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Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel

Eberhard Werner Happel, 1647-1690

Gerhild Scholz Williams

Publication Year: 2014

Eberhard Happel, German Baroque author of an extensive body of work of fiction and nonfiction, has for many years been categorized as a “courtly-gallant” novelist. In Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel, author Gerhild Scholz Williams argues that categorizing him thus is to seriously misread him and to miss out on a fascinating perspective on this dynamic period in German history.Happel primarily lived and worked in the vigorous port city of Hamburg, which was a “media center” in terms of the access it offered to a wide library of books in public and private collections. Hamburg’s port status meant it buzzed with news and information, and Happel drew on this flow of data in his novels. His books deal with many topics of current interest—national identity formation, gender and sexualities, Western European encounters with neighbors to the East, confrontations with non-European and non-Western powers and cultures—and they feature multiple media, including news reports, news collections, and travel writings. As a result, Happel’s use of contemporary source material in his novels feeds our current interest in the impact of the production of knowledge on seventeenth-century narrative. Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel explores the narrative wealth and multiversity of Happel’s work, examines Happel’s novels as illustrative of seventeenth-century novel writing in Germany, and investigates the synergistic relationship in Happel’s writings between the booming print media industry and the evolution of the German novel.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

Seventeenth-century German literature is increasingly attracting the critical attention of scholars, who survey a variety of early modern texts in the context of culture, gender, class, media and translation studies, and, of course, history. ...

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pp. xi-xiv

Newspapers have played an important role in my life as far back as I can remember. So have novels ever since I picked the first one off the bookshelf in my parent’s home in Germany. As a teenager, I thought I might like to be a journalist. ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi

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1. Setting the Stage

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pp. 1-39

Between the invention of movable type and the birth of the Internet, the development that had the most lasting impact on human communication was the emergence of the periodical press: the regularly delivered daily, weekly, and monthly news reports that began to be published in Germany during the first decade of the seventeenth century.1 ...

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2. “The Court of Public Opinion”: Fictionalizing Encounters with Historical Heroes (Imre Thököly and Friedrich von Schomberg)

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pp. 40-105

Roger Boylan discusses a contemporary author’s (Ken Follett’s) approach to fiction in terms that seem to recall the seventeenth-century novel and particularly Happel’s Geschicht-Romane: “Multiple plot strands woven through a vast tapestry of times past. In this huge panorama, empires rise and fall, wars break out and characters of varying social backgrounds live mostly happy or mostly unhappy lives.”1 ...

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3. Dangerous Passage: Pirates, Robbers, Captives, and Slaves

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pp. 106-170

The fascination of early modern media with Imre Thököly and Friedrich von Schomberg found expression not only in newspapers but also in broadsheets, pamphlets, biographies, and, as examined in this study, novels. This fascination was based not only on the notoriety of these two men, their “star quality,” but also on the fact that they represented an early modern form of globalization, ...

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4. Losing Direction: Romance and Gender Confusions

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pp. 171-214

In the preceding chapters, we explored the role of the media and contemporary history in the construction of Happel’s novels. The other element of Happel’s history and romance dichotomy, the Romanisirungen, will occupy us in this one. ...

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pp. 215-224

I conclude this exploration of Happel’s novels with a brief look at a character who, in nuce, contains all the aspects that come together to make Happel’s novels such an intriguing subject for study: the synergies of facts and fiction (historia/Romanisirung) and, in the context of both, the entertaining complications that arise in these narratives from the mix-ups of gender, class, and nationalities. ...


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pp. 225-238


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pp. 239-248

E-ISBN-13: 9780472120109
E-ISBN-10: 0472120107

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 880170321
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Happel, Eberhard Werner, 1647-1690 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Happel, Eberhard Werner, 1647-1690 -- Sources.
  • Happel, Eberhard Werner, 1647-1690 -- Characters.
  • German literature -- Early modern, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism.
  • German fiction -- Early modern, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism.
  • German literature -- Social aspects -- History -- 17th century.
  • Heroes in literature.
  • National characteristics, German, in literature.
  • Gender identity in literature.
  • East and West in literature.
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