Theodor Fontane's landscape descriptions in Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg : a question of style
McIntyre, Margo L.
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Wanderunaen durch die Mark Brandenburg (1862-1889) is a five-volume collection of travel essays written by the nineteenth-century German writer and novelist, Theodor Fontane (1819-1898), This work includes essays on art history, landscape descriptions, biographies, and the history of the Mark Brandenburg, Theodor Fontane's homeland. It was Fontane's wish to present his homeland, which had commonly been perceived as a backwater section of Germany, in a new perspective to his readers and countrymen. Fontane regarded himself as a realist in the sphere of German literature. However, as one reads passages from the Wanderungen, particularly those describing the flat landscape of northern Germany, one cannot come away without the feeling that there was an artist within Fontane who could not confine himself to pure realism. This thesis explores Fontane's ideas on literary as well as the visual arts in order to ascertain whether or not Fontane's style in the Wanderungen was purely realistic. Fontane's ability to conjure up vivid images of the landscape and his ability to create a mood in his word pictures is evident in the Wanderunaen. The reader of the this work receives a new perspective of the Mark Brandenburg, which was Fontane's intention. Because Fontane's landscape descriptions are so vivid, this thesis compares his descriptions to landscape paintings of four artists who represent three different styles of painting: romanticism, impressionism, and realism. Fontane felt that realism was the basis of all true art. However, upon analysis of his words and comparisons made with the artists whose styles vary in name, it is the conclusion of this thesis that Fontane's descriptions of the landscape in the Wanderungen contain not only elements of realism, but of romanticism and impressionism as well. His words and feelings, a blending of realism, romanticism, and impressionism, achieve the purpose of making the Mark come alive for his readers.