Künstlerroman Criticism: Major Works - Essay

Maurice Beebe (essay date 1964)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Beebe, Maurice. “Honoré de Balzac: The Novelist as Creator.” In Ivory Towers and Sacred Founts: The Artist as Hero in Fiction from Goethe to Joyce, pp. 175-96. New York: New York University Press, 1964.

[In the following essay, Beebe assesses the work of French writer Honoré de Balzac and concludes that contrary to most appraisals of Balzac, as a writer, he was both a romantic and a realist.]

“The crossroad of sensibility and social history,” we have seen, is the area from which the finest fiction comes.1 Because the greatest novelists achieve a balance between individual vision and the life which they must use in their art, they seem to...

(The entire section is 9607 words.)

Howard Engelberg (essay date 1968)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Engelberg, Howard. “James and Arnold: Conscience and Consciousness in a Victorian Künstlerroman.” In Henry James's Major Novels: Essays in Criticism, edited by Lyall H. Powers, pp. 3-27. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1973.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1968, Engelberg argues in his examination of Roderick Hudson that Henry James was the first author writing in English to utilize the künstlerroman's “artist's dilemma” as a plot device for a novel.]

In his recent study of the artist-hero in fiction, Maurice Beebe examines the scores of novels in nineteenth-century English fiction which might be...

(The entire section is 9598 words.)

David Stouck (essay date 1975)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Stouck, David. “The Song of the Lark: A Künstlerroman.” In Willa Cather's Imagination, pp. 183-98. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975.

[In the following essay, Stouck details how Thea Kronberg's artistic journey in Willa Cather's Song of the Lark marks it as a classic künstlerroman.]

Willa Cather's most positive view of art and the artist's life is found in The Song of the Lark (1915).1 The images of the artist as a divine figure and a heroic conqueror which occur in her journalistic writings are given their full dramatic value in the story of Thea Kronborg who becomes a famous singer—a Wagnerian opera...

(The entire section is 6608 words.)

Carl D. Malmgren (essay date fall 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Malmgren, Carl D. “‘From Work to Text’: The Modernist and Postmodernist Künstlerroman.Novel 21, no. 1 (fall 1987): 5-28.

[In the following essay, Malmgren gives an in-depth scrutinization of Thomas Mann's “Tonio Kroger” and John Barth's Lost in the Funhouse, using them as examples of modernist and postmodernist künstlerromane respectively.]

“… what an artist talks about is never the main point.

—John Barth quoting from Thomas Mann's “Tonio Kroger” in “The Literature of Replenishment”



(The entire section is 10825 words.)

Gail Turley Houston (essay date spring 1993)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Houston, Gail Turley. “Gender Construction and the Künstlerroman: David Copperfield and Aurora Leigh.Philological Quarterly 72, no. 2 (spring 1993): 213-36.

[In the following essay, Houston tries to differentiate between Victorian gender construction in male and female authored English künstlerromane by using Charles Dickens's David Copperfield and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh as a basis for the comparison.]


A nineteenth-century Romantic genre, the Kunstlerroman, as a kind of palimpsest, conceals the material concerns of the writer by asserting that self-making is...

(The entire section is 9318 words.)

Lilian Falk (essay date 2001)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Falk, Lilian. “The Master: Reclaiming Zangwill's Only Künstlerroman.English Literature in Transition 1880-1920 44, no. 3 (2001): 275-96.

[In the following essay, Falk closely reviews Israel Zangwill's The Master—examining how themes of morality are explored, how it falls into the künstlerroman genre, and whether it was inspired by Elizabeth Bishop's grandfather, George Hutchinson.]

Israel Zangwill's status as an important writer is firmly established. His weakest works are falling out of sight, while his best confirm his claim to fame. The Big Bow Mystery (1892) is recognized as a pioneering work in the locked-door...

(The entire section is 9309 words.)