from the dramatic and dramaturgic activity of Gustav Freytag, which extends from 1841 to 1863, the year of his Technique of the Drama, and yet it is almost impossible even now to bridge the gap. Freytag, an empiricist, like Aristotle in a larger measure,...

(The entire section is 7219 words.)

T. E. Carter (essay date 1968)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Carter, T. E. “Freytag's Soll und Haben: A Liberal National Manifesto as a Best-Seller.” German Life and Letters, n.s., XXI, no. 4 (July 1968): 320-29.

[In the following essay, Carter discusses the popularity of Soll und Haben and attributes its success to the novel's appeal to middle class concerns and its anticipation of German unification.]

Freytag's Soll und Haben appeared in 1855 and although it is still mentioned in the histories of literature, it is unlikely to have been read by the foreign Germanist or by the younger Germanist in Germany or in general by someone in the south of Germany. If we take it as literature, this implied...

(The entire section is 4510 words.)

Jeffrey L. Sammons (essay date 1969)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sammons, Jeffrey L. “The Evaluation of Freytag's Soll und Haben.German Life and Letters, n.s., XXII, no. 4 (July 1969): 315-24.

[In the following essay, Sammons explores Freytag's rhetorical strategies in an attempt to account for the spectacular success of the novel in its own time and its almost complete neglect today.]

It does not often happen, in that tradition of modern literary scholarship that is on the verge of becoming classical, that serious attention is turned to novels that in their time were spectacular best-sellers, but no longer have canonical status. Perhaps we should not always be so exclusive, particularly in the area of the...

(The entire section is 4515 words.)

Lionel Thomas (essay date 1973)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Thomas, Lionel. “Bourgeois Attitudes: Gustav Freytag's Novels of Life in Nineteenth-Century Germany.” Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, XV, part III (June 1973): 59-74.

[In the following essay, Thomas assesses the realism of Freytag's novels Soll und Haben and Die verlorene Handschrift.]

In German narrative fiction of the nineteenth century there seems to be a clear distinction between best-sellers and works of lasting value. Such a distinction is not to be found in English literature where, for example, Dickens, a popular best-selling novelist of his time, has maintained his position as a literary giant today. The same...

(The entire section is 8917 words.)

Eda Sagarra (essay date 1987)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sagarra, Eda. “Jewish Emancipation in Nineteenth-Century Germany and the Stereotyping of the Jew in Gustav Freytag's Soll und Haben (1855).” In The Writer as Witness: Literature as Historical Evidence, edited by Tom Dunne, pp. 160–76. Cork, Ireland: Cork University Press, 1987.

[In the following essay, Sagarra examines Freytag's treatment of the Jew in Soll und Haben, suggesting that the author was influential in the formation of German anti-Semitism in the second half of the nineteenth century.]

Gustav Freytag's best-selling novel has frequently been the object of critical attention both in Germany and abroad, particularly since George...

(The entire section is 7269 words.)

Daniel Fulda (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fulda, Daniel. “Telling German History: Forms and Functions of the Historical Narrative Against the Background of the National Unifications.” In 1870/71-1989/90: German Unifcations and the Change of Literary Discourse, edited by Walter Pape, pp. 195–207. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1993.

[In the following excerpt, Fulda discusses the historical writings of Freytag and their connection with German unification.]

When Gustav Freytag observed Prussian regiments during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, he involuntarily associated them with Teutonic hordes.1 This image gave him a sudden insight into that strange mixture of continuity and change which...

(The entire section is 5347 words.)

Herbert W. Benario (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Benario, Herbert W. “Tacitus, Gustav Freytag, Mommsen.” Classical and Modern Literature, 20, no. 3 (spring 2000): 71-79.

[In the following essay, Benario suggests that Freytag's novel of academic life, Die Verlorene Handschrift, was inspired by the author's relationship with the scholars Theodor Mommsen and Moriz Haupt.]

A few years ago, Professor Géza Alföldy published a splendid article in which he reexamined an inscription from Rome and identified the honoree as the historian Tacitus. The title is cryptic; it is “Bricht der Schweigsame sein Schweigen? Eine Grabinschrift aus Rom.”1 I did not understand the significance of the first...

(The entire section is 3459 words.)

Irving Massey (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Massey, Irving. “Gustav Freytag and the Problem of Human Sacrifice.” In Philo-Semitism in Nineteenth-Century German Literature, pp. 87–96. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2000.

[In the following excerpt, Massey examines Freytag's ambiguous treatment of Jews; his pro-Jewish sentiment in some of his non-fiction works is at odds with the anti-Semitic stereotypical characters in some of his novels.]

The case of Bartels, who, as I have mentioned above, was able to build a highly successful career as a German literary critic on his anti-Semitism, casts a long shadow. It is hard to read about the late careers of Freytag, of Raabe, or of Fontane without an...

(The entire section is 5203 words.)