Fontane as a Social Novelist
Robinson, Alan R.
In assessing the special qualities of Tontane as a social novelist, it has "been felt advisable to mention in some detail the influence of his formative years and the social experiences and impressions received during that lengthy portion of the author's life prior to the publication of his first novel at the age of sixty. The survey of fontane's picture of society includes the aristocracy of town ana country, the middle classes (with special reference to Jewish and professional circles;, and a number of representative figures from the working folk. Tontane's political views will be analysed in order to determine his fundamental attitude to society and state, and to clarify the political references in his novels. The special social problem of marriage, in whicn the author was particularly interested, will be invest igated in the light of Tontane's views stated botn in the published works and in his private correspondence. following an estimation of Tontane's personal values and philosophy of life, he will be brought into brief comparison with other authors and literary movements, and finally some distinctive features of his style and technique will be commented upon. No attempt has been made at completeness in the illustrations of chapters II, III, and IV; a number of representative examples have been selected from the novels which could, of course, be supplemented by many others. Similarly Chapter VIII has been limited in its scope. In a study of this type it has been found necessary to restrict this section to a series of brief indications. No 'footnotes' as such have been given, incidental comments and the authors of quotations being included in the main text, but a key to the titles and page-numbers of sources mentioned will be found at the end on pages i-xix. The figures in brackets in the body of the thesis refer to these notes.