Theodor Fontane Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

ph_0111207079-Fontane.jpg Theodor Fontane Published by Salem Press, Inc.

In addition to novels, Theodor Fontane (fahn-TAH-neh) wrote numerous poems, novellas, theater reviews, travel journals, autobiographical writings, four volumes of letters, and essays on literature, history, and art. This extremely prolific writer was a journalist for many years before he was able to devote himself mainly to belles lettres.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

When considering Theodor Fontane’s writing, one thinks not only of nineteenth century Prussia, of its landscapes and cityscapes, of its people—particularly the declining gentry, the prosperous upper middle class, the faithful servants—but also of the emerging working class. Beginning with his Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg (1865-1882; journeys through Mark Brandenburg) and culminating in his major novels, Fontane painted a fascinating social panorama of his age.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bance, Alan. Theodor Fontane: The Major Novels. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1982. A discussion of all Fontane’s major fiction, with notes and bibliography.

Chambers, Helen. The Changing Image of Theodor Fontane. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1997. Chapters on reviews and early criticism and a discussion of Fontane and the realistic novel. Includes notes and bibliography.

Craig, Gordon Alexander. Theodor Fontane: Literature and History in the Bismarck Reich. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Places Fontane in the context of authors and literary output in nineteenth century Prussia.

Doebeling, Marion, ed. New Approaches to Theodor Fontane: Cultural Codes in Flux. New York: Camden House, 1999. A collection of eight essays examines Fontane’s realist approach to literature and explores the difficulty and ultimate impossibility of a true mirroring of realism.

Garland, Henry. The Berlin Novels of Theodor Fontane. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. Contains detailed chapters on individual novels.

Robinson, A. R. Theodor Fontane: An Introduction to the Man and His Work. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1976. Provides a thorough examination of Fontane’s life and works.

Velardi, Carol Hawkes. Techniques of Compression and Prefiguration in the Beginnings of Theodor Fontane’s Novels. New York: Peter Lang, 1992. A somewhat specialized study, but there is a good introduction for the beginning student and a useful bibliography.

Wansink, Susan. Female Victims and Oppressors in Novels by Theodor Fontane and François Mauriac. New York: Peter Lang, 1998. An interesting combination of literary and cultural criticism situating Fontane in his time while also reading the novels as complex studies of the interaction between characters and societal norms. Includes notes and bibliography.

Zweibel, William I. Theodor Fontane. New York: Twayne, 1992. The starting place not only for beginning students but also for scholars wishing to review research on the subject. Situates Fontane in his times and explores antiquarianism and romantic destiny, balladry and psychology, Fontane’s treatment of the Prussian state, and his later fiction. Provides a chronology, notes, and an annotated bibliography.