Double Exposures: Repetition and Realism in Nineteenth-Century German Fiction

Eric Downing

Downing explores issues of repetition and realism from narratological, psychoanalytical, and Critical Theoretical approaches in the works of five nineteenth century German writers: Stifter, Keller, Storm, Meyer, and Raabe.

The book aims not only to focus attention on competing meanings of realism and mimesis in nineteenth-century German narrative fiction, but also to supply a quite different account of how realism's typically submerged structures allow readers to explore some of the basic phenomena and contradictions of their extra-literary, social existence. It challenges the currently dominant critical perspective on German poetic realism (and on literary realism in general), which considers this seemingly transparent mode of representation a deeply ideological and self-deceiving form of cultural discourse that reiterates, and so reinforces, powerful social constraints already at work in the extra-literary sphere.