Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Novelle Criticism - Essay

Rosemary Picozzi Balfour (essay date 1976)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Field of View in Goethe's Novelle,” in Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2, May, 1976, pp. 63-72.

[In the following essay, Balfour traces the various optical motifs in Goethe's Novelle and concludes that Goethe used the symbol of sight to “reveal the Universal, the divine and the miraculous.”]

The skill of any successful story-writer depends to a large extent upon his ability to stimulate the reader's imaginative powers so that a number of vivid scenes and visual impressions arise in his mind. As Goethe states in his Maximen und Reflexionen: ‘Der Dichter ist angewiesen auf Darstellung. Das Höchste derselben ist,...

(The entire section is 4311 words.)

Martin Swales (essay date 1977)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “Goethe: Novelle,” in his The German Novelle, Princeton University Press, 1977, pp. 59-76.

[In the following excerpt, Swales shows how Goethe's Novelle sustains a tension between social harmony and a secretly-longed-for glimpse at chaotic brutality.]

In 1795 Goethe contributed a cycle of tales, entitled Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten (Conversations of German Emigrants), to Schiller's journal Die Horen. These stories are usually regarded as especially significant because they inaugurate the great line of nineteenth-century German novellen. Yet one must remember that they are by no means the only novellen...

(The entire section is 6408 words.)

Jane K. Brown (essay date 1980)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Tyranny of the Ideal: The Dialectics of Art in Goethe's Novelle,” in Studies in Romanticism, Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer, 1980, pp. 217-31.

[In the following essay, Brown concludes that Goethe used Novelle to transform neo-classical literary structure into a Romantic form, and she uses Goethe's concept of the ideal to show that it is Honorio and the princess, not the lion, who are tamed at the story's conclusion.]

Goethe first began to think about the epic which later became the Novelle in 1797. This year was also important in his thinking about painting, for he was engaged in what turned out to be a fundamental reinterpretation of the...

(The entire section is 6907 words.)

Larry D. Wells (essay date 1980)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “Organic Structure in Goethe's Novelle,” in The German Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 4, November, 1980, pp. 418-31.

[In the following essay, Wells compares the literary structure of Goethe's Novelle to the metamorphosis of seed to flowering plant, which he argues Goethe intended to show “the necessary harmony and compatibility of natural law and poetic structure.”]

Goethe's Novelle (1827) would appear to invite discussion of its form in terms of literary genre, especially since Goethe attached considerable importance to his title and in defending it bequeathed subsequent generations his enduring definition of a Novelle as “eine...

(The entire section is 6937 words.)

Herbert Lehnert (essay date 1983)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “Tensions in Goethe's Novelle,” in Goethe's Narrative Fiction: The Irvine Goethe Symposium, edited by William J. Lillyman, Walter de Gruyter, 1983, pp. 176-92.

[In the following excerpt from his full-length treatment of Goethe's fiction, Lehnert explores the inner tensions in Goethe's Novelle, which he maintains adds to the complexity and greatness of Goethe's message that literature can act as a stabilizing social force.]

The first reader of the story of the hunt, which Goethe called Novelle, was Johann Peter Eckermann. Under the date of 18 January 1827 in the first part of his Gespräche mit Goethe, he reports how he read the...

(The entire section is 8020 words.)

John M. Ellis (essay date 1986)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “How Seriously Should We take Goethe's Definition of the Novelle?,” in Goethe Yearbook: Publications of the Goethe Society of North America, Vol. 3, 1986, pp. 121-23.

[In the following essay, Ellis contends that Goethe's Novelle should not be considered the standard-bearer for the genre in general.]

No definition of the Novelle has been quoted more often, or examined and interpreted more industriously, than that of Goethe: “Was ist eine Novelle anders, als eine sich ereignete, unerhörte Begebenheit?”1 It may not seem surprising that every nuance of this utterance has been scrutinized with the greatest diligence, even though the...

(The entire section is 1144 words.)

David Barry (essay date 1989)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “A Tyrant on the Loose in Goethe's Novelle,” in Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, Vol. 25, No. 4, November, 1989, pp. 306-23.

[In the following essay, Barry offers what he calls an “ironic reading” of Goethe's Novelle to show that the text is too rich to suggest only one “secret meaning.”]

In spite of Ian Watt's elegant plea nearly thirty years ago (480) to have it replaced by humour in the critical pantheon, irony has, for better or worse, maintained its hold over the thinking of many scholars. The principal danger it runs, and has always run, is that of justifying all possible interpretations of a text: we may make this mean what we...

(The entire section is 7852 words.)