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ISBN 13: 9781482398373
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Die Poggenpuhls (german Edition) by Fontane for sale online | eBay
The role of luck in the pursuit of the Golden Calf coupled with an awareness of the need to play your role are the themes of this slice of life, which is to say enjoyably plotless, story. This light-hearted work, pages long, written in two phases over a period of about five years is admirably short. This puts me in a good mood for two reasons, it reminds me of Pascal's apology to a friend for having written a long letter, that had he had more time it would have been shorter, and also because The role of luck in the pursuit of the Golden Calf coupled with an awareness of the need to play your role are the themes of this slice of life, which is to say enjoyably plotless, story.
This puts me in a good mood for two reasons, it reminds me of Pascal's apology to a friend for having written a long letter, that had he had more time it would have been shorter, and also because it is short. The fat novel raised up as an alter with the author's name embossed in gold on the cover suggests idolatry, and worse, a lack of respect for the readers time. Brevity is virtuous I'll admit to sinning, particularly in reviews. It is one of Fontane's late works written concurrently with the more serious Effi Briest , which I am slowly getting near to rereading, and another Berlin novel Frau Jenny Treibel.
There is a common preoccupation with status anxiety on the part of the characters and the role of the nobility in a modern society across these novels. The passing details of life in the fast growing modern city are nicely telling: the horse omnibus, the damp plaster walls when the Poggenpuhls successfully resettled in Berlin of a little flat with "wonderful views" over a graveyard and a sweet factory, the fear of criminals breaking into the home, the discussion over on which benches to avoid sitting on in the park - where is a single woman most likely to be bothered by a man.
There is both similarity and distance in the list. Each generation confronts its own modernity. The nobility however are not modern.
The Poggenpuhls may sleep three on beds along the walls of a corridor - called a "Berliner Saal" by their landlord - and one on a sofa, but they are of the nobility. The Matriarch, admittedly of bourgeois birth, when fearfully asking the landlord about the prospect of future rent rises, is still going to be respectfully called "Frau Majorin".
However the lack of assets to back up the requirements of social status produces tension. The natural tendency is to suspect that a story like this should have a plot featuring the family's success in resolving this tension. This is undercut by Fontane who has no truck with such vanity and self aggrandisement. Luck is the thing. The family may have ear marked the eldest son, serving as a nobleman should in the army, writing on Skobelev view spoiler [ a Russian general who achieved fame in colonial wars in central Asia, I have a vague memory that he may have galloped about on a white horse for marketing reasons hide spoiler ] , for the General Staff, but by the end of the novel we see that like his happy go lucky younger brother he's just a lieutenant in an infantry regiment stationed away from Berlin.
Stuck, just like the actor the family meet also a nobleman , playing the background parts. Stuck also with the realisation that promotion and success are more of a lottery and not the inevitable consequences of hard work. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Sold by thrift. Die Poggenpuhls german Edition by Fontane.
Die Poggenpuhls: Roman (German Edition)
Be the first to write a review About this product. Product Key Features Publication Year. Show More Show Less. No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. He was no literary novice, however; he had been working as a journalist for nearly thirty years and had written, among other books, three volumes of military history, which Craig explicates at length and praises -- though it's probably safe to assume that neither they nor Fontane's travel books on Prussia's Brandenburg province will appear in English anytime soon.
Being of French descent on both sides of the family, Fontane could view his fellow citizens with some detachment. Although the Fontanes had long since assimilated, the family pronounced its surname in modified French style, without sounding the e, and, according to Theodor's son, gave it the full nasal treatment "on Sundays and holidays. Fontane's background may have contributed to his ability to see multiple sides of the topics that engage his characters -- notably the strengths and weaknesses of the Prussian temperament.
In Frau Jenny Treibel the Treibels, who have made their fortune in a most chauvinistic way they own a factory that manufactures the dye known as Prussian blue , encourage their sons to marry Hamburg girls in part because the family could use a dose of that city's cosmopolitan outlook.
Fontane's capacity to sympathize with each of his creations was abetted by a gift for dialogue. The high points of a Fontane novel tend to be the conversations, which frequently go on for pages and may vary in elevation according to the social class to which the characters belong. This latter feature can perplex translators -- I have my doubts, for instance, about William L.
Zeibel's allotment of an American southern accent to a Viennese matron in his version of Irrungen, Wirrungen Delusions, Confusions as a way of setting off her speech from Berliner Deutsch. And occasionally the talk bogs down in obscure references to German folkways or history which require frequent flipping back to the editor's endnotes for orientation. Where Fontane was not careful as in much of the novel , his reader can feel as frustrated as an outsider at a family reunion.
But these lapses are rare; Fontane's dialogue usually illuminates character, advances plot, and fills in background, all at once. In Die Poggenpuhls , an examination of a proud old clan that is barely scraping by, Fontane relied on dialogue to capture that quicksilver quality charm.
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The Poggenpuhls consist of a widowed mother, three unmarried daughters, and two young soldier sons, one a model of rectitude and the other, Leo, a high-living scapegrace who, naturally, is everybody's favorite. Not content to have the females report on Leo's winsomeness when he is out of earshot, Fontane let him transmit it directly, with speech. Here he is, home on leave, tucking into a special meal of duck.
Ultimately an uncle dies, and a gift from his widow brightens the family's prospects; but it will still be necessary for one if not more of the children to marry into a rich Jewish family. This option is presented not as scandalous or treacherous but as pragmatic.