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“Glück malt man mit Punkten, Unglück mit Strichen”: Peter Stamms Roman Agnes

From: Monatshefte
Volume 100, Number 2, Summer 2008
pp. 266-281 | 10.1353/mon.0.0026



The first novel Agnes by the Swiss author Peter Stamm, published in 1998, attracted considerable attention. It relates, in an aesthetically subtle manner, a modern love- story which demonstrates the deep conflict between reality and fiction and, at the same time, the power of literature. The love affair between the first- person narrator, a Swiss non- fiction author who researches de luxe railway cars in Chicago, and Agnes, a twenty- five- year- old American doctoral student of physics, develops into an aesthetic question concerning the extent to which happiness can be described. – The present contribution examines in detail the literary divergence between imagination and reality which becomes evident in the love- story written down by the first- person narrator. It analyzes the reasons for the narrative experience of the failure of happiness. (HV; In German)

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