Annalisa Fischer

Das Nachleben der Muse
Balzac – Henry James – Fontane
[The Afterlife of the Muse. Balzac – Henry James – Fontane]

Periplous, Münchener Studien zur Literaturwissenschaft
Wilhelm Fink, Leiden 2020, 286 pages
ISBN 978-3-7705-6500-9 (Print); 978-3-8467-6500-5 (PDF)

Muses are considered to be the antique precondition of storytelling. The fact that they lead an afterlife in the novels of Balzac, Henry James, and Fontane highlights their poetological importance for Modernity.
Annalisa Fischer analyzes novels that are committed to the modern storytelling paradigm of realistic mimesis and yet place a muse at the center of the diegesis. The study reveals processes of transformation that the antique goddesses of the arts experience on their long path towards Modernity. It also analyzes the poetological importance of muses, both for the respective novel as well as for the realist storytelling repertoire of the 19th century. The study shows the ways in which the muse contributes its poietic potential to the modern text and thus proves to be a focal point of the poetics of the novel.